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When does your car need a SORN?

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Written by Matt Fernell, Financial Content Writer

19 May 2020

If you have a car you do not drive, you cannot leave it off the road without either insuring it or applying for a SORN. Here is what you need to know about declaring your car off the road.

When to apply for a SORN

If you own a car that you no longer plan to drive and do not want to insure or tax it, you must apply for a SORN to declare it off the road.

Even if you only want to use the car occasionally, you must have car insurance and tax in place.

What is a SORN?

It stands for Statutory Off Road Notification, and is how to declare that your car is off the road. You will not be able to drive your car, but you will not need to insure or tax it.

If you do not declare your car off the road, or insure it, you could face a large fine under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rule. This states that you must have motor insurance for your vehicle at all times and will be fined if your cover lapses and is not renewed.

How to declare your car off the road

You can make a SORN declaration:

  • Online at GOV.UK

  • By phone on 0300 123 4321 or textphone on 0300 790 6201

  • By post by completing a SORN application form V890 and sending it to the DVLA

You must apply by post if you are not yet registered as the car's keeper and send the relevant part of the V5C log book with the application form.

You can only apply online if you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. You will need the 16 digit reference number on your tax renewal letter (V11), or the 11 digit reference number shown on your log book (V5C).

Your SORN will last until you tax, scrap or permanently export your vehicle. You will not have to renew it.

When will you get confirmation?

The DVLA will confirm the SORN status of your car within four weeks of receiving your completed application.

You will receive a confirmation letter if you applied by post or phone, and an email if you applied online.

Will you get a refund of your car tax?

Yes — you will get an automatic refund for any full months left on your vehicle tax when you make a SORN.

You will receive your refund by cheque in four to six weeks of taking your car off the road. The cheque will be sent to the name and address on the car's log book (V5C).

How do you declare your car back on the road?

You just need to tax and insure your car and make sure the MOT is valid. When you apply for tax the DVLA will automatically remove the SORN.

Here is what you need to do to get an MOT for your car.

What happens if you do not get a SORN?

You will get an Insurance Advisory Letter if your car does not appear on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), a record of all insured cars in the UK.

The letter will tell you that your car is uninsured and that you face a fine if you do not either arrange insurance and tax or register your car with a SORN. If you ignore this letter you could face:

  • A fixed penalty of £100

  • Your vehicle being clamped, impounded or destroyed

  • A court prosecution, with a fine of up to £1,000

If you no longer have the vehicle, the letter will explain how to amend the registered owner of the car.

You can check that your car is insured on the ask MID website.

Where can you keep your vehicle?

You must keep your car off the road if it has a SORN.

You can keep it on your driveway, garage or any private land you own.

You cannot keep your car on a public road even if it has been declared not in use.


No — once your car is declared off the road you cannot drive it until you have taxed and insured your vehicle, and made sure it has a valid MOT.

No. You have to reapply for a SORN when you buy a vehicle even if the previous owner had declared it off the road.

Whatever car you drive, make sure you find insurance that covers everything you need as cheaply as possible by comparing all of the policies out there.

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