How To Declare a SORN and Avoid Paying Insurance?

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez updated on July 24, 2020

If you’ve been in a position where your car has to be kept off the road or you simply can’t afford the insurance right now, you’re going to have heard of the legal term known as SORN. 

However, if you’ve never SORN a car before and have no idea what it is or how it works, feel happy in the knowledge you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’re going to share everything you need to know when it comes to knowing what is a SORN declaration, how to SORN a car, managing a SORN online. We detail what you need to know to stay legal when it comes to your car, the law, and related insurance policies. Let’s jump straight into it!

What does SORN mean?

Curious to know what is the SORN meaning and how it affects you and your car?

SORN, or Statutory Off Road Notification, is a legal notice that declares that your car is no longer allowed to go on the public roads. 

You may see the SORN notification written in the logbook of a car you’ve recently purchased, as well as on the DVLA database for the vehicle in question.

Why do I need to declare my car SORN?

When you’ve declared a car as being SORN, you are actively telling the government and the DVLA that the car is no longer being driven or parked on public roads. Legally, this means you no longer have to pay road tax or have a car insurance policy on the vehicle. 

You can have a car kept in a garage or on a private driveway when declared as SORN but it cannot be left on public roads at all. You will still need to pay tax and insurance or you will be breaking the law.

The same applies for SORN cars, SORN motorbikes, and any SORN vehicle. Always use the SORN off road definition to ensure you’re staying within the boundaries of the law.

How to declare a car SORN?

Wondering how to SORN a car taxed and insured quickly to not worry anymore about those spendings?

There are three main ways you can go about making a SORN on your car and how to declare a vehicle off the road.

Ways to declare a SORNExplanation
Declare a SORN onlineThe easiest way to declare your car SORN is by filling out the online application here and follow the onscreen instructions.
Going through the 'SORN my car online' service is 100% free. 
Declare a SORN by phoneYou can phone up the DVLA at 0300 123 4321.
Declare a SORN by postYou can send your SORN application form - the dvla SORN declaration form v890 - by post to the address Vehicle Customer Services, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR, together with a V5C recent registration certificate (current month).
A stamp is not required when sending off your dvla SORN form.
SORN off road process explained

If you are not yet the registered keeper of the vehicle, you can send the SORN form and attach the respective part of your V5C in the post, and they’ll SORN your vehicle and make your a registered keeper at the same time.

To SORN a car in advance (for travelling reasons for instance), you can make your declaration by post up to two months ahead by sending your declaration by post to the DVLA with a letter explaining the situation.

How to SORN a vehicle Without V5?

If you’re wondering how to declare a car sorn when don’t have your V5 logbook, you can simply use your V11 tax reminder with the 16-digit code to declare your car SORN, or phone the DVLA directly to have them help you in sorting it out and making your declaration.

When does my SORN declaration take effect?

You can either choose your SORN declaration to:

  • Start immediately: you will, then, need to use the 11-digit code found in your V5C logbook to take the vehicle off the road.
  • The first day of the following month: you’ll need the 16-digit code found on your V11 tax form.

How much does it cost to SORN a car? 

As we spoke about above, the cost of SORN is 100% free and won’t cost you anything!

The DVLA sorn cost has always been this and there’s no sign of it changing any time soon.

Can I drive a SORN car?

After you have finished declaring your car SORN, you can still drive a SORN vehicle, but only if it’s on private land. 

SORN rules state you can drive around your garden or field, for example, or even a race track if it’s deemed as private land. However, as soon as you head out onto a public road or public parking area, you’ll have broken the law.

What happens if I don’t declare my car as SORN?

If you stop paying insurance and tax fees without declaring SORN, you will be fined by the government automatically, and may even receive a fine totaling 50% more than the original cost of the tax fee due.

If you continue to ignore notices and fees without going to make a SORN, you can face criminal prosecution and, in extreme cases, your car may be seized and destroyed by the authorities. To avoid this, refer to the table above on how to SORN a car off the road.

You can find out whether a car is SORN by checking the DVLA website and following the onscreen instructions for carrying out a SORN check.

If you are declaring your car SORN because you cannot afford the insurance premium but you still need your car for getting about in your life, it can be worth shopping around for cheap car insurance deals using our definitive comparison service.

How long does a SORN last?

Once you declare your vehicle as SORN, it will stay valid until you reverse the process and declare it back on the road. That means your car being taxed again, insured or sold.

This could be days, weeks, months, years, or even decades; it completely depends on what you need to declare it SORN for.

To check a vehicle's SORN status, you can visit the DVLA website.  

If you declare a car back on the road, but later down the line, you want to stop paying taxes and insurances again, you’ll need to declare the car SORN again using the methods above.

How to stop a car from being SORN?

Once you’re ready to start paying tax and insurance again on your car and you’re ready to get back out onto the public roads and using your car how it was intended to be used, you need to declare your car back on the road. To do this, you need to make sure your car has a valid MOT certificate. 

If you don’t have one, you can still drive your car on public roads without tax or insurance as long as you’re travelling to the MOT centre. This is, in fact, the only time you can drive a SORN car on public roads.

If you’re caught driving without tax or insurance and you’re not on your way to an MOT centre for a test, and you can’t prove you’re going to an MOT centre, you can be fined up to £2,500 on the spot.

How to get an MOT?

All you need to do to get an MOT is to call up your local garage that is registered to conduct MOT tests and book an appointment.

The price will vary from garage to garage, and the MOT will be completed within an hour.

You don’t need an MOT if the car is less than three years old, but you will need one every year after the three-year mark.

After you have the MOT certificate, you don’t actually need to do anything. Just pay for your road tax and get the car insured using a SORN car insurance policy and the DVLA will be notified of this purchase and the SORN will automatically be cancelled.

How to tax your vehicle after SORN?

As mentioned above, when you’re ready to get your car back out on the road, all you need to do is tax and insure it again. To tax your car, simply head over to the GOV.UK website by searching ‘tax my car’ into an online search engine.

To SORN road tax your car, you’ll need the following documents:

  • A recent V11 tax reminder with a 16-digit code
  • Your vehicle logbook (the V5C registration certificate) with your name on it
  • A green New Keeper slip (the V5C/2) (only if you’ve just bought the car).

Just follow the onscreen instructions on the website, pay using either a debit card, credit card, or Direct Debit transfer, and at the end of the process, your car will be fully taxed. Just get an insurance policy sorted and you’ll be legally ready to head back out on the road.

Can I sell my SORN car?

Well, in short, yes, it is.

Whether you’ve had a car sitting in your driveway for some time and you’re looking to get rid of it, or you’ve recently declared your car SORN but can’t afford the tax and insurance, you may be looking into selling your SORN car. There are three main ways you can sell a SORN car:

  • By taxing and insuring the car just before you sell it. However, since you need an MOT certificate, this can end up being quite expensive, and may not be worthwhile if the car isn’t worth a lot.
  • By selling your car to a registered car buyer, such as a scrappage yard or salvage dealership. Since these garages tend to have transport they can pick the car in and move it around without having to drive it on public roads, this is a great way to shift a SORN car and get some money for it.
  • By selling the car as a SORN car, but you need to tell the buyer of the SORN condition and they will sort out the details themselves. This way, when the buyer comes and buys the car, they will need to tax and insure the car first before leaving your private property. However, buyers tend to have less interest in cars like this, especially if they want the reason why the car is SORN in the first place, meaning the car can lose its value.

An alternative to SORN your car: compare cheap car insurance policies

If you’re planning on declaring SORN on your car because you can’t seem to find an affordable insurance policy to fit your budget, don’t rush into make your vehicle SORN; you might not need too. If you still want your car and you still want to be able to get around and have the freedom a car provides, look for a cheap and affordable insurance policy.

To help you find the best SORN insurance cost and policy that matches your budget and personal situation, compare quotes and coverage options of main insurance companies in the UK with our 100% free and anonymous comparator.