How to SORN A Car: A Complete Guide

No one wants to spend more on their vehicle than they have to. This includes those family classics we don’t drive on a regular basis but still can’t bear to sell or scrap.
 
But do you need to keep paying insurance and tax on vehicles that are gathering dust in a garage?
 
The answer is no, if you SORN the vehicle in question! 
 
We’re going to explain everything you need to know about getting a SORN for your vehicle in clear and simple terms. So, let’s get started!
 

What is SORN?

SORN means ‘statutory off-road notice’. Simply put, it means that you don’t plan on driving your vehicle for an extended period of time.
 
When you apply for a SORN, you’re agreeing to keep your car off the road for a while. This means you don’t need to pay tax or insurance for your vehicle or book it an MOT test. However, it also means that you can’t drive it under any circumstances. You can’t even park on a public road. When you SORN your car, you must store it in a private garage or on your driveway at all times.
 

How to SORN My Car

There are several ways to SORN a vehicle and all of them are completely free. You can complete the process online, over the phone or by post. Here’s how each option works:
 
Online: Head to the Government Website to fill out a form. It’s easy to fill out and everything you need to include is clearly shown.
 
Phone: The number to call is 0300 1234321. This is a 24 hour service, but please be mindful that they may have fewer staff available due to the current social distancing measures.
 
By Post: You need to fill out form V890 (which you can get from a local Post Office) and send it to the below address. When you make your application, include the day you want your SORN to start. It can be any day in the current month, next month or the month after. If you register for the process more than one month in advance, you must include a letter informing the DVLA why you couldn’t apply nearer the time.
Send your SORN application to this address: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR
 
If you’re not the registered owner of the car and want to apply for a SORN, you can only complete the process by post. You need to update the details in your car’s logbook and send it at the same time as the V890.
 
If your address is wrong in your logbook, you need to update it before you can register for a SORN. You can do this online or through the post. If you have an old style logbook, you need to fill out your correct address in section 6. For the new style of logbook, fill out section 3. If you’ve lost your car’s logbook, apply for a new one here. It will cost you £25, but that is the only time a SORN will cost anything.
 
This process may take longer than expected due to current Coronavirus measures, so please be patient when applying for your SORN
 

When Does My SORN Start?

During the application process, you can choose to SORN your vehicle immediately or on the first day of the next month.
 
If you want your SORN to start immediately, provide the 11 digit number on your vehicle’s logbook (V5C) when you make your application.
 
If you want your SORN to start on the first day of next month, use the 16-digit number on your tax reminder letter (V11) when you make your application.
restoration is a potential reason to SORN my car

Why Would I SORN My Car?

There are a variety of reasons why you would SORN a vehicle. These include:
  • You own a classic vehicle and only drive it during the summer
  • You’ve bought an unroadworthy car that you plan to fix up over the next few months
  • You’re off to university and aren’t taking your car
  • You want to scrap the car in the near future
  • You’ve bought a car for someone when they pass their driving test, but no one is using it yet
 
These are merely examples and not an exhaustive list. If you think you won’t need to use your car for several months and don’t want to pay unnecessary costs, it might be worth considering a SORN.
 

The Consequences of Using it Incorrectly

There are strict conditions surrounding a SORN. Most importantly, you cannot drive the vehicle on a public road if it is untaxed or uninsured. If you’re caught, you can receive a fine of up to £2,500!
 
The DVLA will also know if your car is untaxed and may issue a warning or a fine. If you receive a warning, you must either tax the vehicle immediately or apply for a SORN. However, the DVLA are under no obligation to issue a warning first. The £2,500 fine also applies if you store the vehicle on a public road and not on private land, even if you haven’t driven it and have no intention of doing so.
 
The only exception to these conditions is if you’re driving to a pre-booked MOT test for the vehicle. If you’re stopped, you must provide proof of the booking so the police can confirm with the garage. Without this confirmation, the same fine applies.
 
If you need to book an MOT test in a hurry, why not use the quick and easy booking tool provided by Book My Garage? Compare a range of local garages in seconds to find the very best deal for you!
 

When Does My SORN End And How Can I Undo It?

Your SORN ends when you buy road tax for your vehicle. To reverse the process, ensure your vehicle is taxed, insured and has a valid MOT.
 
This informs the DVLA that you plan to drive your vehicle again and you won’t be fined for driving an unroadworthy vehicle. You must complete this entire process before you can drive this vehicle on the road again.
a vehicle with a SORN in a garage

Should I Buy or Sell a Car With a SORN?

There is nothing wrong with buying a car which is currently under SORN conditions. A SORN does not transfer between owners, so if you want to drive this vehicle immediately, all it needs is road tax, insurance and a valid MOT certificate. If you want the vehicle to remain off the road, follow the process above and register the SORN in your name.
 
When you buy a second-hand car, always check whether it has a SORN and why the previous owner applied for the SORN in the first place. It’s also worth asking how long the car has been off the road. If it has been sat in a garage for a year or more, make sure you book a car service at the same time as your MOT test. That way, you’ll know if the vehicle is truly roadworthy or not.
 

What Happens to My Insurance, Tax and MOT?

Insurance: You can cancel your insurance policy as soon as you take your vehicle off the road. Each insurance company works differently, so contact your provider to sort out the cancellation. If you paid in full at the start of the year, you may have the rest of your policy refunded when you cancel.
 
However, it is strongly recommended that you keep some form of car insurance active on a vehicle registered under SORN. This way, it is still covered should it be stolen or damaged. Consider keeping a third-party fire and theft policy active during the time your vehicle is off the road.
 
Tax: Again, if you paid your road tax in bulk up front, you will get a refund for the months you won’t use. If you apply to SORN your car by post, you may not receive a refund for the current or previous tax month.
 
MOT Certificate: This will expire at the normal time, so you don’t need to book an MOT test for an off the road vehicle. When you remove the SORN, you will need to renew your MOT certificate in the normal manner.
 

Final Thoughts

A SORN may seem very appealing, especially as you can save a lot of money doing so. In the current circumstances, this could be very tempting.
 
Remember, you cannot drive your car while it is under SORN conditions. It can’t leave your driveway at all. So, if you think you’re going to need your vehicle even once in the next few months, it’s unlikely that this is the right option for you.
Be sure to consider every option before making a decision.
 

Recap:

  1. A SORN is easy to get and incredibly useful in a range of situations.
  2. You won’t pay for road tax, your full insurance policy or MOT and servicing costs.
  3. Your car must remain on private land for the duration else you could be fined £2,500
 
Is there another concept you’re struggling to understand? Drop us a comment and we’ll see how we can help. And stay tuned to our blog by subscribing for email updates. Our next super-helpful guide might be just what you’re looking for!
Mandy Weston

Mandy Weston

Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.

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