When you don’t need vehicle insurance

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

The law says that you must normally have at least third party motor insurance if you drive or own a vehicle. You must also have insurance if you leave it parked on the street, on your driveway or in your garage.

The police can check on the spot if your vehicle is insured using the Motor Insurance Database. If it isn’t they can seize it immediately, even if you then arrange insurance at the roadside. You’ll have to produce a certificate of insurance and pay charges to get your vehicle back. If you don’t, the police can dispose of your car 14 days later. If they sell it, you can claim money back from the sale.

However, there are situations when it's legal for your vehicle to be uninsured. This page tells you about situations where you don't need to have motor insurance.

You don't need motor insurance if:

  • you have a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)

  • your vehicle has been kept off a public road since before 1 February 1998

  • your vehicle has been scrapped, stolen or exported and you have given notice of this

  • your vehicle is between dealers or is being held in stock by an authorised dealer.

If your vehicle appears not to be insured you will get a letter from the Motor Insurers' Bureau warning you to insure your vehicle or to check your insurance company has entered the correct details onto their database. If you are insured you should contact your insurer at once.

If you don't insure your vehicle you will get a Fixed Penalty Notice and if you still don't insure it, it could be seized, clamped or destroyed or you could be taken back to court.

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Page last reviewed on 16 December 2020