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How to SORN a motorbike: does it affect your insurance?

What does SORN mean?

SORN stands for Statutory Off-Road Notification, and it’s used when a motorcycle, car or other vehicle is taken off the public highway, saving you the cost of taxing it. It’s basically a marker that the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) puts against the record of any registered vehicle to prevent the generation of automated fines.

Do I need to SORN my motorcycle?

It’s important to understand that when you declare SORN, the bike has to be fully off the road – that means you can’t leave it parked on the street; it has to be on private property even when it’s not moving.

A motorcycle can be ridden on private land while SORN, but that does NOT include green lanes and byways; while often referred to as ‘off-road’, these routes are still part of the public highway, so tax and insurance are compulsory.

What is the fine for not declaring a bike SORN?

The DVLA has a record of all registered vehicles and the status of their tax, but the potential fines vary depending on what you’ve done…

Being the registered keeper of an untaxed vehicle

If the DVLA’s database identifies that you haven’t paid tax (or declared SORN) when it’s due, you could be fined £80 (reduced to £40 if paid in 28 days).

Using or keeping an untaxed vehicle without SORN

If your untaxed vehicle is seen (e.g. by a roadside or police car mounted ANPR camera), you will receive an Out of Court settlement for £30 plus one and a half times the outstanding tax rate. If you don’t pay, it becomes a criminal offence and the fine will be £1,000 or five times the outstanding tax, whichever is greater.

Using or keeping an untaxed vehicle with SORN on the public road

If you’ve declared SORN and your bike or car is seen on the road, you’ll initially receive an Out of Court Settlement letter for £30 plus twice the outstanding tax. If you don’t pay that, it may become a criminal offence and you’ll face a penalty of £2,500 or five times the amount of tax payable (whichever is greater).

How do you SORN a motorbike?

It’s very easy to apply for SORN, and it’s FREE, so be very wary of companies that offer to take you through the process. You can apply by phone or by post, but the most immediate method is online via

You can apply at any time using the 11-digit number on your bike or car’s log book (V5C), but don’t do this until it’s off the road as the process is immediate. You’ll receive a cheque from the DVLA for any full months of remaining road tax.

Alternatively, you can use the 16-digit number on your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11) to put the bike onto SORN, but in this case it’ll take effect from the first day of the next month.

If you don’t have a V5C, you can apply for one through the DVLA at or by phone and this will cost you £25.

How much does it cost to SORN a bike?

It is FREE to declare a vehicle SORN using the government website, so be wary of sites that don’t start with

How long does SORN last?

Since 16 December 2013, a SORN declaration doesn’t expire, so once you’ve done it, all you have to remember is to tax it when you want to use it again.

Is my Motorcycle insured when it’s SORN?

Yes, Bennetts motorcycle insurance policy holders continue to be insured while their bike is declared SORN as insurance and tax are not connected.

However, it is a legal requirement to have tax when any vehicle is on the road, so don’t forget to get this in place before you ride as you could face a hefty fine if you don’t.

Do I need to tell my insurer when I put my motorbike on SORN?

You don’t need to tell Bennetts if you put your bike on SORN, so those working on project bikes for instance can save the cost of taxing them – and delay getting an MOT – but still maintain cover ready for when you take it for testing. And of course, you’ll be covered for fire and theft if you have this cover in place.

Would my insurance be void if I rode a bike without tax or on SORN?

While it isn’t a condition of your Bennetts motorcycle insurance contract to have road tax, and therefore wouldn’t void a policy if you were riding, it is a requirement to have tax when any vehicle is on the road, and you could face a hefty fine if you ride while untaxed or declared as SORN. Other brokers will have their own rules, so non-Bennetts customers should check with their insurer.

How do I check if a motorbike is SORN?

You can check if any vehicle is taxed or declared SORN, as well as check if it has a valid MOT by entering the registration at

You can also check if your own vehicle is insured at, though if you want to check a vehicle that isn’t yours – for instance after an accident – you can do that for a small fee at

How do I take a Motorcycle off SORN and tax it?

Taxing your bike when you no longer want it to be SORN is easy using the government website at However, you’ll need the V5C, as well as an MOT and valid insurance. If you don’t have a V5C, you can apply for one through the DVLA at or by phone, and this will cost you £25.

How do I MOT a SORN Motorcycle?

You can legally ride a Motorcycle (or drive a car) to a pre-booked MOT while it’s on SORN. You MUST be insured to take it there though, so if – for instance – you maintain your policy on a SORN project bike you’re working on, it will remain insured for theft, and you won’t have to reorganise cover when it’s time to ride it to the test centre.

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