Have you stopped using your car? Are you planning to keep it off the road for at least a few months? Then you might want to look at a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
A SORN might sound like a complicated concept, but it’s just a fancy way of saying you’re taking your car off the road.
Basically, you’re letting the government know that you won’t be driving your car on public roads, won’t be paying road tax on it, won’t be insuring it and will be storing it on private property.
Some people SORN their cars to save money on things like insurance and taxes – because why pay for something when you won’t even be using it? SORNing isn’t for everyone and comes with significant implications.
So read on to find out all about SORN-ing your car and how to make sure you’re making the right decision for you.
Why SORN a car?
SORN-ing your car might seem like the driver’s version of ghosting your boo, but honestly, there are so many good reasons to do it.
Maybe you just don’t drive anymore because you’ve got a sweet bike or public transportation is A+, and you don’t want to spend money on insurance and tax.
Or maybe you purchased a car for spare parts and have no intention of ever driving it.
Or you’re taking the newfound free time from not driving to restore that classic baby or finally fix up that dinged-up banger that failed its MOT.
Bottom line: SORN-ing can save some much-needed cash and let you focus on other car-related work.
It can definitely make sense if you’re not planning on driving that particular car for whatever reason.
Can I save money by SORN-ing my car?
Making a SORN for your car will definitely save you some cash, as you won’t have to insure it, tax it, or MOT it. Technically, anyway.
Some people choose to insure it anyway. That’s because your car can still be damaged or stolen even if it’s parked on your own driveway.
But, money-saving aside, there are lots of reasons to SORN your car. It doesn’t make sense for everyone, but it can certainly make sense for you.
Can I drive my car when I’ve declared SORN?
SORNing your car might seem like a great way to save some cash, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
A SORN means that you’re basically claiming that the car won’t be driven on public roads. So no spontaneous road trips, no easy errand running – SORN = bye-bye freedom.
And don’t even think about taking it out for a spin because that is a big no-no and can lead to some pretty hefty fines. You could face court prosecution and be fined up to £2,500 if you use a SORN-ed vehicle on the road. Want to avoid a SORN fine? We thought you might, so here’s some tips for keeping your money in your pocket by learning how to avoid a SORN fine.
There’s only one exception to this rule: you won’t normally be fined if you drive your SORN-ed car to or from a pre-booked MOT or another testing appointment.
So before SORNing your ride, carefully consider whether it is the right choice for you.
Can I use temporary car insurance on a SORN car?
If you have a SORN car, unfortunately, Zixty’s short term car insurance won’t work for you. That’s because our policy only covers legally drivable cars with valid MOT certificates that haven’t been SORN-ed.
Sorry SORNers, looks like you’ll have to stick to pushing your car back and forth in your driveway…although we don’t condone that.
Can I SORN a car from time to time?
SOR-No, guys. SORNing your car every time you don’t feel like driving is not a thing. It’s meant for those occasions when you need to declare your car off the road for a longer period of time – not just because you don’t want to pay insurance while you’re on holiday.
SORN it if you’re going on an extended work trip for a few months. SORN it if you’re taking a sabbatical to travel the world. Don’t SORN it if you’re going to Ibiza for a week.
Let’s save SORN for when it’s truly necessary, and leave it alone when we’re just taking a quick break from driving.
Do I need to declare SORN?
If you have a car and have zero plans of driving it on the road, then you could absolutely SORN it. But it’s ultimately up to you.
If you SORN it, you don’t have to pay road tax or insurance. But if you don’t SORN it, don’t drive it, and choose not to insure it or pay tax, then you can get fined.
So if you want to make that insurance and tax saving, and you know you won’t be driving for a while, then please go ahead and SORN your ride. Bonus points: you’ll receive a refund for any full months of unused tax left on the car.
Does SORN transfer if I buy or sell a car?
If you’ve just bought a car with a SORN declared by the previous owner, then that SORN won’t transfer across.
Also, if you sell your SORN-ed car, it’s the same story – the new owner will need to SORN it themselves or tax and insure it.
So if you want to SORN your new car, you’ll need to do that yourself.
How do I go about SORN-ing my car?
It’s easy and free to SORN your car if you’ve chosen to go down that route. You’ll need your reference number from your log book, or the 11-digit number from your vehicle tax reminder letter.
Once you have that information, you can SORN your car online or call the DVLA. You can even mail your application if you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way.
You’ll get a refund for any road tax you haven’t used.
You’ll then need to contact your insurer to let them know the car’s been SORN-ed. They’ll be able to tell you about the next steps.
Bear in mind, some people choose to keep their car insured anyway. This is known as SORN insurance and can protect your car from things like accidental damage, fire, or theft.
There’s no end date, or expiry, on a SORN. SORN lasts indefinitely, or until the car changes hands (is sold), is put back on the road, is permanently exported, or is scrapped.
How do I get my car back on the road after SORN?
So you’re ready to get that car back on the road? Don’t worry, it’s not hard at all!
The first step is to tax the car – which you can do online or over the phone. If you really enjoy a day out, you can tax your car at some post offices.
As well as having road tax, you’ll also need valid car insurance and a current MOT. As we mentioned before, you are allowed to drive your SORN-ed car to a pre-booked MOT appointment.
The keyword here is pre-booked. You can’t drive your car to an MOT centre unless you’ve pre-booked it, because you’ll need to show evidence of the appointment if you’re pulled over by police.
If you’re worried about car insurance, some companies will offer cover to try your car to a pre-booked appointment. But – we don’t do that here at Zixty as you need a valid MOT to get cover through us.
An overview: SORN, is it right for me?
If you have a car and have zero plans to drive it on the road, you may want to SORN that bad boy. SORNing your vehicle means letting the DVLA know that it won’t be hitting the streets anytime soon. Bonus: no more paying that annoying vehicle excise duty aka road tax. You also won’t need to insure your car if you don’t want to.
Plus, once you SORN your car, you’ll even get a refund for any full months of unused tax left on it. So why not SORN and save some cash if you won’t be driving for a few months? Just make sure you store it on private land – like your driveway or garage.