Unused car off road

How to SORN a car: A guide to SORN

To drive a car on the road, it needs to be taxed and it needs to have insurance. However, if you have a vehicle that you are not using, there is a way to save yourself some money. After all, why should you have to tax and insure a car that isn’t being used? This is where SORN comes in – a simple and easy way to take your car legally off the road. But what does SORN mean? How do you SORN a car? In this guide, we explain all you need to know about SORN.

What is SORN?

SORN is a term that stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. SORN is a way to legally declare your car “off road” by telling the government that it’s not currently in use. By choosing to SORN your vehicle, you no longer need to tax your car or purchase car insurance – not until you want to drive the car again. Once a car has a SORN, that vehicle can not be used until it has been taxed and insured, this includes driving the car and parking it on the street.

Reasons to SORN a car

There are a number of reasons why a person might choose to SORN their car but the main thing to remember is that a car must have a SORN if it isn’t taxed or insured. Reasons to a SORN a vehicle include:

  • your vehicle isn’t taxed
  • your vehicle isn’t insured
  • you buy a car but don’t intend to use it for a while (perhaps due to an accident or it’s not needed)
  • you plan to salvage the car for parts before its scrapped
  • your car is being restored at a garage
  • you are temporarily relocating and not taking your car with you
  • the car is unroadworthy and you intend to fix it at a later date.

If your car has been declared SORN due to an outdated MOT, you will want to get the car insured in order to drive it to the test centre. Purchasing temporary car insurance is an excellent option here, as you can get your car insured for one day or the exact amount of time that you will be driving the car. With temporary insurance, there is no need to pay for more cover than you need.

READ ALSO: MOT test explained

Dirty car that is off road

How do I SORN my car?

Getting a SORN for your car is a simple and easy process. There are three ways that you can apply for a SORN:

If you want to take your car off road immediately, you will need the 11-digit number from your vehicle log book (V5C).

If you want to take your car off road on the first day of the next month, you will need the 16-digit number from your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11).

If you do not have a log book, you can apply for a new one via the government website for £25.

Full details about getting a SORN and the application form can be found on the SORN page of the government website.

How long does it take to SORN my car?

The time it takes to SORN a car is up to you. If you apply via the 11-digit number from your log book, the SORN will start immediately. If you use the 16-digit number from your vehicle tax reminder letter, the SORN will start on the first day of the following month. If you apply by post, your SORN will start on the date you specified on the form.

Do I have to pay to SORN my car?

Getting a SORN for your car is absolutely free. One of the great benefits is that there is no SORN cost; you do not have to worry about any fees or charges. Further still, once you make a SORN, the government will issue you a vehicle tax refund for any full remaining months. For example, if you have six months left of your vehicle tax, you will be refunded for those six months as you are no longer using the car.

How long does a SORN last?

There is no fixed duration for a SORN. A SORN lasts as long as you want it to and there is no need to renew it at any point as long as your car remains off the road. A vehicle’s SORN status only changes when you want it to.

SORN car under a cover in garage

What happens if I don’t SORN my car?

If you have decided not to tax your vehicle and don’t SORN your car, you will be breaking the law. It doesn’t matter if you are not using your car, not getting a SORN is illegal if you are not paying car tax. If you break the law by not getting a SORN, you will have to pay a fine due to not paying your tax and there is a separate fine for having an uninsured car without a SORN. Fines are issued automatically every month.

Can I drive a SORN car?

SORN rules stipulate that you cannot drive a car once it has been officially taken off the road. A SORN is a legal declaration that the car is not in use on public roads so if you then decided to drive the car, which is untaxed and uninsured, you are breaking the law. If you drive a SORN car you could face a fine of up to £2500 and even be prosecuted. However, you can drive a SORN car on private land and drive a SORN car to a pre-booked MOT appointment.

How to unSORN a car?

To unSORN a car is simple. Your car’s SORN will end when you decide to get the car taxed once more or if you decide to sell the vehicle. Once taxed, the SORN is automatically cancelled and deemed as being in use. As a result, you will also need to insure the car again to drive it legally. If you decided to use your car again, temporary insurance cover will allow you to get back on the road quickly, giving you time to decide something more long term.

READ ALSO: How to make car insurance cheaper

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