Step-by-Step Guide to SORN Your Car

December 25, 2023 by Zoe Hicks – 3 mins read

Unsure how to handle your car when it’s unused or too costly to repair? SORN offers a solution, and Motorscan has been on the case to unravel its intricacies, delving into when you need SORN, its costs, insurance and tax implications, and how to get your car back on the road again if and when the time comes!

Ever found yourself at a crossroads, unsure about what to do with your car when it’s either parked for an extended period or when the cost of repairs outweighs its value?

The world of SORN, or Statutory Off Road Notification, can confuse many. Still, whether your vehicle is parked, awaiting new adventures, gathering dust as a project car, or destined for the scrapyard, Motorscan unravels the complexities of SORN and how to apply, and we explore insurance requirements, associated costs, tax implications and the steps to reactivate your vehicle when the time comes.

What is SORN?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification, a legal requirement in the UK to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) when a vehicle is not being used on public roads. Advantageously, it results in an exemption from vehicle tax and insurance, effectively declaring that the vehicle is off the road.

Why would I need to SORN a car?

Vehicle owners typically declare SORN in the following situations:

  • A vehicle is untaxed and unused, and you have no plans to drive it.
  • You don’t have car insurance and don’t plan on driving it on public roads.
  • The vehicle is a project car that is not in running condition.
  • You plan to scrap the vehicle or dismantle it for parts.
  • You’ve purchased a new vehicle but don’t intend to use it immediately.

Do I need insurance if my car is on SORN?

You do not need car insurance for a vehicle declared as SORN, stored on private property and is not parked or used on public roads. When you plan to use it on public roads again, you must tax and insure it before doing so. While SORNed, the car is not covered by insurance, so you may want to consider off-road or storage insurance if you wish to protect during this time.

How much does it cost?

Declaring your vehicle as SORN is free, and there is no requirement to pay vehicle tax or maintain insurance for it whilst SORNed. However, it’s essential to keep the vehicle on private property for the entire time it’s SORNed and not use it on public roads.

Do I get tax back if I’ve got a SORN?

The DVLA will automatically refund any vehicle tax paid for the SORN period as soon as the application is processed.

How to apply to take your vehicle off the road?

The easiest way to SORN your vehicle is online, but you can apply by Post or Phone at 0300 123 4321.

How long can you SORN a car for?

There is no time limit on how long you can keep your vehicle off the road with a SORN declaration. However, it’s important to remember that your vehicle must remain off public roads and be stored on private property during the entire time.

How do I end a SORN?

You just need to pay the road tax to end a SORN and make your vehicle road-legal again, but remember you’ll also need to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy and secure a valid MOT certificate if it is over three years old. You’ll also need to obtain car insurance before using your car on public roads—remember, driving an untaxed or uninsured vehicle can lead to legal consequences.

How can I check if a car is SORNed?

It’s easy to check if a vehicle is registered as SORN or ‘off-road’ by obtaining one of our comprehensive vehicle checks. You’ll discover other useful information about a vehicle, including whether it’s been scrapped, written off by insurers, stolen or has outstanding finance. To see the valuable information you’ll have access to, just view our sample report—all the data is hugely beneficial if you’re looking to buy a second-hand vehicle and want to avoid costly problems!


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