Research indicates that classic vehicle owners could be breaking the law if they do not have the correct paperwork in place when taking their cars off the road.

Footman James

According to a recent survey by specialist classic car and motorcycle insurance broker Footman James, up to 35 per cent of classic vehicle owners could risk breaking the law if they haven’t applied for a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) when their pride and joy is off the road.

Footman James warns that owners could be breaking the law if they do not have the correct paperwork in place.  They could also be putting their classic at risk if they do not have adequate insurance cover should the unexpected happen.

The survey, of over 3,500 classic vehicle owners, was conducted last November and included visitors to the Footman James Classic Motor Show.

Andy Fairchild, Footman James’ managing director, said: “It is noteworthy that such a high percentage of those surveyed do not obtain a SORN for their vehicle when it is off the road.  We hope, that in these circumstances, the owners are retaining their existing on-road insurance policy particularly if they are only planning to take their pride and joy off the road for a few months as otherwise they are in danger of breaking the law!

“A staggering eight per cent of those surveyed don’t know what action they should take when they take their car off the road, so it is essential they understand and follow the correct procedure.”

Laid-up insurance could be another alternative way of providing adequate cover for any vehicle that’s not due to go anywhere under its own steam for some time.  However, Footman James reminds enthusiasts that they still need to complete a SORN, surrender their tax disc and re-apply for a new one at a later date.

Under the continuous insurance ruling it is an offence to own a vehicle without having valid motor insurance – this includes while a vehicle is off the road undergoing restoration or repair works.

The government is clamping down on uninsured and untaxed vehicles, and has a motor insurance database – a nationwide bureau to cross-reference car registrations with insurance details, to which the police have immediate access.  This means that a car stored away without SORN or valid tax disc is detectable.