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What does SORN mean? And what it means for fleet managers

Aug 23, 2019

Abiding by the correct rules if you run a fleet of vehicles is important. But did you know that if you use some of the rules correctly and efficiently, it can also be a good way to save your fleet money?

We take a look at what SORN means and how, when used in conjunction with your vehicle running policy, can be a way to reduce the costs of running your fleet if you have vehicles which are not currently being used on public roads.

What does SORN stand for?

SORN stands for Statutory Off-Road Notice. SORN is the way of informing the Driver and Vehicle License Agency (DVLA) that you are registering a vehicle as ‘off road’.

What is SORN used for?

There is a requirement for all vehicles used on public roads to be continuously insured. Vehicles used on public roads must also be taxed.

However, if you do not intend to use your vehicle on public roads and want to keep it only on private land (e.g. a garage) then you do not have to insure or tax your vehicle. This only applies however, if you have applied for SORN.

SORN is effectively a way of letting the relevant agencies know that your vehicle is not being used on public roads. When you have a SORN in place you do not need to tax or insure the vehicle.

When should you SORN your vehicles?

According to gov.uk website, you must SORN your vehicle (or vehicles if you run a fleet), in the following situations:

– Your vehicle is not taxed
– Your vehicle is not insured
– You buy/receive a vehicle and want to keep it on private land only
– If you own a vehicle and want to sell it for parts

It is important to remember that once a vehicle has been declared SORN it must not be used on public roads.

You can find out more about when you need to apply for SORN on the gov.uk website.

Are there penalties for not applying for SORN?

Yes, there are.

If you do not apply for a SORN then you could be facing a fine of £80.

In addition, there are fines for running an uninsured vehicle on public roads. These include a £100 fixed penalty fine all the way through to a court appearance and maximum fine of £1,000.

How do you apply for SORN?

SORN can be applied for via the DVLA. It can be applied for online, via phone or post.

If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you will only be able to apply for SORN via post.

You can choose to SORN your vehicle immediately. Or you can choose to SORN your vehicle from the 1st day of the following month.

How long does SORN last?

Once your vehicle has been declared as SORN it remains in place indefinitely. You do not need to renew a SORN declaration.

The only time you can drive a vehicle which has been declared SORN on a public road is to a pre-booked MOT appointment. Driving a vehicle which has been declared SORN on public roads in any other situation carries a maximum fine of £2,500.

When you want to drive your vehicle on public roads again, you will need to tax and insure the vehicle again. As well as ensuring that you have an up to date MOT in place.

How can using SORN correctly save your fleet money?

The benefits of SORN are that if you do not intend to use a vehicle on public roads and intend to keep it on private land, then you do not need to pay to tax or insure that vehicle.

Equally when you apply for SORN, you will be refunded any months of tax remaining on the vehicle.

If you are not using a vehicle but do not declare it as SORN you will still need to cover the costs of tax and insurance.

As a fleet manager, if you have vehicles not currently in use, being aware of SORN is important as managing your fleet efficiently is the key to reducing your running costs.

At Anthony Jones, we are specialists in arranging fleet insurance, whatever the size of your fleet. Likewise, we are well positioned to assist with your fleet management strategy. Our fleet team work hard to ensure that our fleet insurance customers get all of the cover that they need at the best possible price. Get in touch with us today on 020 8290 9099 or email us at commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com.

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