Car ownership advice

Coronavirus: I’m self-isolating but my car’s MOT is due. What can I do?

We speak with the DVSA to see how upcoming MOT expiries will be affected by the current coronavirus situation.

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UPDATE: The government has now announced that all cars, vans and motorcycles will be given a six-month exemption from MOT exemption from 30 March 2020. For the latest information, click here.

With the Government issuing advice for those with any symptoms of coronavirus to stay at home, many of us will see otherwise trivial chunks of our life affected unexpectedly.

Of course, it’s advice that should be followed, but it’s natural to be concerned about its effects. One of those we’re looking to answer today is for those whose vehicle MOT certificate may be on the brink of expiring.

The PA news agency has spoken with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to see what options motorists who are self-isolating have if their vehicle’s MOT certificate is expiring soon, and how centre closures could have an impact going forward.

My MOT is due but I’m self-isolating, what are my options?

As it stands, no special provisions are being made by the DVSA to exempt vehicles due MOTs for those self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means you will need to make arrangements to have your vehicle tested if you want or need to keep it on the road.

This could mean insuring a driver you trust with the vehicle and asking them to take it to and from the test centre. It may also be possible for the centre to organise delivery and collection, so we’d recommend putting the call in.

If the vehicle is parked off the street and on private property, it’s advised by the DVSA to declare the vehicle off the road (SORN). This means tax will not need to be paid on the vehicle, nor it will it require an MOT. That said, it legally cannot be used on public roads when declared SORN — which you should keep in mind if your vehicle is street parked.

If it’s possible to SORN the vehicle and store it legally, it may be worth taking this option and arranging an MOT for after your coronavirus isolation period.

Declaring your vehicle SORN is advised if you’re able to legally store it off the road. (PA)

Will I be penalised if my vehicle doesn’t have a valid MOT while I’m self-isolating?

As no provisions for MOT exemptions have been made as of yet, failing to MOT a vehicle will leave you at risk of a fine of up to £1,000 if it is not declared off the road, or is caught driving on public roads without. Legally, your car may only be on the road without an MOT certificate if you are driving directly to an MOT test centre to have the test done.

Your car insurance will also probably be void if you don’t have a valid MOT certificate, so you won’t be covered in the event of an accident. This may apply even if the car is parked on private property.

If MOT centres are ordered to shut and my vehicle’s certificate expires, what can I do?

The DVSA currently has “no provisions” for centres that may be advised or forced to close pending further government communications on the coronavirus pandemic, or simply a lack of available staff, but says the situation is “constantly under review”. Given that this is fairly unhelpful advice for anyone who relies on their car, it’s important for you to take action to make sure you stay legal.

If your vehicle is due an MOT soon and you are able to arrange for it to be taken/to from the centre or are still able yourself, we’d recommend doing that as soon as possible. This will help in case MOT centres are advised or ordered to close in the future.

It’s worth noting that your vehicle can be put through an MOT test up to one calendar month prior to its existing certificate expiring. So check your expiry date and book your car in for its MOT inspection as soon as possible.

Ryan Hirons
Ryan Hirons
Articles by Ryan Hirons are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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