If you own a vehicle that you plan to keep "off-the-road" for a while, you can avoid paying tax and insurance - but only by registering for a SORN first. But what is a SORN?

During this guide, we'll explain:

  • What is a SORN?
  • How long does a SORN last?
  • Where can I keep a SORN vehicle?
  • How to SORN and un-SORN a vehicle

 

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What is a SORN?

SORN stands for 'Statutory Off-Road Notice'. It's a formal notification to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) that the vehicle is going to spend some time off the road. Once you have applied for a SORN, you can't drive the vehicle until you reverse the notice.

Under these conditions, you don't need to tax or MOT your vehicle.

 

When Should I Register a SORN For My Vehicle?

There are several reasons where applying for a SORN would be a good idea. These are:

  • You've bought a car and plan to keep it off the road (such as a collectible or classic car)
  • Your vehicle needs large repairs that you can't afford
  • Your insurance renewal is delayed
  • You've bought the car to restore or strip down for spare parts
  • Your tax/car insurance is due to renew but you don't plan on driving the vehicle for a few months

Even if the car will only be off the road for a few weeks, you must register your vehicle as 'off-the-road' if you can't tax, MOT or insure it.

 

large collection of classic cars in various colours stored in large museum

If you've bought a car to add to a collection, make sure you register for a SORN to declare it 'off-the-road' Photo by Felix Fuchs on Unsplash

 

How Does a SORN Affect Car Insurance?

A vehicle with a valid SORN doesn't need car insurance. Once the vehicle is declared 'off-the-road', contact your insurance company to cancel the remaining cover. If you paid the full cost upfront, you may get a refund on the unused months.

However, unless the vehicle is a complete wreck, some form of car insurance is a good idea. While you're unlikely to need fully comprehensive cover, third-party fire and theft will protect the vehicle enough.

 

How do you SORN a Vehicle?

You can SORN a vehicle online, over the phone or by post. Here's how to SORN a vehicle:

Online: Fill out the form on the Government Website. It will guide you through the process.

Phone: The number to call is 0300 1234321. This is a 24-hour service.

By Post: You need to fill out form V890 (which you can get from your local Post Office) and send it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR. When you make your application, include the day you want your SORN to start.

If you want to SORN a vehicle, but you're not yet the registered owner, you must apply by post. You need to update the details in your car's logbook and send it at the same time as the V890.

 

close up shot of male hands typing on silver laptop on sunny day in modern kitchen

You can apply to SORN a car online, over the phone or by post. Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

 

When Can I SORN My Car?

You can SORN your car immediately or on the first day of the next month. If you apply by post, you can choose the first day of the month after next. However, you must also include a letter explaining why you can't apply closer to that date.

To SORN your car immediately, use the 11 digit number on your vehicle's logbook (V5C) during your application.

To SORN your car on the first day of next month, use the 16-digit number on your tax reminder letter (V11 form) during your application. This makes the tax refund process easier.

 

Do You Have to Pay to SORN a Car?

Applying for a SORN is completely free if you have all the required information.

If you have lost the vehicle's logbook (V5C form) and need to transfer ownership or refer to any other details, you will need to pay £25 for a new one. You can apply for a vehicle logbook from the Government website.

 

mechanic in blue overalls and brown boots laid under old green car during restoration in garage

If you're restoring a car and have registered it as "off-the-road", you need to store it on your private property, such as in a garage.

 

Where Can I Keep a SORN Vehicle?

You must keep a SORN vehicle on your own private property, such as in a garage you own or on your driveway. You can't park it on a public road at any time.

 

 

Yes

No

Car Park

 

X

Driveway

X

 

Garage

X

 

Garden

 

X

Pavement

 

X

Private Road

X

 

Roadside

 

X

 

While you can park your vehicle on a private road, you should ask permission from the owners first. You could find yourself in trouble with them otherwise.

 

What is the Fine If You Keep a SORN Car on the Road?

If you keep a SORN car on a public road, you can be fined up to £2,500.

The DVLA may issue a warning before the fine, but there is no obligation for them to do so. You can be fined whether you drive the car on a public road or not. If it has been declared "off the road", you must park it on your private property.

The only exception to these conditions is if you're driving to a pre-booked MOT. If you're stopped, you must provide proof of the booking so the police can confirm with the garage. If you can't prove you're on the way to a pre-booked MOT, the £2,500 fine still applies.

 

How long does a SORN last?

A SORN lasts indefinitely or until you sell, scrap or export the vehicle. A SORN doesn't transfer between owners, so you will need to apply for a notification in your name if you buy a car with an existing notification.

There is no need to renew a SORN every 12 months anymore.

 

white car garage with open door showing old blue chevrolet pickup, rubbish and rubbish bin inside

Photo by Keagan Henman on Unsplash

 

How Do You Un-SORN a Vehicle?

To reverse a SORN, all you need to do is tax it with the DVLA. You can do this online or over the phone. All you need is the 16-digit number on your V11 form. There is an £80 fine for driving an untaxed vehicle, which can increase to £1,000 if left unpaid.

You must also insure the vehicle and ensure it has a valid MOT certificate before moving it back onto the road. Any repairs that forced it 'off-the-road' must be repaired, else you face a £1,000 fine for driving an unroadworthy vehicle.

 

Recap

A SORN stands for "Statutory Off-Road Notice". It is designed for vehicles you want to keep 'off-the-road' for a period of time. It means you don't need to pay road tax, car insurance or have a valid MOT for the vehicle. If you don't apply to register your vehicle 'off-the-road', and keep an untaxed or uninsured vehicle on a public road, you will receive a £2,500 fine. To un-SORN a vehicle, simply apply for another year of road tax with the DVLA. Otherwise, the notice will last until you sell, scrap or export the vehicle.

 

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