Can You Insure a Car Without an MOT?

What are the rules?

Maybe your car has been off the road for a while. Maybe your MOT and car insurance renewal dates coincide this year. Either way, you might find yourself asking, “can you insure a car without an MOT?” 

The answer varies by insurance provider. Some will take you on, while others won’t accept you without an MOT to prove your vehicle is roadworthy. 

It also depends on what you plan to do with your car. It is possible to insure a vehicle without an MOT, but since driving without an MOT is a serious offence, you won’t be able to use your car on public roads until you get it checked. 

Let’s start by looking at why.

What is an MOT? 

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport certificate. An MOT is a series of checks for vehicles more than three years old. The tests check: 

  • That you can drive the vehicle without endangering yourself or other road users. 
  • That your car isn’t producing excessive pollution that could damage the environment and public health. 

Your car has to have an MOT once a year if you want to drive it on the UK road network.  

My car is taxed and insured but no MOT: how long can I drive? 

It’s important to understand that you cannot drive after your MOT runs out. 

Many people assume their old MOT is valid for a few days after the expiry date, but there’s no grace period. 

To avoid problems, many drivers choose to get their MOT done in the days before their old certificate runs out.  You can get a new MOT up to one month minus one day before your old one expires. 

You’re only allowed to drive a car after your MOT expires if you’re going to a pre-booked appointment at an MOT test centre. 

If you find yourself in this position, you need to bring proof of your appointment (for example, a printout with your booking confirmation), and you need to take the most direct route there and back. If you get pulled over, you must be able to provide this information to avoid a serious fine. 

Can I insure my car without an MOT? 

It goes without saying that you can insure a new car without an MOT. In most cases, you don’t need an MOT until your vehicle is at least three years old. 

But for older cars, you’ll usually need an MOT to take out new insurance or continue to use your current policy. As with any insurance policy, there are several factors to consider. It’s best to contact your insurer directly to find out if they can cover you without an MOT. 

Some insurance providers have policies specifically for cars that are off the road or are too old to MOT: 

  • SORN insurance covers vehicles under a statutory off-road notice. In fact, cars with a SORN still need to be insured by law. If you’re wondering, “can I insure a car without MOT and road tax?” SORN insurance, also known as “laid-up insurance,” is for you.  
  • Classic car insurance covers vintage vehicles, especially those older than 40 years, which generally don’t need an MOT.
  • Or, if you’re selling your car soon and would prefer the new owner cover the cost of the MOT for the coming year, you should look for an insurance policy that covers a vehicle without a valid MOT. 

In all these circumstances, you can – and should – insure the vehicle to protect yourself against damage and theft, even if the missing MOT means you won’t be able to drive it on the road. 

Is car insurance still valid without an MOT? 

Again, this comes down to your insurance provider. The contract often has a clause that states that your vehicle has to be in a “roadworthy condition” to be covered. Without an MOT, an older car is no longer roadworthy, so if you let your MOT expire during the period of your insurance policy, your contract might become void. 

What’s more, if you drive a car without an MOT, which then becomes an uninsured vehicle because you’ve violated the terms of your insurance, you’re breaking the law twice

Some policies will continue to cover a car if the MOT expires during the term. But in this case, it’s important to remember that you’ll only be covered to drive directly to that pre-booked appointment at the MOT test centre — because driving without an MOT is still an offence. 

And even if your car insurance is valid without an MOT, there are a couple of things to be aware of:

  • If your car is damaged or stolen, you’ll probably get a smaller payout from your insurance company because cars without up-to-date MOTs are worth less. 
  • If you have to claim on your insurance, it’ll be a much longer process because it will be down to the insurance company – not the MOT technician – to decide whether your car was roadworthy when it was damaged or stolen. 

How would I get caught with no MOT or insurance? 

You might first notice that your MOT has expired when you try to pay your car tax for the year. But that’s not generally how people get caught without a valid MOT. 

There are 11,000 ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras on roads up and down the UK. They take a photo of your number plate and check it against a central database. A fixed penalty notice can then be sent to you automatically if you don’t have an MOT. 

ANPR cameras also catch drivers without insurance. The MID (Motor Insurance Database) partners with the police so they can check number plates against the list of vehicles insured in the UK. 

And in both cases, a missing MOT or an uninsured vehicle will also be discovered if you get pulled over for another driving offence. 

The penalty for driving without an MOT is £1,000, and you’re looking at potentially losing your car. The penalty for driving without insurance is £300 and six points on your licence. You can also be banned from driving and get an unlimited fine if the case goes to court. 

My car doesn’t have an MOT, and I need to get it insured: What should I do? 

If your insurance policy is still in date and you’re looking to renew it, check whether it covers you for the drive to the MOT test centre. 

If you’re covered by your insurance, you can drive straight to the test centre and take care of the missing MOT. If not, you won’t be allowed to drive on the road, and your only real option is to pay for your vehicle to be towed to the test centre. 

It’s also important to understand that you won’t be able to apply for your insurance, road tax, or any other MOT-dependent expenses as soon as you leave the test centre. It can take a few days for the MOT database to be updated, which means you may need to arrange to store your vehicle or be towed home as well. 

Do I need an MOT to tax my car?

While an MOT might be optional for some car insurance, it’s essential when you want to tax your vehicle. 

Your tax calculation is partly based on the results of your MOT (especially its emissions). Without an up-to-date certificate, it’s impossible to apply to pay your vehicle excise duty for the coming year. 

And, since driving an untaxed vehicle is also punishable with a fixed penalty notice, this is another reason to make sure you keep your MOT up-to-date so your car can stay on the road. 

Don’t forget, it takes seconds to find out when you need to tax or MOT your vehicle. Just check your number plate on the website

And if it’s time to renew your car insurance, contact A-Plan today to get a quote for the cover that’s right for you. 

Also read:
Drive without an MOT – the myths vs the facts
What MOT Class is My Vehicle?
Understanding your car MOT test