News : The end of SORN is nigh

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Honest John

Alfasud: not far from being back on the road?
Cars such as the AROnline Alfasud, which are currently off-road will no longer need an annual SORN declaration

The Government has made some changes to the regulations for Continuous Insurance of vehicles in the UK. From 16 December, it will no longer be necessary to renew a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) on an annual basis, while you’re the owner of the car. However, if you sell a car on a SORN, the new owner will need to register it to himself and declare his own SORN. The SORN does not pass from one keeper to another.

The change, announced by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, is part of a package of measures to get rid of unnecessary red tape. Last year, around four million SORNs were made, with more than one million of those repeat renewals. Additionally, registered keepers will no longer need to have their insurance certificates checked when re-taxing a vehicle.

The changes to insurance checks have been made possible because DVLA regularly checks existing databases for insurance under Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database to identify registered keepers of vehicles that have no insurance.

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme to tackle uninsured motorists was launched in June 2011 making it an offence to be the keeper of an uninsured vehicle whether on the road or not, unless a SORN has been declared on the vehicle. Information is cross-checked between the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and DVLA keeper records.

Since 2005 the police have had the power to seize uninsured vehicles and, in 2011, 140,000 vehicles were seized.

[For the full story, visit www.honestjohn.co.uk]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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21 Comments

  1. Funny – I was just about to include the SORN government licence for thievery onto a petition I am thinking of putting up re the new government brainstorm – aka lets cancel the tax disc so that johnny car-owner hasnt a leg to stand on if the computer says he doesnt have tax…
    Its embarrassing this government – its like crossing the Two Ronnies with the Carry On team – then cross breeding the result with Monty Python & giving the result (after its been dropped on its head a few times) £70k a year and carte blanche… There isnt a single area of endeavour that they havent cocked up monumentally (bar possibly their salaries)..

  2. And seriously – Robert Goodwill? I wonder how many times he did toast rack duty at Eton? With a name like that he should be a character in either a Flashman Novel or one of the less well known Roald Dahl ones – such as the deeply disturbing ‘Galloping Foxley’

  3. What with an insurance database, a tax disc database, and an MOT database, all online and available to PC Plod and the DVLA bloodhounds, why is there any need for SORN at all ?

  4. We need to completely reform the insurance system in this country. There is a whole generation that can’t aford to drive. A generation that won’t buy cars, support the parts or service industry.

    It will damage the economy in other ways. Since we are not willing to organise or pay for a proper public transport system. Insurance makes it even harder for young people to find work. There are jobs that young people can’t reach, because they can’t aford to drive.

    We should combine car tax with a third party insurance scheme. Simply ban whip lash claims. Tough luck if you really have, it has been too much abused, and introduce very harsh sentencing for gangs who commit fraud through deliberate crashes.

    The insurance companies can sell extras like fully comp, and everyone would be insured. It works in others countries, and means insurance is affordable for everyone.

  5. Many roads and motorways around the UK are grid-locked or working at max capacity for much of the time….and yet there is a whole generation out there who can’t afford to drive waiting to get on them???

  6. Personally to simplify the tax system, Id rather get rid of SORN and road tax altogether and just have a single tax on the fuel. That way you only pay for what you drive.

    higher polluting vehicles get taxed way more and would further encourage manufacturers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles and those with big Porsches and Ferraris pay more.

    if you just have your weekend car then you only pay for the miles you drive. Hauliers can get a tax discount at the pumps (if this is necessary).

    Best thing is, it can still be measured without intrusive electronic pay as you drive tracking systems.

    Driving license should go chip and pin however to confirm insurance records, medical issues, entitlements and endorsements to the relevant authorities.

    much simpler system.

  7. @2

    Jemma, please tell me how SORN is a benefit to anyone? If a car is taxed then it’ll show up on the database as taxed, if it isn’t, it won’t? Why have a 3rd category of “untaxed but with a form saying it’s untaxed”?

  8. Insure the person, not the vehicle – with restrictions where needed.

    Therefore a commuter driving a 75 with a 10 year no claims bonus will also cover their weekend MGF.

    I’ve taxed a car at the tax office before when I was still waiting for the insurance document, they ran a check on the MID and wrote my tax disc out there and then.

    The pieces of paper are superfluous in this day and age, especially when everything is held on database.

    My biggest concern is that ANPR will get a greenlight for an even wider rollout – big brother will literally be watching your movements.
    Could result in per-mile insurance / tax bills.

  9. Hey Keith, Isn’t that Alfasud some of the ‘foreign rubbish’ we don’t want to see at classic car shows! Is that the reason it’s kept in that tunnel on SORN?
    And Yeah Jemma, wacha goin on about!

  10. The civil servants and politicians who dream up schemes like SORN assume that people only own cars that are new or nearly new and that those cars are used the whole time. They have no conception of multiple vehicle ownership, restoration projects, cars kept for spares or merely just for nostalgic reasons. With the regular use of ANPR and everything on a database, surely SORN is just a job creation scheme.
    I understand that in Germany it’s possible to have your car registered for just part of the year and the number plate then show which months it’s valid.

  11. Insurance:

    When I worked in the state of Maine, the state automatically gave every driver basic 3rd party insurance with their registration fee, and then every year on payment of the sticker (tax disc).

    Why can’t we do that here?

    A big corporate I worked for self insure their own cars because they have the massive funds to pay out in the event of the worse happening.

    UK plc would certainly be able to self insure every car in the UK at virtually zero cost excepting maybe reinsuring some massive liability threshold (local authority/police vehicles are probably self insured).

    There would be no insurance policy, and thus no premium!

    That would be good news for everyone in society – but it would mean a loss of business for insurers… and loss of tax revenue from insurers. The government may therefore not like the idea so much…

  12. The government don’t give a toss about tax dodgers, it’s those who do pay that they want to bleed dry. 8 Months ago I reported a car that had been used with no tax for 6 months and SORN (225G+ £475), Reg EN06 HBU, a gold Peugeot 407 Coupe. The plod turned up, and the car was hidden off road, taxed, and then immediately cashed in. Still in use now, daily and driven by East Europeans working at Dalehead Foods, Fulney Lane,Spalding. MESSAGE TO YOU ALL: If you are foreign and you take the P*SS you can do whatever you like and endanger our families and children,you are exempt from tax and insurance. If you are born here and pay your dues, we will bother the life out of you if you keep a couple of old metro’s in your garage. I also reported a BMW on the same site that has been here for SIX, yes SIX years from Lithuania and its “MOT” from Lithuania expired SEVEN years ago.No action taken, bald tyres, broken windows, runs daily Peterborough to Spalding.
    MESSAGE TO YOU ALL: If you don’t want to pay tax or insurance, take a cheap flight to Lithuania, buy a sh*t car and drive it home. You are exempt from all UK rules and regulations.
    Forgot to to renew your SORN? £200 fine, no excuses, yes I bought an MGF of a bloke who fell foul of that one.
    UK law? only to punish the UK citizen who obeys the rules!

  13. Good to see SORN go but what are the powers that be doing about cloned (= copied numberplate off an identical model) cars – not having a tax disc will make that even easier to get away with.

  14. We have nothing like SORN in the USA states, in part as we have separate title documents as to ownership unlike the UK where it is part of your registration document. If you want to operate a car on the public roads, the owner must have it legally registered and if required in you state, your ‘car tax’ paid (usually based on the value of the car with some deductions)and minimum requirements of 3rd party insurance. Choose to take a car off the road, you can just decide to not renew the registration when due. If you have a car over 25 years old, you can get antique/class registration status at sometimes cheaper rates and low or no car taxes.
    Seems to me SORN is a PITA, a waste of bureaucratic time and good riddance.

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