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The world of motoring can be a confusing place, whether you’re an experienced driver or have just got your licence. Here at GoShorty, we are on hand to make things easier for you.

UK legislation surrounding road tax, MOTs, and insurance does not allow for honest mistakes or “not knowing” about certain rules.

If you are caught breaking any rules, you could find yourself facing stiff penalties, including points on your driving license, fines, or an immediate driving disqualification.

This article will delve deeper into the meaning of SORN – Statutory Off Road Notification – and what it means for drivers in the UK.

What Does SORN Mean?

A Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is used by vehicle owners to inform the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) that they intend to take the vehicle off the road.

The car will not have to be insured or taxed when a SORN is declared, but it must not be driven during this time.

Read our article on what is SORN for more information.

When Does SORN Need To Be Declared?

If you do not intend to drive your car, you must ensure it is still taxed if you keep it on public roads.

If you plan to store the vehicle on private land, you can register a SORN, which lets the DVLA know that the vehicle is not going to be used or kept on public roads, meaning you no longer have to pay road tax.

Successful SORN registration will refund the remaining full months that the car was taxed for.

Failure to tax your car without registering a SORN can result in a fine of £80. The fine will typically be reduced to £40, however, should you pay it within the first 28 days of receipt.

This can be appealed if you have a valid case or can prove you were waiting for SORN confirmation. On the other hand, the fine can be increased to £1,000 if you don’t pay it timeously.

You can declare SORN in the following circumstances:

  • When you intend to store the vehicle on private land
  • When there is a delay in renewing an insurance policy
  • Prior to scrapping the vehicle when salvaging parts

Can You Drive A SORN Vehicle

You are only permitted to drive a SORN car when you are travelling to or from pre-booked testing appointments or MOTs.

Just because the vehicle is still on a SORN does not mean that you are able to drive without insurance. You must have a valid insurance policy when driving in the UK, under all circumstances.

If you didn’t cancel your original insurance policy and the vehicle is still insured, it is important that you take the time to check with the insurance company if the policy allows this type of travel.

Many insurance policies will not cover a vehicle without a valid MOT or road tax. If you are unsure, contact your insurance provider.

In some cases, your provider may be able to alter your cover so you can drive the vehicle legally. In other cases, you may need to explore temporary car insurance options.

GoShorty provides excellent temporary car insurance options with coverage as short as one-hour available.

Our temporary insurance policies allow your vehicle to be driven safely to and from a pre-booked MOT appointment so you can make sure your vehicle is roadworthy.

It is important that any MOT or testing appointment is pre-booked. If you are stopped, you must be able to prove that this was your intention.

If you are stopped on the road in a SORN vehicle and are uninsured, you can be fined up to £2,500 should the case end up in court. The DVLA and Motor Insurance Database can check if car tax and insurance are up to date.

Applying For SORN

SORN applications are relatively straightforward and can be done online, by phone, or by post.

The contact details for SORN applications are as follows:

  • DVLA 24-hour telephone service – 0300 123 4321
  • Government SORN online application form
  • Postal applications must be sent to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR

Any vehicle that is to be driven must be insured. After you SORN a car, the vehicle will no longer need to be insured.

Before applying, ensure you have all the necessary information and documentation to support the application.

You should have your V5C (vehicle log book) number (11 digits) and your V11 (vehicle tax reminder letter), a 16-digit number.

You must ensure that the address on your vehicle log book is up to date, and postal applications must be supported by a letter if they are being made in advance.

You will be able to choose when the SORN period starts during the application process. Be sure to always keep note of all correspondence and ensure SORN has been confirmed.

Car Insurance And SORN

It should be noted that your insurance provider will not automatically cancel an insurance policy when you SORN a vehicle. It will be your responsibility to contact your insurance provider to cancel any existing policy or potential automatic renewal.

You should be refunded some of your insurance for the remaining time on the policy; however, some insurance providers may charge early cancellation and administration fees. This should be stipulated in the terms and conditions of the policy before you sign up for an agreement – an important reminder to read the small print whenever committing to a formal contract.

Where Can SORN Cars Be Stored?

SORN vehicles must be stored off the road on private land. The following locations are suitable for storing SORN vehicles:

  • A private garage
  • A private driveway
  • A private road

You should only store your vehicle on a private road if you have permission from the road owners.

What Are The Benefits Of SORN?

One of the most significant benefits when you make a SORN for your vehicle is the money you can save.

If you do not drive the vehicle regularly but don’t want to sell it, making a SORN can help you to save money on general running costs and your annual MOT.

If you have months remaining on your existing tax, you will receive a refund for the remaining tax and be allowed to cancel your existing insurance policy.

You may receive a partial refund if you have already paid your insurance in full, in which case you won’t have to take out insurance beyond the current term, as long as the vehicle stays off the road.

A SORN is cost-free and easy to reverse by taxing your vehicle again. The car will then be ready to drive as long as it has an MOT and valid insurance policy.


Can SORN be transferred between car owners?

SORN status will not be transferred between owners when a car is bought or sold. The new owner will have to tax the vehicle or contact the DVLA to make a new SORN request.

Road tax works in the same way when buying or selling a vehicle, and buyers must ensure the car is taxed to comply with legislation and ensure their insurance is valid.

If you sell a vehicle with months of tax left, you should notify the DVLA, and you will be reimbursed for the remaining months after the vehicle is sold.

Does my SORN need to be renewed?

When a SORN is applied to a vehicle, you will not have to renew it, as it lasts until the vehicle is scrapped, exported, sold, or re-taxed.

If you intend to use the vehicle again, ensure it has a valid MOT, and is fully insured and taxed. You will be able to tax a vehicle at any point after a SORN. As soon as the vehicle is taxed, the SORN is automatically removed.

You can tax your vehicle online or by phone with the DVLA, and you will need to produce your 11- digit V5C reference number.

Is registering a vehicle as SORN expensive?

Making a SORN is straightforward and completely free if you follow the online instructions to ensure the correct information is entered.

You may only have to pay if you do not have your vehicle logbook and need to buy a new one. A new vehicle log book costs £25, and you can apply online by contacting the DVLA.

Do I need to SORN an electric vehicle?

You must make a SORN on an electric vehicle if you plan to take it off the road.

There is often confusion surrounding whether you need to make a SORN or tax an electric vehicle because electric vehicles are currently exempt from road tax.

Even though these vehicles are exempt from paying road tax, they must still be taxed. You should tax the vehicle as normal, and when you enter the relevant information, you will not be charged.

Because vehicle tax applies to electric vehicles, you must make a SORN if you plan to take the vehicle off the road.

Can you make a SORN in advance?

It is possible to make a SORN in advance if you plan to take the vehicle off the road.

You can notify the DVLA as much as two months in advance of when you plan to take the car off the road, using your 16-digit V11 number and completing your application online.

Temporary Car Insurance With GoShorty

Temporary car insurance is a convenient way to make sure you are covered for short periods, from as little as one hour up to four weeks.

Temporary cover is useful if you are borrowing a vehicle, are an occasional driver, make long car trips where you want to share driving responsibilities, are learning to drive, are coming back from university and want access to a car, or for emergency use.

It’s also perfect for SORN vehicles that need to be transported to and from MOTs and other vehicle tests.

We provide an excellent range of coverage for drivers aged 18 to 75. To explore all the options, check eligibility and vehicle criteria, take a look at our temporary car insurance options today for competitive rates and flexible insurance policies.

Whether you plan to drive your car again after making a SORN, or want temporary access to a vehicle, our short-term insurance solutions are ideal.