The dangers of driving without an MOT

The dangers of driving without an MOT

It’s very easy to ignore those calendar reminders that it’s time for the annual car MOT and put it off for another day.

But those that do not only risk a large fine, they would also invalidate their car insurance, so that if they have a crash, they’d have to pay for repairs, or possibly even a written off car, themselves.

It’s not worth the risk

Driving without an up-to-date MOT certificate for your car isn’t to be taken lightly. Many drivers think it’s something they don’t have to worry about too much and that having it done even a few months after the expiry date is fine.

Recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show how common an attitude this is with a third of car owners admitting to having driven a car without a valid MOT certificate.

Almost 70% did so for up to a week before taking their vehicle to an MOT testing centre, while 24% waited a month and 7% more than six months. A minority, 2%, allowed their MOT to lapse by more than half a year.

What are the rules?

Many people are genuinely unaware of the rules when it comes to MOTs, so it’s worth understanding the consequences of not keeping yours valid and up-to-date.

Rules relating to MOTs and driving your vehicle:

  • You’re only allowed to drive your car when its MOT has expired if you’ve booked an MOT and are driving to the test centre.
  • If you’re stopped by the police on the way, you’ll have to be able to prove that you have an appointment.
  • If your car fails its MOT, you can only drive it if the previous year’s MOT is still valid (i.e. the test took place on a date earlier than last year’s).
  • If your vehicle is deemed ‘un-roadworthy’ the above doesn’t apply and you can’t drive it.
  • MOTs can be done anytime within the 12 month period before the existing MOT expires.
  • Retesting should be free if the necessary repair work has been carried out and the re-test completed within 10 working days of the original MOT test.
  • Exemptions – The following vehicles are exempt from VAT rules: Tractors, goods vehicles that run on electricity, vehicles less than 3 years old and cars and motorbikes made before 1960.
  • Fines – A fine of up to £1,000 can be levied, and a vehicle possibly impounded if it’s found to have an invalid MOT certificate.

The bottom line is that if your MOT is out of date and you’re involved in a crash, your insurer may declare your cover to be invalid, leaving you to pay the costs of repairing your car.

In other words, driving without a valid MOT carries a great deal of financial risks, and could cost you a small fortune in fines and repairs.

Even worse, you could suffer extreme emotional distress or life-long guilt if a faulty vehicle you owned injured or killed someone after going wrong on the road.

Policy Expert

The customer service team at Policy Expert is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 16 January 2015

Receive £25

When you refer a friend to our home or car insurance

Refer now