/ Motoring

We shouldn’t have to insure our unused cars

Vintage car in garage

You may or may not be aware, but from the end of June, any vehicle without current insurance cover could be seized or even destroyed, with owners facing a £1,000 fine. Even if the car is not on the public road!

Essentially, according to the new rules, if you’re the registered keeper of a vehicle, it must be insured at all times.

The only get-out is if you formally register your motor as being off the road, by submitting a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Is it the right solution?

The authorities will use the Motor Insurance Database to track uninsured vehicles, so even if your car isn’t in use, you’re not safe – they can take it off your hands. Another step towards a Big Brother state? Yes, I think it is.

I agree that uninsured drivers are a menace, and the idea of crushing their cars when they’re caught on the road (especially when they are habitual offenders) is a great one.

But I think the new rules are a step too far. It’s not really anybody’s business but the owner’s if a car is kept on private land. This legislation, in my view, is ill-conceived, created by people who haven’t thought it through, and may even turn out to be unenforceable.

Another car insurance option

Is there a better solution to fix this country’s car insurance problem? Why not introduce a levy on every litre of fuel, which would be used to pay for third party cover for everyone. Anyone wanting more comprehensive cover could then buy that separately as an optional extra. Essentially this would mean everybody would be automatically insured.

Plus, not only would we all pay in proportion to the amount of fuel we use, but it would remove the problem of uninsured drivers at a stroke – thus freeing up valuable police resources.

I suspect it would also shake up the closed-shop run by insurers, who in my view cash-in on the mandatory requirement of car insurance. The price of cover is now so high that it’s no wonder some people decide to chance it, rather than stump up several times the value of their car just to be allowed on the road.

With an insurance levy we’d suddenly find much stiffer competition for optional policies, bringing prices down for those of us who drive carefully and avoid claiming.

Do you think the government’s new car insurance rules are a step too far, or a required move to purge Britain’s roads of uninsured drivers?

Mervyne says:
16 April 2015

Iv just bought a car,but have no v5 documents as the car is from a dead persons estate and was sold at auction,I’m the new owner.I have insured the car but can’t tax it because having no document,the £25 fee for new documents has been paid and sent off,,but I am informed it could take up to six weeks,
While this car is insured can it be parked on the roadside without the tax.
Please comment.


Hi Mervyne, thanks for your post about the new car you’ve recently bought. To my knowledge, with no V5 or car tax, the insurance is invalid because they’re both linked with one another.

In this respect, I’d strongly suggest that you to take this up with your car insurer. It’s best to keep written correspondence confirming they’ll insure the vehicle whilst you’re waiting for the documents.

In the meanwhile, we’d recommend not parking the car on the road. Just to add, a valid MOT is linked with insurance, so it’s best checking this too.

Busby says:
25 April 2015

purchased a new van so changed my insurance from my old car. Car is currently on my drive still with tax and mot as it was supposed to be going to a member of the family I did not declare it off the road. I’m now fuming that I have recently received a fine for not being insured. Have now had to put the car up for sale but confused about sorn as then it would be illegal for anyone to test the car. I was simply going to put it on my insurance as and when required for test drives. It seems either way I’ll get done. I can’t see why I should pay for insurance that will only be used for 5 or 10 minutes at a time yet if I don’t I have to try to sell it without letting people test it.


You do not have to have insurance (or tex) to keep a vehicle on the drive or in a garage, but you must make a SORN to avoid being fined, as you have discovered. Someone else could drive a vehicle under their own insurance, albeit with only third party cover, but obviously not if it is has been declared to be off the road.

That’s the law. Even though it sounds tough, there are very good reasons.

Clare says:
18 May 2017

Our car was taxed and insured but the mot was out. We live in a housing association house with private parking. The housing group put a notice on our car saying it would be taken away as no mot which we didn’t see as assuming it was removed by kids. Not knowing this at the time we reported it stolen to the police. Finally two weeks later we find out the the housing group has not only taken it but destroyed our £6000 van without notifying us the owners. Can they do this?


No Clare , although even on private land/road I found out you still need an MOT as I parked an old car somebody complained about unless as Wavechange says you -SORN it. The land in your case will belong to the housing association and they are safeguarding themselves in case injury is caused by it being parked there. You would have to prove negligence on the part of the housing association to obtain a successful claim in law , all they have to prove is that a notice was attached to the car warning of its removal unless action is taken by the owners. If they knew who owned it they should have notified you. Councils have a statutory duty to remove abandoned vehicles from land/private roads but a lot depends on the local council .