As we sometimes get SORN-related questions from customers, we thought we’d compile a few of the more popular ones as a handy reference guide. So, let’s get started with the most obvious one…

What does SORN stand for?

SORN is an acronym and it stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. Therefore, if you have a car that you want to keep but don’t want to tax and insure it, you must make a SORN and remove it from the public highway.

Can I drive a SORN vehicle on a public road or to an MOT test?

Quite simply, you can’t drive it on a public road UNLESS you’re driving it to or from a pre-booked MOT or other testing appointment. Also, at the time of writing, you could face court prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500 if you use it on the road for any other reason than this one exception.

It’s also important to note that the vehicle must be covered by a valid insurance policy if you’re driving it to the MOT test centre. What this means is that if you have a vehicle that you keep off-road, say for example on your driveway or in a garage and it’s already declared SORN so that you don’t have to pay for road tax and insurance, you need to re-insure it prior to driving to your pre-booked MOT appointment.

Can I take a SORN car for a test drive?

No you can’t. This means that if you’re looking for a second-hand car and go to view a few that are on sale by private sellers, you can’t take their SORN car for a test drive. Furthermore, as the driver, it would be down to you if you decided to do so and got caught breaking the law. It’s therefore advisable to check if a vehicle has been declared SORN before even considering taking another person’s car for a test drive.

When do I need to make a SORN?

As mentioned earlier in this post, if you have a car that you want to keep but don’t want to tax and insure it, you must make a SORN. For example, you might want to SORN it because it’s damaged and needs repairing, you’re breaking it for spare parts or you’ve decided it would be beneficial to scrap it.

In short, your vehicle is ‘off the road’ if you don’t keep or use it on a public road, for example, if it’s in a garage, on a drive or on private land.

You must make a SORN for your car in any of the following situations:

  • your car is not taxed
  • your car is not insured (even for a short time, for example, because there’s a delay in renewing your policy)
  • you want to break it down into parts before you scrap it
  • you buy a car and want to keep it off the road (you cannot transfer a SORN from the previous keeper)

Other important things to remember

  • You must insure and tax your vehicle if you do not have a SORN in place. If you don’t, you’ll automatically be fined £80 (correct at the time of writing) for not having a SORN. There’s also a fine for having an uninsured vehicle.
  • You do not need to make a SORN if you’ve been sent a V11 reminder letter for a vehicle you’ve already sold.
  • After you tell DVLA you’ve sold your vehicle, you’ll receive confirmation that you no longer have it.
  • Once in place, you don’t need to renew a SORN.
  • Your vehicle must stay in the UK for your SORN to be valid.
  • Your SORN is automatically cancelled when you tax your vehicle again or it’s sold, scrapped or permanently exported.

When does a SORN start and end?

Your SORN will start immediately if either:

  • your vehicle tax has expired
  • you’re not applying in the month your vehicle tax is due to expire

Your SORN will start on the first day of the next month if you apply in the month your vehicle tax is due to expire.

After you make a SORN

You’ll automatically get a vehicle tax refund for any full remaining months.


We’re not legal experts and this post shouldn’t be considered legal advice. And, although we hope you found it useful, we strongly recommend checking the article link to the website below to verify and clarify anything you’ve read here. The page also contains lots of handy links where you’ll be able to explore this topic more thoroughly.

This article contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.- Original article here.

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