When Is It Legal to Drive Without an MOT?

It’s almost always illegal to drive without an MOT.

The penalties for driving without an MOT include:

  • A fine of up to £1,000.
  • Your car could get impounded.
  • Up to eight points on your licence.

Also, if you’re involved in an accident while driving without an MOT, it could impact on your car insurance claim.

Why are the laws so strict when it comes to MOTs?

It’s because an MOT confirms that your car is safe – for you, and for other road users. Without an MOT, there’s no guarantee that your car’s roadworthy. So driving without an MOT is risky at best, and dangerous at worst.

But there are some rare cases when it’s legal to drive without an MOT.

When Is It Legal to Drive Without an MOT?

The only times it’s legal to drive without an MOT are:

  • When you’re driving your car to a prearranged MOT appointment.
  • When you’re driving to or from a garage for repairs.
  • Your car is less than three years old (most brand new cars won’t need one until then)
  • Your car is exempt from MOTs (e.g. classic cars built or registered before 1980)

If you’re driving a brand new car, you won’t need an MOT immediately. Most vehicles don’t need an MOT until the third anniversary of their original registration.

So is your car less than three years old? Then you won’t need an MOT until the end of those first three years. After this you’ll have to get an MOT once a year – and always on or just before the anniversary of your last MOT. So, for example, if you get your first MOT on the 15th November 2022, your next MOT will be due on or before the 15th November 2023. You need to ensure your car passes its next MOT before your current MOT expires.

Some “classic cars” are also exempt from getting an MOT. You can read our complete guide to the MOT rules for classic cars.

Do You Get 14 Days’ Grace For an MOT?

No. Some people think that there’s a 14 days’ grace period for MOTs. The idea is that, once your MOT’s expired, you have 14 days to get a new one. This is an urban myth. It’s simply not true. The fact is, it’s illegal to drive your car from the moment your MOT’s expired.

That is, unless you’re driving it to a prearranged MOT appointment.

So don’t wait until your MOT’s expired before you get a new one. Arrange to get a new MOT before your deadline.

What Happens If an MOT is Overdue?

The DVLA does not routinely issue formal reminders when MOTs expire. So if your MOT is overdue, it’s unlikely that anything will happen straightaway. However, if you try and drive your car without first getting an MOT, you’ll probably get into a lot of trouble.

The DVLA now has a database of all cars registered in the UK. Police regularly monitor roads with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems. These cameras can tell police instantly if you’re driving without an MOT. So if your MOT’s overdue, and you decide to risk driving, it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re caught.

And once you’re caught, you’ll face a £1,000 fine and up to eight points on your licence. It’s simply not worth the risk!

If you can’t remember when your next MOT’s due, you can check your MOT details for free on the government’s website.

If you’re a new driver and get six points on your licence in the first two years of driving, you’ll lose your licence. So you cannot afford to get found driving without a valid MOT. Find out more about our new driver car insurance and how our comprehensive policy is designed with you in mind.


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