Demystifying Car Tax, Insurance, MOTs, SORN and Services: A Complete Guide for Car Owners

Congratulations on getting your first car and embracing the joys of the open road! Along with the excitement, it’s important to understand the responsibilities of owning a car to keep it roadworthy and compliant with the law. From managing car tax and insurance to scheduling MOTs and understanding SORN, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide to car owner responsibilities.

Taxing Times

Car tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty, is a levy imposed on most vehicles driven or parked on public roads. The amount you pay depends on factors like your vehicle’s emissions, fuel type, and age. Be aware that older cars with larger engines may have higher tax costs, so it’s worth checking before purchasing and it is better to use the help pf someone like  Cash For Cars Canberra. Recent changes require you to tax your car before driving it, and you can conveniently pay online, at a post office, or by phone. You have the option to pay for a full year, six months in advance, or set up a monthly direct debit here. Tax Your Vehicle

Car Insurance

Having car insurance is a legal requirement to drive on public roads. You can choose from different levels of cover, from ‘Third Party’ to ‘Fully Comprehensive’. For more information, please find our Blog, a Guide to Car Insurance for Women. Guide to Car Insurance For Women It’s crucial to have your car insured before driving it for the first time, so do your research well in advance. Insurance premiums can vary significantly depending on the car, and cheaper cars don’t necessarily mean a more inexpensive insurance policy. Whether a car is expensive to insure or not is also dependent on how many of them have been crashed! For example, popular first time buyer cars tend to be the most crashed cars and as a result, tend to be expensive to insure. Another factor is how attractive it is to thieves, check out the list of the most stolen cars in the UK to get an idea of cars that might cost you more than expected. What Car’s Most Stolen Vehicles Most insurers will offer you to pay in instalments, but it is imperative that you keep your payments up or your insurance could be cancelled. You’ll also need to make sure your insurer is kept up to date with all your details. Not just so they can remind you when it is time to renew but also to ensure you remain covered if your circumstances change. 

MOT (Ministry of Transport) Tests

An MOT test is an annual safety and emissions inspection for vehicles aged three years and older. It checks whether your car meets certain safety tests, like the breaks, lights and seatbelts all work properly. You can book this in with a dedicated MOT tester, they will not do any repairs, but you are safe in the knowledge they will not carry out any needless work. If you have a mechanic, they might be able to perform the MOT, or they can take it to a test centre for you. If your vehicle fails the test, you must get it repaired and retested before the expiration date. MOTs are now online for public record, and if you are looking at a second-hand vehicle, you can check the history and any work that has recently been completed. The mileage of cars can also be checked here as this has to be disclosed on MOT certificates. You can also check for Advisories; these are issues with the car that did not make it fail the most recent MOT, but will need to be fixed before the next one. Make sure you have the budget to cover the works, if you are looking a such a vehicle. It is also worth remembering that having an MOT does not mean that the car works as the test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox or even if it runs! Check MOT

Servicing Your Vehicle

While servicing your car is not a legal requirement, regular servicing ensures it runs smoothly and allows for early problem detection.  It is also usually stated in your Certificate of Insurance that the policyholder needs to keep their car in a road worthy condition so if you are not going to carry out basic maintenance, such as oil changes, fluid top-ups, and tire checks (driving with excessively worn tires can result in penalty points on your license), you will need to find a mechanic that will keep your car in good condition and road legal.

SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)

If you have a vehicle that isn’t being used and is kept on private land, you can save money by declaring it off-road through a SORN. This exempts you from paying car tax and maintaining insurance for that vehicle. You must make a SORN if your vehicle is untaxed and will be kept off the road for an extended period. Applying for a SORN is easy and can be done online, by phone, or by mail. Keep your SORN up to date to avoid fines or penalties.

Keeping up with car insurance, MOT, tax, and servicing may seem like a lot of administrative work, but once you establish a routine, it becomes manageable. Set reminders for your MOT and expect your insurer to reach out when it’s time to renew your policy. Remember to make timely payments and contact them if you encounter any difficulties. By staying organised, you can relax and enjoy the freedom of the open road owning your own car brings.

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