If you've got an uninsured vehicle you are breaking the law whether you drive it or not, under rules that will be enforced from today. The only exception is for those who declare their motor off-road.
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme makes it an offence to keep an active, uninsured vehicle. Under the previous law, you only needed insurance if you were driving.
The new law came into effect last month but the Government declared an amnesty until today, to give drivers the chance to get insured.
The aim of the new rule is to cut down on the number of uninsured vehicles, which currently stands at 1.4 million. It'll allow the Government to use databases to match-up owners with insured vehicles.
Cars, motorbikes and motor homes must be now continually insured. A lapse of even a few days could see you falling foul – meaning it's no longer possible to remain uninsured while in hospital or on holiday.
If the owner fails to insure a vehicle they could be given a £100 fine. If it remains uninsured, the vehicle could be clamped, seized or destroyed.
The law will apply in England, Scotland and Wales but not in Northern Ireland.
If you have a vehicle you do not drive, the only way to avoid paying insurance is with a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (Sorn), declaring your vehicle is not in use.
Don't simply auto-renew
You could end up paying far too much if you simply allow insurers to auto-renew your cover just to avoid breaking the law.
Instead, a few minutes' work in advance can cut costs by hundreds of pounds a year as new customers tend to get far cheaper insurance premiums.
Figures from the AA show the average car insurance premium at £1,416, though this falls to £892 for those who shop around before buying.
How do I declare a vehicle Sorn?
To do this, see the Direct.gov website.
To fulfil these requirements, your vehicle must be kept off the road.
What counts as off-road?
Typically, off-road means garages and driveways. It does not apply to simply leaving your car parked on the side of the road.
Any part of a public road, including grass verges and ground adjoining the road, is deemed on-road.
The DVLA says you should contact your local authority if you have any doubt.
Anyone who has not used their vehicle and not had it taxed since the Sorn regulations came into force in January 1998 is also exempt from buying insurance, if they don't drive the vehicle.
What if there's a mistake?
If you receive a letter stating that your car is uninsured, but you're certain it is, you should contact your insurer to make sure they have your correct and most up-to-date details. Your insurer will pass this information onto the Motor Insurance Database (MID), which keeps a list of all insured vehicles.
You can check your car is insured for free on its website.
What if you sell your car?
You should notify the DVLA immediately of the exact date of sale or transfer using the registration document or certificate. You will receive a letter of acknowledgment within four weeks.