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How to declare a SORN

What to do when you take your car off the road

a crumpled up car tax badge on some paper. On the paper it says SORN

Declare your car off the road with a SORN and you won't need to pay car tax or insurance until it's back on the road. Find out more with our handy guide.

If it's time to pack up your classic car for the winter, mothball your motor until you get back from uni, or garage your pride and joy until you can afford to get the repairs finished, then you need to know about SORN.

What is a SORN?

When you no longer want to drive or park your vehicle on a public road, you can declare it 'off road' with a SORN. SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification.

What does it mean?

Declaring your car off road with a SORN means that you will not be able to drive or park it on a public road. Your car will need to be kept in a garage or on private land, like your driveway.

When you declare your car off road, you don't need to tax or insure it.

Why would I declare a car off road?

There are many reasons why you'd get a SORN for a vehicle. For example:

  • You're off to university, or in hospital and don't need to use the car
  • You only use your classic car during the summer
  • You've bought a wreck to do up and it's not roadworthy
  • Your insurance or car tax has lapsed and you haven't renewed it
  • You have a vehicle you want to scrap

There are many reasons why you'd get a SORN for a vehicle.

How do I declare my car off the road?

You can file a SORN online for free if you're the registered keeper of the car.

You'll need some information from your vehicle log book or vehicle tax reminder letter before you get started.

You can also call the DVLA on 0300 123 4321. This is a 24 hour service.

If you're not the registered keeper of the vehicle, you'll need to apply for a SORN by post using the V890 form.

Once the SORN is in place, there's no need to renew it. It will stay in place until you tax or sell the car.

Be aware though that a SORN is not transferrable. If you buy a car that's already declared as off road, you'll need to declare the SORN again as the registered keeper of the vehicle.

What if I don't declare a SORN and I don't have car tax or insurance?

If your car isn't taxed or insured and you haven't declared it as off road, you'll automatically be fined £80 for not having a SORN.

If you haven't declared your car as off road, it needs to be taxed and insured (and have passed its MOT) before you can take it on a public road. If your car isn't insured and you haven't declared it as off road, you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter.

This letter explains that you need to insure your car or declare a SORN otherwise you will be sent a fixed penalty notice for £100.

What happens to any outstanding car tax and insurance?

If you declare your car as off road, then you don't need to tax or insure it. You can get a refund from the DVLA if you have any full months of remaining tax.

And with LV=, as long as you haven't made a claim, we'll refund any money you've paid for your car insurance, less a charge for the cover you've had and a cancellation fee of £40.

If you declare your car as off road, then you don't need to tax or insure it.

Can I drive if my car has a SORN?

No. The only exception is that you can drive it to a pre-booked MOT. If the police stop you on the way, you need to prove that you're going to the MOT.

How do I get my car back on the road?

Make sure you have valid car tax, insurance and an MOT before you take your car out on the public road. The DVLA will automatically cancel the SORN when you tax the car.

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