Should I SORN my vehicles?
During this period of interruption, many of our clients’ vehicles may not be in use and, as such, we are likely to be able to negotiate reducing cover to a Laid-Up basis with insurers. However, there are several things you should consider when deciding whether or not to SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) your vehicles and take them ‘off the road’ and therefore stop taxing and insuring them:
- It is a legal requirement to have a minimum of Third Party insurance cover on all registered vehicles and, as such, Laid-Up cover can only be considered for vehicles that have been SORN
- Where are the vehicles going to be kept whilst SORN? They cannot be left on the road or a driveway. Vehicles must be kept in an enclosed or locked compound or building
- Who is in control of the vehicles? If they are kept in the employer’s premises and the employer holds the keys, then it is safe to assume that the vehicle will not be used under any circumstances. However, where an employee retains the vehicle in their own garage, there is a risk of the vehicle being used in an emergency situation without the employee considering the insurance cover that applies. This could end up with the driver receiving a fine and an IN10 conviction, and the employer receiving a fine under the MID and being liable for any costs should an incident occur
- Once SORN, when the vehicle is required again, whilst it may appear a straightforward exercise to re-register a vehicle and reinstate Comprehensive Insurance Cover, there are rules that apply. It is therefore vital that you check the situation that will apply to you before taking the SORN option. For example, according to the strict letter of the law, commercial vehicles cannot be just re-taxed as they need to be inspected beforehand, and whilst inspection for vehicles that have been on the road continuously has been relaxed, if a vehicle is put on the road “new”, the inspection has not been relaxed so in theory they cannot legally just be put back on the road
For this reason, many operators have decided not to SORN their vehicles during this period of interruption as they want to be able to put them back on the road as soon as it is practical for their business to do so, and do not want to wait for what could be a lengthy process of having their vehicles inspected before being able to use them again.
Some operators believe that VOSA will not enforce the re-inspection of a returning vehicle and, whilst this may make sense given the circumstances, the rule has not been officially relaxed and therefore we should assume that they will enforce the rules. Naturally, some insurers are more generous in their reductions in premiums for Laid-Up cover than others, so it is always worth checking with them first.