If you own a vehicle that you don’t use or intend to stop using for a while, you could benefit from declaring it SORN.

SORN meaning: What is SORN?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. You must make one if you plan to take a vehicle ‘off the road’ and you want to stop taxing and insuring it.

If you’ve SORN a vehicle in the UK, the SORN status lets DVLA and the police know that your car doesn’t legally need vehicle tax, an MOT or insurance, because you’re not keeping or driving it on public roads.

What are the benefits to making a SORN?

Declaring your vehicle as being off the road   will enable you to save money on associated costs of running the vehicle.

If you SORN a vehicle you can cease payments of insurance and road tax (VED).

A SORN vehicle does also not require a valid MOT

If you do not have a SORN, you must insure and tax your vehicle, even if you are not using it. Cars that are not declared off-the-road and which are not taxed and insured will face an automatic fine of £80 for not having a SORN, as well as potentially facing an additional fine for having an uninsured vehicle.


Reasons for declaring a car off-the-road

You may not need your car for a particular period, or, for example, have a classic car that you wish to store but not drive.

Other reasons include:

  • You're studying away from home and won’t need your car during that time
  • You have a car but plan to scrap it
  • You've purchased an old car to fix up and don’t plan to drive it on public roads


Can I store my SORN-declared car on a public road?

No, if your car has been declared as SORN, you must keep your car on private land, such as a garage or driveway.

If you're caught using public roads (even just parking an unused vehicle on them), without insurance or VED, you'll face a fine from the DVLA. However, you are permitted to drive the vehicle to a pre-booked MOT even if it is declared off-the-road.

Before you decide to declare your car as off-the-road, be certain you won’t need it for things like shopping, picking up medications - or in an emergency.


How to SORN a car: How do you declare your vehicle as off-the-road?

Use the government website to declare your car off-the-road.with the DVLA.

To declare your car as SORN you'll need certain information to hand, which you'll find in your car's vehicle log book or a recent vehicle tax reminder letter.

Not the registered owner of the vehicle? Use the V890 form and apply by post.

You can also complete the process by calling the DVLA on 0300 123 4321. It's a 24-hour service but access may be limited due to staffing reductions resulting from the ongoing Coronavirus situation.


Can you choose when a SORN starts?

If applying to SORN your vehicle by phone or online, there are two options as to when you can start the SORN from:

To immediately SORN a vehicle

Use the 11-digit number on your vehicle log book (V5C) to take the vehicle off the road immediately.

To SORN a vehicle on the first day of next month

Use the 16-digit number on your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11) to take the vehicle off the road from the first day of next month. You can only use this number once.

If you apply to SORN a vehicle by post, the date of the SORN will start on the date you put on the form.

This can be any day either:

  • this month
  • next month or the month after (you will need to include a letter saying why you cannot send the form nearer the time)

Note: It is not possible to backdate a SORN.


Do I need to renew my SORN?

No, there is no need to renew your SORN; it will be cancelled automatically the next time you tax or sell your car.

If you buy a car that has been declared off-the-road, and you intend to keep the vehicle as SORN, you'll need to declare another SORN under your own name.


Can you check If a vehicle is SORN?

Yes, you can check a vehicle’s SORN status online on the Government website.


Can I get a refund for any remaining road tax (VED) once I declare my vehicle as SORN?

Yes, you can get a refund on any full months of road tax you have paid for.

Some insurers may offer refunds too - contact yours to find out.


SORN insurance – What is laid up car insurance?  

You must have Third party motor insurance as a minimum legal requirement, to drive your vehicle on UK roads.

Whilst you don’t legally need insurance if your vehicle is SORN, you could still benefit from having insurance in place.

Remember that your car may still be stolen or damaged while declared off-the-road, so you may wish to continue insuring it.

You can get laid up car insurance – also called SORN insurance – for your car while it has a SORN. 


How much does SORN car insurance cost?

Like standard car insurance, the cost of SORN insurance (laid up insurance) depends on a host of risk factors such as the make, model and value of your car, where you live, and your claims history.

SORN insurance tends to be cheaper than standard vehicle insurance because you’re not insuring your car to be driven anywhere, and so the risk factors tend to be lower.


Do I need to inform anyone if I no longer have SORN in place on my vehicle?

You do not need to inform the DVLA if you no longer want your vehicle SORN; as soon as you start to pay road tax on the vehicle again, it will be automatically taken off SORN

Ensure you have valid MOT in place if you intend to start using your car again.

You will also need to ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place.  SORN insurance doesn’t cover you for driving, so if you have had this in place whilst your car has been off road, you need to cancel your SORN and buy regular car insurance before you take your car out on a public road.


If I sell my vehicle do I need to SORN?

You do not need to make a SORN for a vehicle you’ve already sold. Tell DVLA you’ve sold a vehicle instead.