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Driving Without an MOT: Penalties and Insurance

Driving without an MOT is a surprisingly common yet illegal practice on UK roads. According to the SMMT, a third of motorists have driven without a valid MOT, and some have done so for as long as six months.

Maybe these motorists just kept putting it off. Or maybe they thought that they’d never get caught, and that the law didn’t apply to them.

There’s also the common misconception among many motorists that the DVLA will issue a formal reminder when your MOT is about to expire, like they do with car tax. Unfortunately they do not. If you’re a regular customer, your garage might make a point of reminding you that you’re due a service. Yet not all garages do this, so it’s often up to the driver or the owner of the car to keep on top of MOT renewals. You can check your MOT date for free at https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-status

In any case, driving without an MOT is a serious offence that comes with serious penalties.

When is it OK to Drive Without an MOT?

There are only two scenarios in which you won’t be penalised for driving without an MOT.

The first is if you’re driving a car that’s less than three years old. The majority of vehicles don’t need an MOT until the third anniversary of their registration. If your car is more than three years old, an MOT is required once a year, on the anniversary of your last MOT.

The only other scenario in which you won’t be penalised for driving without an MOT is if you’re driving your car to a prearranged MOT appointment, or to or from a garage for repairs.

Other than that, driving without an MOT carries heavy penalties, and it can even invalidate your car insurance.

Driving Without an MOT – Why is an MOT so Important?

An MOT test essentially confirms whether your car meets the existing road safety and environmental standards. So if your car doesn’t have an MOT, its roadworthiness may be in doubt. The law will view you as a risk to other motorists and will penalise you accordingly.

What are the penalties for driving without a valid MOT?

If you are found to be driving without a valid MOT, you could be subject to:

  • Fines of up to £1,000
  • Your car might be impounded
  • You could even get penalty points on your license if it’s found to be in need of repairs

What’s more, if you’re involved in an incident while driving without an MOT, a hefty fine might be the least of your worries.

Driving Without an MOT May Affect Your Car Insurance

Driving without an MOT won’t automatically invalidate your car insurance. But driving without an MOT will give your insurance company a perfectly good reason not to honour a claim for any accident, injury, damage or loss if you cannot produce a valid MOT certificate. So if you’re involved in an incident while driving without a MOT, you might be required to pay for all necessary repairs on top of your existing fine and have increased insurance premiums to pay in the future.

Don’t Take the Risk

You might think that you’ll be fine driving without an MOT so long as you’re not caught.

But you will be caught.

The DVLA database will recognise that your MOT has expired. Your registration details will then be passed onto the police’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system. If the police don’t catch you, then a static traffic camera certainly will.

Driving without an MOT simply isn’t worth the risk.