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You might think it’s no big deal to drive your car to an MOT testing centre if your MOT has expired. But it can actually come with some serious consequences.

For one, not having a valid MOT certificate means you might not be aware of serious car faults that need fixing. This means you’re putting yourself and others in danger every time you drive your car.

Also, many car insurers in the UK actually specify that you must have a valid MOT certificate in place if you’re planning on driving your car. This means your policy could be invalidated – leaving you uninsured in the event of a claim.

So what happens if you’ve forgotten to book an MOT appointment in time and now it’s expired? Let’s take a look at your options.

Picture of a spanner on a white cloth

Can I drive my car without a valid MOT certificate?

There are very limited circumstances where you can actually drive your car without a valid MOT certificate.

For instance, if you’re lucky enough to own a car that’s less than three years old, you won’t need to MOT it until the third anniversary of its registration. This means you’ll be able to drive it without worrying about booking an MOT appointment right away.

But, if your car is older than that, you absolutely can’t drive it or park it on the road if your MOT’s expired. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • You’re taking your car to a pre-booked MOT appointment
  • You’re taking your car to be repaired

In both instances, you will usually need to be able to provide evidence if you’re stopped by the police for driving without a valid MOT.

And, crucially, just because it may be legal to drive in these very limited circumstances does not mean you will be covered by an existing car insurance policy. Many car insurance policies are invalidated if your MOT expires.

This means that you could flag up on the Motor Insurer’s Database (MID) as driving without insurance and driving without a valid MOT.

Police car driving along a road

What happens if I get caught driving without a valid MOT or car insurance?

If you get caught driving without a valid MOT certificate, you might be fined up to £1,000. The police may make an exception if you’re driving your car to an MOT testing centre or to have it repaired – provided that you can prove that it is booked.

But, if your car insurance is invalidated because you haven’t got an MOT certificate in place, then that’s a separate issue. If you’re caught, you could be fined up to £300 and get points on your licence. And if the case goes to court, you could face an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving. Just don’t.

So, if you’ve forgotten to book an MOT test and your MOT has expired, you may wish to check your car insurance’s policy wording or call your insurer to check whether your car insurance is still valid. If not, it’s best to find an alternative before you decide to drive your car.

Oh, and maybe set up an MOT reminder so you don’t find yourself in this situation next year! We all forget these life-admin tasks sometimes, but there are ways to keep track of them.

Car engine in a rural setting

Can I use day car insurance to drive my car to its MOT?

Many day car insurance providers will require that you have a valid MOT in place before you take out a policy. However, in rare cases, there may be some specialist temporary car insurance providers that will allow you to cover your car without an MOT.

This is usually only the case if you have already arranged an MOT appointment and you only drive your car to your MOT appointment. The policy is unlikely to cover you otherwise.

These types of policies will typically cost more than a standard temporary car insurance cover to reflect the higher level of risk involved in insuring a car without a valid MOT. They’ll also typically have more stringent requirements than regular car insurance policies.

So, in short, most temporary car insurance providers don’t offer cover to take your car to its MOT appointment if you haven’t already got a valid certificate in place. And, like many other temporary car insurance providers on the market, Zixty does not cover cars without valid MOT certificates.

Smiling young man in shorts, sits in front of his Land Rover Evoque, autumn leaves in background

Using day car insurance to get your car to its MOT appointment

Driving without a valid MOT or car insurance policy could land you in hot water and simply isn’t safe. So if you have forgotten to book an MOT test before your certificate expired, make sure you check that your car insurance is still valid.

If it isn’t, you’ll need to find a way to get your car covered so you can drive it to the MOT testing centre legally. But, bear in mind that most standard temporary car insurance providers probably won’t be able to offer cover. We know – what a headache!

So don’t forget to set an MOT reminder; you don’t want to go through the same chicken-or-egg exercise again next year!