Our Ultimate Guide to SORN

Find out everything you need to know about SORN including insurance, tax and MOT implications.

Tips & guides

7 August 2020

Occasionally, there may be situations where you find that you will not need to drive your car for a while, like if you’re intending on working on it and doing it up. In these situations, you’ll need to declare the car off the road with the DVLA. If your car is indeed going to be untaxed and uninsured, you’ll also need to declare the vehicle SORN.

What is SORN?

SORN stands for Statutory Off-Road Notification. It is a declaration to the DVLA that the car is not being used on public roads. It also lets it know that it isn’t being parked on public roads, and is garaged, on a driveway, or parked on private land.

Why would you SORN a vehicle?

By declaring your car off the road, you will not need an insurance certificate or to pay road tax. It is more economical if you know your car is going to be unused for prolonged periods.

There are several common reasons for declaring your car off the road. These include:

  • Intending to scrap your car
  • Buying a new car you don’t plan to drive just yet
  • You are carrying out lengthy work on your car
  • The car is only used seasonally, such as during the summer, and is laid up in winter

Where can I park a SORN vehicle?

If you SORN a vehicle, you must keep the car on privately owned land. Examples of this include drives, garages or even gardens. You cannot park the car on publicly owned land, such as the road outside your house.

If your car is SORN, but you do intend on putting it back on the road, you should do what you can to keep it in good condition. You can find out more about this in our car maintenance checklist.

Does SORN affect insurance?

If you declare your car SORN, while it is not required by law, you may want to keep it insured to cover any accidental damage (inlcuding storm and adverse weather damage) and theft. If you cancel your policy during this period, your car will not be covered for these.

If you do cancel your insurance policy, your insurer may also charge a cancellation fee. Any cancellation amount will depend on how long is left on your current policy. Additionally, if you had a claim on your policy, you may not get a refund. Despite these, you may still find that you’ll save money in the long run.

What does SORN mean for car tax?

If your car is declared SORN, you don’t have to pay road tax. If you’ve already paid road tax for the period, you’ll automatically get a refund for any full months’ tax left. However, you will need to ensure the car’s road tax is up-to-date before you can start using it again.

Does a SORN car need an MOT?

No. If you’re not driving the car, you don’t need an MOT. If your car already has a valid MOT certificate, this will remain valid until the end of the MOT period, regardless of SORN. As with road tax, you will need to ensure the car has a valid and up-to-date MOT certificate before it goes back on the road.

How do I SORN my car?

If you’re the registered keeper of the car, you can SORN your car online, over the phone or by post. To do this, you’ll need some information from your logbook or your tax reminder letter.

  • To SORN online, contact the DVLA at gov.uk/make-a-sorn.
  • To SORN by phone, call the DVLA vehicle service on 0300 123 4321 - a 24-hour service.
  • To SORN by post, send a V890 application form to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.
  • If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you’ll need to fill in the appropriate part of the V5C logbook. You’ll then send this by post alongside a filled in V890 application form.

How to remove SORN

If you want to drive the car again, you’ll need to remove SORN. To remove SORN, all you need to do is tax your car over the phone or online. You can also do this at some Post Office branches. You’ll need the 11-digit number from your V5C form to do this. Taxing your car removes the SORN from your vehicle automatically.

In addition to paying tax, you need to ensure your car has a valid insurance certificate and MOT before you drive it again.

Additional SORN FAQs

If I apply for SORN, when will it start?

When you apply for a SORN, you can choose when it starts. If you want it to start immediately, you’ll need the 11-digit number on your V5C logbook.

Alternatively, you can opt to start the SORN on the first day of the next month. To do this, you’ll need the 16-digit number on your tax reminder letter (V11), which you can only use once.

How much does SORN cost?

Declaring your vehicle SORN is completely free unless you’re not the registered keeper and need a new logbook. A new logbook costs £25.

Can I SORN a car without the logbook?

If you don’t have a logbook, you’ll need to complete and send an application for a logbook (V62) and V890 application form to DVLA.

How long does SORN last?

A SORN is an indefinite notification and will last until it is revoked by paying road tax on the vehicle.

Can I check if a vehicle has SORN?

Yes, you can check a vehicle’s SORN status online at the DVLA website. All you need is the vehicle’s registration number.

Is SORN transferrable?

No, SORN status is not transferrable. If you buy a vehicle that’s already declared off the road, you’ll need to apply for SORN again as the new owner of the car, using the same steps as above.

What if I have an MOT booked?

If you have booked an MOT test, you can drive your car, even if it is declared SORN. You can only do this if you have a pre-booked test., which means if the police stop you, you have proof that you are travelling for your MOT. Driving to a pre-booked MOT test is the only circumstance under which you can drive a car that is declared SORN.

If you’re no longer driving your car, it’s entirely up to you whether you declare your car SORN. Doing so could save you hundreds of pounds on insurance and tax costs. However, without car insurance, your vehicle isn’t covered if it is damaged or stolen.