SORN – All you need to know

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What is SORN?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification, which means that your vehicle is declared ‘off the road’ with the DVLA and it no longer needs to be taxed or insured. This however means that the vehicle cannot be driven and must be parked on your driveway, garage or on any property you own – a vehicle with a SORN status must not be parked on a public road.

When to SORN?

You can choose to SORN your vehicle if you’re not using it for a period of time, if you’ve not renewed your insurance or tax or if you’re planning to scrap your car. There are some circumstances when you must SORN your vehicle, these include:

  • Your vehicle is not taxed
  • Your vehicle is not insured
  • You wish to break down a vehicle for parts before scrapping
  • You buy a vehicle and wish to keep it off of the road

SORN a vehicle

What documents do I need to issue a SORN?

In order to SORN your car you will need the 11-digit number on your v5c (log book). If you don’t have your vehicle’s log book, you can go onto the website and apply for a replacement for a £25 fee. Alternatively you can use your v11 tax reminder letter.

If you wish to SORN your vehicle from the first day of the following month, you will need to use your tax reminder letter and quote the 16-digit number on the letter. However, you can only use this 16-digit number once.

If you’re not the registered keeper of the vehicle, you must apply for a SORN via post by filling in the appropriate part of the log book and sending it off to the DVLA with a completed V890 form.

How to SORN my car

If you’re wondering “how do I SORN my car off the road”, it couldn’t be simpler. You can SORN your car off the road online, over the phone by calling 0300 123 4321 or you can apply by post. It’s worth noting that you can only apply online if you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, if you do not yet have the vehicle, you must apply via post by filling in the appropriate part of the log book and sending it off to the DVLA with a completed V890 form.

Applying for SORN is completely free, and the ‘off road’ status will start depending on which method you use to apply. If you apply online or over the phone with your v5c it will usually start immediately, however if you use your v11 it will start on the 1st of the next month. If you apply through the post your SORN status will start from the date you request on the form (it cannot be backdated). However, please bear in mind that the SORN process can take up to 4 weeks depending on demand.

In order for your SORN to stay valid, the vehicle must stay in the UK. If you export your vehicle the SORN status will be automatically cancelled. Furthermore, if you purchase a vehicle with a SORN, it will not transfer over with the vehicle, you must apply for a new SORN once the vehicle is in your possession.

How much does it cost to SORN a car?

The entire process is free to SORN a car off the road. The easiest way to submit an application is to visit the gov website or alternatively you can let them know by phone or post. 

It’s important to remember however that if you do not have off-street parking, you could end up paying to keep the vehicle on a private drive as it is against the law for any vehicle to be on a public road while marked SORN. 

What happens after you SORN?

Once your vehicle has a SORN and is declared off the road, you’ll automatically receive a refund for any full months tax paid in advance. You must keep a SORN car off road, and once it has been issued, you can only drive the car to a pre-booked MOT appointment. You must not drive it under any other circumstance. If you are caught with a SORN car on the road you can face a fine of up to £2,500. If you wish to drive your ‘off road’ vehicle, you must tax and insure it, which will automatically remove the SORN status from your vehicle. You do not need to renew a SORN, it will remain until the vehicle is taxed, sold, exported or scrapped. You should also ensure your car once sorned is not driven or kept on any public roads parked otherwise a fine can be given for keeping a sorn car on the road. 

What happens if you do not get a SORN?

If your vehicle is not insured, you will receive an Insurance Advisory Letter informing you that your car does not appear on the Motor Insurance Database. The letter will state that you either need to tax and insure your vehicle or get a SORN issued. If you disregard this letter, you could be fined a fixed penalty of £100, face your vehicle being clamped or impounded and also receive a court prosecution with a fine of up to £1,000.

Do I need insurance if I SORN my car?

If your vehicle is issued with a SORN, you do not need to have a valid insurance policy as the car is technically off of the road. However, this will mean that if your vehicle is stolen or damaged, you will have to pay for any repairs yourself. If you wish to have your vehicle covered for your peace of mind, you could take out a third party, fire and theft policy. To find out more, check out our insurance write-off calculator.

Does SORN affect my MOT?

Your vehicle’s MOT will stay valid whilst your car is declared with a SORN. However, if your MOT runs out whilst your car is off the road, you must re-book your MOT test if you wish to return it to the road.

Where should my SORN car be kept?

Once your vehicle has a SORN, it is declared as off the road, this means it cannot be on the road – even when parked. It must be parked on a driveway, in a garage or on any private land that you own. It must not be parked on a public road, public car park or on a pavement. It can however be parked down a private road.

Can I drive my SORN vehicle?

You can only drive your SORN vehicle to a pre-booked MOT appointment, or other testing appointment. If you drive it under any other circumstances you could be fined up to £2,500.

Selling or scrapping a SORN vehicle

If you sell or scrap a vehicle with a SORN, the off road status will be removed and the SORN will be automatically cancelled. If you’re selling a vehicle with a SORN status, the new owner will need to re-apply as SORN cannot be transferred between owners.

Can I check if a vehicle has a SORN?

You can check the status of a vehicle, including SORN, on the DVLA’s website. You simply need to input the vehicle’s registration number.

How to UnSORN my car?

You do not need to cancel a SORN, the status will remain until it is either taxed, sold, exported or scrapped.

How do I get my car back on the road after SORN?

If you’re keeping your vehicle and wish to get it back on the road, simply tax and insure your car. When you apply for car tax the DVLA will automatically remove the SORN status. If you’re returning the vehicle back to the road, also ensure it has passed its most recent MOT test.

Read more, find out how to scrap your car, or what makes up your vehicle’s value, or get a quote for your car or van in 30 seconds.