How to SORN a Vehicle in the UK

A Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is a legal requirement in the UK for any vehicle that is kept off the public roads. Whether you’re storing your car in a garage, driveway, or on private land, declaring a SORN means you won’t have to pay vehicle tax or standard car insurance. However, it also means you cannot drive the vehicle on public roads until it is re-taxed. This guide will walk you through the process of applying for a SORN, ensuring you understand each step and its implications.

You might also find this post useful: What Is SORN Insurance and do you need It?

Why You Might Need a SORN

There are several reasons why you might want to declare a SORN:

  • Seasonal Use: If you own a classic car or motorcycle that you only use in the summer.
  • Repairs: When your vehicle is undergoing long-term repairs or restoration.
  • Ownership Change: If you’ve inherited a vehicle or bought one that you don’t plan to use immediately.
  • Cost Savings: To save on tax and insurance if you don’t need to use your vehicle for a period.
When to Apply for a SORN

The timing of your SORN application can affect when it starts:

  • Immediate Start: If your vehicle tax has expired or you’re applying after the tax has already expired, the SORN will start immediately.
  • First Day of Next Month: If you apply within the month that your vehicle tax is due to expire, the SORN will start on the first day of the following month.
Information Required

To apply for a SORN, you will need specific information depending on the method you choose. This includes:

  • V5C (Log Book): The 11-digit reference number from your vehicle log book.
  • V11 Reminder: The 16-digit reference number from your vehicle tax reminder (V11), which could be a letter, email, or text message.
  • New Purchase: If you’ve just bought the vehicle and don’t have a full log book yet, you can use the reference number from the V5C/2.
Methods of Applying for a SORN

There are three main ways to apply for a SORN:

  1. Online
  2. By Phone
  3. By Post
  1. Online Application

Applying for a SORN online is the quickest and most convenient method. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Visit the DVLA Website: Go to the official government website ( and navigate to the SORN application page.
  2. Provide Details: Enter the required information – the 11-digit number from your V5C or the 16-digit number from your V11.
  3. Confirm Application: Follow the prompts to complete the application. Ensure all information is correct before submission.

Your SORN will be effective immediately if your vehicle tax has expired. If applying in the month the tax expires, it will start on the first day of the next month.

  1. By Phone

You can also apply for a SORN by calling the DVLA. The phone service is available 24 hours a day. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Dial 0300 123 4321: Call the DVLA vehicle service number.
  2. Provide Necessary Details: Have your V5C or V11 reference number ready. The automated system will guide you through the process.
  3. Confirmation: Once the details are provided and confirmed, your SORN will be processed.

Calls are charged at your standard rate, so be aware of any costs associated with the call.

  1. By Post

For those who prefer traditional methods, applying by post is also an option. Follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a V890 Form: Download and print the V890 form from the DVLA website, or request one by post.
  2. Fill in the Form: Complete the form with the required details, including the reference number from your V5C or V11.
  3. Send to DVLA: Mail the completed form to:

DVLA Address:

DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR

If applying for the SORN to start in a future month, include a letter explaining why you can’t send the form nearer the time.

Address Changes and No Log Book Situations

If your address is incorrect on your log book (V5C), you must update it before applying for a SORN. You can change your address online or by post:

  • Online: Update your address through the DVLA website.
  • By Post: Write your new address in the appropriate section of your log book and send it with your completed V890 form to the DVLA.

If the vehicle is not registered in your name or you do not have a log book, additional steps are required:

  • Not Registered in Your Name: Fill in the relevant part of the log book and send it with a completed V890 form.
  • No Log Book: Apply for a new log book (V62) along with your V890 form. This costs £25. You can also get a duplicate log book if the original is lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed.
Costs and Refunds

Applying for a SORN is free. However, if you use the phone service, normal call charges apply. Once your SORN is active, you will receive a refund for any full months of vehicle tax that remain.

Validity and Transfer

A SORN lasts indefinitely as long as the vehicle remains off the road. There’s no need to renew or update it unless circumstances change. However, a SORN does not transfer to a new owner. If the vehicle changes hands and the new owner wishes to keep it off the road, they must apply for a new SORN.

Implications of a SORN

While a SORN saves you money on tax and insurance, it means you cannot drive or park the vehicle on public roads. Ensure your vehicle is securely stored on private land. If you decide to use the vehicle again, you must re-tax and insure it before taking it back on the road.

Do I Need to Insure a SORN Vehicle?

Once you have declared your vehicle as off the road with a SORN, you are not legally required to insure it. However, there are several benefits to maintaining some level of coverage:

Benefits of Insuring a SORN Vehicle

  1. Protection Against Theft: Even off the road, your vehicle can be targeted by thieves. Comprehensive insurance covers theft, ensuring financial protection.
  2. Fire Damage Coverage: Stored vehicles are still at risk of fire damage. Insurance can cover repair or replacement costs if your vehicle is damaged by fire.
  3. Vandalism Protection: Vandalism can occur whether your vehicle is on the road or stored. Insurance helps cover repair costs from such damage.
  4. Natural Disasters: Floods, storms, and other natural events can cause significant damage to a stored vehicle. Comprehensive insurance often covers these incidents.
  5. Resale Value: Insurance maintains your vehicle’s value by covering repair costs for any damages incurred while off the road.
  6. Damage from Other Vehicles: If stored in a shared space, your vehicle might be accidentally damaged by others. Insurance can cover these repair costs.
  7. Investment Protection: For classic or valuable vehicles, maintaining insurance is crucial to protect your investment.
  8. Reduced Insurance Rates: At Insurance Cloud we offer laid-up policies for SORN vehicles, providing necessary protection at a lower cost since the vehicle is not being driven. Click the link to compare cost effective cover for your vehicle.

While insurance is not legally required for a SORN vehicle, the protection it offers against various risks makes it a wise consideration.

How to SORN a Vehicle

Declaring a SORN is a simple process that saves you money when your vehicle is not in use. You can apply online, by phone, or by post, using the appropriate reference numbers from your vehicle documents. Although insurance is not mandatory for a SORN vehicle, maintaining it offers significant benefits and protection. By following these guidelines, you can manage your vehicle’s off-road status effectively while safeguarding your investment.

Does your car need Sorn Insurance? Get multiple quotes and compare rates from different insurers with Insurance Cloud. Click the link to compare Sorn Insurance quotes instantly.

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