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Is my car insurance valid without an MOT?

Vanessa Tsai
Written by  Vanessa Tsai
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 14 Feb 2024

In the UK, it’s illegal to drive a car without a valid MOT. As well as facing a fine, you will invalidate your car insurance.

It’s easy to forget to get your annual MOT done when the time comes. However, this can invalidate your car insurance, meaning you can’t legally drive.

Is my car insurance still valid if my MOT expires?

You typically won’t be covered by your car insurance if you drive with an out-of-date MOT.

This is because most car insurers will specify in the conditions of your policy that your car needs an MOT. So, if you don’t have an MOT or accidentally let it lapse, your insurance will be invalidated – meaning you won’t be covered if you need to claim on your car insurance.

Even if the terms and conditions of your policy do not specifically mention an MOT, your insurer will still require your car to be safe and roadworthy. To prove this, you’ll need a valid MOT certificate.

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Can I claim on my insurance without an MOT?

No – if you don’t have a valid MOT certificate and it’s listed as a requirement in your policy, you won’t be able to make a claim on your car insurance.

Even if your policy doesn’t list a valid MOT as a condition of cover, it’ll still require your car to be considered roadworthy, which is difficult to prove without an up-to-date MOT certificate. In this instance, it’ll be up to the discretion of your insurer as to whether your policy pays out.

Even if your insurer ends up deciding your car is indeed roadworthy, you’ll likely receive a lower pay-out if your car is written off or stolen. This is because your car is worth less without a valid MOT certificate.

When can I insure a car without an MOT?

There are a few cases where you can buy car insurance without a valid MOT:

  • Your car is less than three years old – Legally, new cars don’t need an MOT until the third anniversary of their registration date. You can check the registration date in your service book or registration document (V5)

  • You have a classic car that’s over 40 years old – As long as it’s roadworthy and hasn’t undergone any major modifications in the past 30 years, it won’t require an MOT

  • You’re only driving your car to a pre-booked MOT appointment – If the above two exemptions don’t apply, your insurer may agree to the policy if you’re only planning to drive it to the garage until it has passed its MOT. You’ll need proof of the booking if you’re stopped by police on the way

Can I drive without insurance to get an MOT?

You can’t legally drive an uninsured car to a pre-booked MOT test. If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you could face a penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driver’s licence.

In extreme cases, you could face an unlimited fine, your car could be seized, and you could even be disqualified from driving. So, always drive a vehicle with car insurance.

This raises the dilemma: you need to drive to your MOT test centre, but how do you get car insurance if you don’t have a valid MOT? In this case, it’s best to talk to your insurance provider. While most insurers require a valid MOT before they’ll insure your vehicle, they may agree to cover you for the drive to the MOT test centre.

If you can’t find an insurer that will insure your car without an MOT, you’ll have to arrange for your car to be towed to the test centre.

Our page What if I forget to renew my car insurance, tax and MOT? goes into further detail.

How do I check if my car has a valid MOT?

You can check whether your car has a valid MOT or not on the Gov.uk website. It’s quick and free to do so – just enter your vehicle registration number.

If you’re worried you’ll forget to renew your car’s MOT, you can sign up to Gov.uk’s free MOT reminder service. This sends you a handy text or e-mail one month before your vehicle’s MOT expires.

You can also ask your garage to send you a reminder a month before your MOT is due.

It’s also easy to check if your car is insured – our page How can I check my car insurance? has more information.

What happens if you drive without a valid MOT?

It’s against the law to drive a car without a valid MOT. If you’re caught driving without one, you can be fined up to £1,000. Additionally, if you drive a car that has failed its MOT with ‘dangerous’ faults, you may face a fine up to £2,500, as well as penalty points on your licence.

You don’t have to be caught by the police in action, either. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can identify cars without an MOT.

However, you’re allowed to drive to a pre-booked MOT test, as long as you only drive to the MOT test centre and nowhere else. You’ll need to carry evidence of the pre-booked appointment in case you’re stopped by police on the way.

Can I drive a SORN car to an MOT test?

If you don’t drive or park your car on public roads, you’ll need to register it as off the road with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This involves making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

If your car is SORN and parked on private property, it won’t require an MOT certificate. However, if you want to drive it again and it’s due an MOT, you need to have car insurance to drive it to the MOT test.

If your annual car insurance policy has expired and you’re not sure whether your car will pass its MOT, you could consider short-term car insurance.

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