Is car insurance valid without an MOT?

5 minute read

Mechanic with torch under the bonnet of an elevated car

Whilst it’s not uncommon for an MOT to lapse, continuing to drive a vehicle without a valid MOT is illegal and can have very serious consequences. Aside from any safety issues, you can also invalidate your car insurance and face large financial penalties.

In this article, we’ll explore the rules around MOTs and the relationship between car insurance and MOT requirements.

What is an MOT?

An MOT is an annual inspection of your vehicle that is carried out by an authorised Vehicle Testing Station (VTS). During the test, your vehicle will be checked against numerous criteria to make sure it meets the legal environmental and road safety standards.

Can I drive without an MOT? Are there any exceptions?

In the UK, it is illegal to drive your car without a valid MOT unless:

  • you’re driving it to a pre-booked MOT test. It’s important to note that if you’re stopped and questioned by the police on route, you’ll need to provide proof of the booking.
  • your car is under three years old and hasn’t been for an MOT up to that point. This rule only applies to certain models, so do check your paperwork for details.
  • also, if your car has had an MOT in the first three years since it was registered, you’ll need to continue testing it annually on that same date going forward.

Please note that in the above instances, you must still have car insurance in place. We’ll go on to discuss this in more detail below.

If you’re stopped by the police and don’t have a valid MOT in place, and the above exceptions don’t apply, you can be fined up to £1,000.

Cameras with automatic number plate recognition are also in place on many roads and in police vehicles. This technology can assess your details against a national database and tell immediately if your vehicle has a valid MOT or tax in place.

Is car insurance valid without an MOT?

In most cases, no. It does, however, depend on your policy and what you’re claiming for.

For most car insurance providers, having a valid MOT is a requirement specified in your agreement. As such, if you drive without an MOT, you will invalidate your insurance and you’ll be breaking the law twice (once for driving without an MOT and another time for driving without insurance).

Can I drive without insurance to my MOT test?

No, you must always have car insurance in place to drive a car (even if it’s only temporary to get you to a test).

If you’re caught without car insurance whilst driving, you could face a fixed fine and six penalty points on your licence. In more serious cases, the fines are unlimited and you could have your car seized or be disqualified from driving. That’s why it’s important to schedule your MOT on time each year to ensure that it, and your insurance, remain valid.

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

Your ability to claim insurance without a valid MOT, as always, depends on your policy and provider. If having an MOT was outlined in your agreement as a requirement, and you drive without one, you could be voiding your insurance. As a result, any claims you make would be unsuccessful and you’ll be left to pay for your damages (and any other cars’) too. You may also be charged by the police for driving without valid insurance or an MOT.

What happens if you're involved in an incident with a driver who doesn't have a valid MOT?

If you’re involved in an incident that wasn’t your fault and the other car hasn’t got a valid MOT, the other driver’s insurance should pay third-party damages. This isn’t guaranteed though, especially if the driver invalidated their policy by not having their MOT.

In the event that the other driver’s insurer does refuse to pay, you can seek damages from the driver responsible or contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) to see if you can apply for compensation here.


Do I need an MOT or insurance if my car is off the road or I’m not using it?

If you have a vehicle that’s currently off the road, you need to officially declare it to the DVLA and apply for a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). If you don’t apply for this, and you haven’t taxed or insured your vehicle, you’ll be automatically fined £80 for not having a SORN. You’ll also face a fine for having an insured vehicle.

SORN vehicles don’t need an MOT or insurance. You must keep them on private property though, such as a driveway or garage. If you see a SORN vehicle on a public road (for any other reason than to go to a pre-booked MOT or alternative test), you could be fined up to £2,500 and face court prosecution.

How do I check if my MOT is still valid?

If you’d like to check the status of your car’s MOT or tax, you can enter your registration number (number plate) on the government’s online tool. This tool will also allow you to set an annual reminder for your MOT test should you want one.

As this article shows, having a valid MOT in place for a vehicle is key for many reasons. But it’s not only the paperwork you’ll need to keep in order. Read our guide on everything you need to know about vehicle tax and insurance to explore the ins and outs of taxing a vehicle.

To find out more about our comprehensive car insurance cover, Get a quote today.