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Car insurance can be a complicated thing and when legislation changes, how do you know where you stand?

New legislation brought in by the UK government last year now means that any vehicle registered for use on the road now needs to be insured – even if they’re not in use. Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) – has been put in place to stop to motorists driving without cover.

The responsibility for insuring a car as roadworthy and taxed lies with the registered keeper and if they fail they could face a fixed penalty of £100 minimum fine and up to £1000 and court prosecution at the worst.

Here are some tips for insuring your car and what to do if you car is off the road:

  • If a car is never driven or kept on the road and unused and kept in a garage, drive or private land, it can be declared as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). This will mean the user receives confirmation that the car is officially classed as unused and does not need a tax disc or need to be insured. It is illegal to drive the car if it’s declared as SORN.
  • The SORN lasts for 12 months and you must make sure that your car won’t be driven or kept on a public road during this time. If it is, you could risk a maximum penalty of £5,000 and face a jail term.
  • You can make a SORN by applying online, by post or in person at the post office, you’ll need the reference number on your V5C registration certificate, V11 or V85/1 reminder form.
  • A SORN must be reapplied for each time it expires, so it is essential you make a note of when it is due to expire so the car is not left untaxed or uninsured without a SORN.
  • To drive a SORN vehicle back on the road again, the SORN must be removed which can be easily and quickly done by contacting the DVLA. You’ll need to make sure you have a valid tax disc and insurance for the vehicle.
  • If you need to drive the car, even for a short period of time, you will need to remove the SORN and apply for temporary car insurance as well as making sure the car has a valid tax disc.
  • When a car is sold on and has a SORN, the vehicle’s new owner must renew the SORN in their name if they intend to keep the car untaxed and off the road.
  • The exception from the new rules are cars that were last taxed before 31 January 1998.



Ben Austin is the CEO of, a leading comparison site that offers information to compare deals for car insurance, travel insurance, home insurance and much more.