Is my car insurance valid without an MOT?

Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and you could end up with a big fine if caught. But how does it affect your car insurance? Read our guide to find out why an expired MOT certificate could invalidate your insurance.

Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and you could end up with a big fine if caught. But how does it affect your car insurance? Read our guide to find out why an expired MOT certificate could invalidate your insurance.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 22 APRIL 2021

Is my car insurance still valid if my MOT expires?

It might be, but it’s very unlikely. The short answer is that it depends on your policy. Most insurance providers include having a valid MOT certificate as a condition of your car insurance policy. So, in most cases your insurance will be invalidated if you drive without an MOT and that means you’ll be breaking the law twice: first by driving without a valid MOT and second for driving without valid insurance.

If your car-insurance policy doesn’t include having a valid MOT as a condition of cover, then it gets a little more complicated. Car insurance is normally only valid if your car is roadworthy. That means it is fit and safe to drive. Technically, having a MOT only proves that your car was roadworthy at the time it was tested. And, in the same vein, not having a valid MOT doesn’t necessarily mean that your car isn’t roadworthy – you may have simply forgot to take it in for the test. So, the question of whether your insurance will be valid depends on if the car was roadworthy when you drove it. To be on the safe side, it’s always best to have an MOT.

Can I claim on my car insurance if I don’t have an MOT?

Again, it varies depending on your insurance provider. If having a valid MOT certificate is a requirement of your policy – which it often is – then your insurance will be invalidated, and you won’t be able to make a claim. You’ll have to pay for any repairs to your car and you’ll be responsible for any damage to other cars too. Plus, if you’re in an accident or pulled over, the police can charge you for driving without valid insurance, and an expired MOT.

If having an MOT isn’t a condition of your policy, then it will be up to the assessor that handles your claim to decide if your car was roadworthy at the time of the claim. To make that decision, they’ll have to conduct a more thorough investigation to gather evidence about the state of the car. At the very least this is likely to make the claims process longer and more complicated.

Even if your insurance provider decides that your car was roadworthy and your insurance is valid, you’ll probably get a lower pay-out if your car is written off or stolen. That’s because your car will automatically drop in value if it doesn’t have a valid MOT.  

What if I’m involved in an accident with another driver without a valid MOT?

If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and it turns out the other car involved doesn’t have a valid MOT, then your insurance provider may still be able to claim damages through the other driver’s car insurance. It’s going to be trickier if their policy is invalidated by not having an MOT, but it would be inappropriate for their insurance provider to refuse to pay out for third-party damage in this case.   
Find out what to do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver

What happens if I drive without a valid MOT?

It’s illegal to drive a car without a current valid MOT. If the police catch you, they can fine you up to £1,000.    
Don’t assume the police are unlikely to catch you in the act. Automatic number-plate recognition cameras are common in police cars and on the roadside. They can run your registration through the national database and immediately tell if your car doesn't have a valid MOT certificate or you haven’t paid your road tax.  
During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government temporarily deferred MOTs. If your MOT certificate expired between 30 March and 31 July 2020, it was automatically extended for six months. That provision has now expired and you’ll be expected to get your MOT as normal, up to a month before your current MOT certificate expires.    
Read our guide to how coronavirus is affecting motoring in the UK

Are there any times when you don’t need an MOT? 

You’ll only be able to legally drive your car without an MOT if: 

  • your car is less than three years old and hasn’t had an MOT test previously – although be aware that this concession doesn’t apply to every car model.  
  • you’re driving the car to a pre-booked MOT test – but you’ll need proof of the booking if you’re stopped.  
    If you’re not sure when your MOT expires, you can check your registration number on the government’s database. If you want, they can sign you up for text or email reminders.  
    We can help too. Signed in customers can set up an MOT reminder so you never forget again. 

Can I drive my car to get its MOT without insurance?

You need valid car insurance to drive your car, even if it’s just to a pre-booked MOT appointment and back. You could face a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driving licence if you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive. In the worst-case scenario, your car could be seized and you could be disqualified from driving. So, it’s definitely not worth the risk.

Because of a rule known as continuous insurance enforcement your car must be insured at all times, even when you’re not driving it. The only exception is if you’ve applied for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to declare your car as officially off the road, and you’ve parked it on private property. In this case you won’t need a valid MOT certificate, and you won’t need to have insurance or pay road tax.

As soon as you want to remove the SORN and drive your car again you’ll need to pay road tax, have valid insurance in place and renew your MOT certificate, if expired. If your annual car insurance policy has expired and you don’t want to commit to another before you know whether the car will pass its MOT, you could get temporary car insurance.

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