Millions of vehicle owners across the UK have seen a massive disruption in their vehicle use during 2020. Periods of intermittent national and country lockdowns since March of this year, plus variable advice on working from home, have led to car, van and motorbike owners thinking about taking their vehicles off the road altogether; at least until the situation around restrictions becomes somewhat clearer.
Of course, if you’ve paid for road tax and vehicle insurance, you’ll want to know your legal status, including any possible refunds. This is where the Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) comes in. For many drivers and riders, however, whether to SORN is a tricky question.
Probably the most important consideration when thinking about making a SORN is where your vehicle is parked, and how you can gain access to it should you need to. If you declare your vehicle to be off road, this has a number of legal implications. Basically, off road vehicles cannot use any public roads, at any time. The only exception is if you have a pre-booked MOT; in this case, you must present proof of the test appointment if pulled over by the police.
Apart from this exemption, as far as the law and the DVLA are concerned, your car, van or motorbike is not allowed on the roads, or even a public footpath which stands between your property and a private road. Technically speaking, you could be fined for reversing out of your drive in this case.
As your vehicle is neither taxed nor insured, any potential incident on your part will constitute a criminal offence; if you accidentally bump into another car, for instance, the owner of that car will not be able to recoup any insurance costs.
The question of insurance is, in fact, another very important factor when considering declaring a SORN for your vehicle. The fact is that, for any vehicle left standing for long periods of time, damage can occur. This is especially true if it's parked outside; tree branches can fall, paintwork can easily get scratched by passing delivery staff, etc.
Even if safely wrapped in tarpaulin, or tucked away in the garage, idle vehicles have a habit of deteriorating. This is why depreciation is inbuilt into the valuation of any new vehicle. As soon as they leave the factory or showroom, vehicles lose value. Add to that the possibility of leaking fuel and brake pipes. escaping air pressure through tyre walls, and flat batteries, and having an off road vehicle is anything but an insurance-free proposition.
For that reason, even if you do SORN your vehicle, you should seriously think about keeping its insurance up. Even if you chance the terms to fire and theft, the cost could easily be worth it. When the day comes to take your vehicle back on the road, it has to be roadworthy; the costs of any repairs, therefore, need to be covered.
www.sorn.co.uk provide an easy to use paid for portal when registering a vehicle for statutory off road notification as well as sorn insurance, scrap your vehicle and sell your vehicle options. We are not affiliated with the government or DVLA however we do source vehicle information from the DVLA to search that the correct vehicle is issued as SORN.