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Car insurance, tax, MOTs and the law

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It’s against the law to drive a car without a valid car insurance policy. Your car must be taxed to legally use it or keep it on a public road too. Your car also needs a valid MOT certificate.

It's also an offence to keep an uninsured car on a public street.

Only cars that are registered with the DVLA with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) can be kept uninsured and untaxed.

Car keys on top of finance papers 

Can you tax a car without insurance? 

No - you can’t tax a car if it doesn’t have an insurance policy in place. 

But you don’t need your insurance policy with you when you tax your car. The DVLA has this information on its motor insurance database. 

If your car is off the road and has a SORN you don't have a legal obligation to insure or tax it. But you have to keep the car off the road - for example, locked up in a garage. You can get cover to protect your car from damage though, this is called laid up cover.

Can you insure a car without tax?

Your car insurance might be valid even if your car isn’t taxed. Some insurance companies may have it as a condition of insurance though, so it’s important to check your policy.

But it’s illegal to drive a car without tax. The penalties for driving an untaxed car can be severe - starting at £80 and rising to more than £1,000.

If the police discover you haven’t taxed your car, they can issue you a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of up to £1,000.

Insurance companies don’t like driving convictions either. So if you’re caught driving an untaxed car, you may see the cost of your car insurance increase.

Can you tax a car without an MOT?

No, you need a valid MOT certificate to tax your car.

It’s illegal to drive a car without an up-to-date MOT and in addition to driving penalties, it could also invalidate your car insurance. But you’re allowed to drive a vehicle without an MOT if you’re taking it to get an MOT test. 

Can you MOT a car without tax?

Yes, you can get an MOT if your car doesn’t have tax. This is because you need a valid MOT certificate to tax your car.

It’s an offence to drive a car without tax and an MOT on a public road, but the only exception to this is if you’re driving your car to have its MOT.

Can you drive without an MOT?

No, it’s illegal to drive or park your car on the road if the MOT has run out. The only exceptions include driving to an MOT test centre or to a garage for repairs.

If you're caught driving without a valid MOT certificate, you could get a fine of up to £1,000.

To check your car's MOT status, you can use our free MOT check tool. Just put in your car's registration number and it tells you whether it has a valid MOT. You should also see when your MOT expires.

Can you insure a car without an MOT?

You might be able to insure a car without a valid MOT, but it’s not guaranteed.

However, you can’t legally drive your car unless it has an up-to-date MOT certificate. The only exceptions to this rule are:

  • If you’re driving to a pre-arranged MOT appointment at a garage
  • Your car is less than 3 years old and doesn’t require an MOT
  • Your car was built or first registered more than 40 years ago, making it a classic car

Is car insurance mandatory?

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you own a road-worthy car. Third-party insurance is the lowest level of cover available and the minimum legal level required.

A valid car insurance policy provides drivers with financial protection and covers them in case of an accident. Some policies also cover injuries to other drivers, pedestrians and passengers.

These policies were designed to cover drivers for the costs included after an accident. It could potentially cover the repair costs for your or another person’s car.

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