If your campervan or motorhome is laid up for months at a time, such as over the winter, it may be time to consider applying for Statutory Off-Road Notification, commonly known as SORN. Even though this will be a cost-effective option for many campervan owners, there are still implications that should be considered before taking this route.
Registering for SORN is common in the UK, where in March 2020 there were 526,747 declarations alone. Given how common this process is, we explain everything you need to know about registering and taking your campervan off the road (SORN). This includes MOT and insurance requirements, as well as where the vehicle must be kept during this period.
What Does SORN Mean?
For road users who may be unfamiliar with taking their vehicles off of roads, SORN stands for ‘Statutory Off-Road Notification’ and this process is handled by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
SORN describes when a vehicle owner notifies the government that they have taken their vehicle off public roads. During this time, you won’t have to tax your vehicle or pay for insurance.
When a vehicle is laid up (SORN), whether a campervan or motorhome, it will not be allowed on public roads and cannot be parked in the street. Before you can legally SORN a campervan, it will need to be laid up on a private driveway or garage.
How Do I SORN My Campervan?
Registering for a SORN is a straightforward process, handled via the DVLA. This can be achieved in one of three ways:
- Contact the DVLA via 0300 123 4321
Before registering your campervan for a SORN, you will need to have to hand certain items of information about the vehicle.
✓ The 16-digit number from your V11 (which is a reminder about vehicle tax issued by the government)
✓ Your VC5 11-digit reference number for the vehicle (or your logbook)
Why Should I SORN My Campervan?
The main reason why people choose to SORN their vehicles is to save money on road tax. It also might make sense to SORN your camper if you know you won’t be using it for a significant period of time, such as during the winter or if you’re renovating it.
Commonly, camper owners decide to register their vehicle with a SORN for one of the following reasons:
✓if they don’t plan on driving over the winter
✓if the vehicle is in the garage for repairs or restorations
✓if the driver is recovering from an injury and can’t drive for several months
✓if they will be travelling abroad for a long period, without taking their campervan
✓if they have a temporary driving ban
✓if a change in financial circumstances means they cannot afford to keep their camper on the road permanently
Regardless of the reason, if you make the decision to SORN your camper, you need to be aware of the legal implications involve. This means drivers are legally prohibited from using public roads, even for parking.
Should I Lay-up My Camper During the Winter?
Driving a campervan or motorhome during winter does not appeal to everyone. And so, registering to SORN a campervan is a practical way to save money on tax when your vehicle is inactive.
For some, winter touring in a campervan can seem impractical or even risky without the right preparation, especially if your vehicle hasn’t been winterised. From challenging driving conditions to trying to keep one warm, you might decide that driving a camper in the winter is not right for you.
Where Can I Keep a Laid-Up Campervan?
By laying-up your campervan, you have declared to the DVLA that you will not be using it to drive on UK roads. As a result, your camper needs to be stored off the road.
Suitable places to keep a campervan or motorhome that has been laid-up, include:
- in a garage
- on a private drive
- on private land
- in a private parking location
- in a private storage facility
Unfortunately, if the only place you can keep your campervan or motorhome is parked on a public road, then you cannot legally SORN it.
Does a SORN Campervan Need Insurance?
After arranging to SORN your campervan because you won’t be driving it, you legally do not need insurance for it.
However, if you cancel your campervan insurance, this does mean it will not be protected against any damage. While in storage, your camper could still be affected by:
- vandalism or accidental damage
- weather damage
For this reason, many experts recommend keeping an insurance policy in place to protect your campervan, even when it’s off the road.
It’s also worth knowing that some camper and motorhome storage facilities will stipulate how vehicles need insurance cover to use their services. Be sure to check their terms and conditions if you do choose this option.
Do I Need to Arrange an MOT for a Laid-Up Camper?
An MOT remains valid while a vehicle is laid up; however, if it runs out while your camper is off the road, you will need to arrange an MOT before it can be taxed and driven again.
You are legally allowed to drive any SORN vehicle on UK roads if you are travelling to a pre-booked MOT appointment. If you are stopped by the police while driving, you will likely be asked to give the appointment details, so that the police can verify your MOT booking with the garage.
How to Cancel a SORN for a Campervan
A SORN will be automatically cancelled as soon as you arrange to tax your campervan or motorhome, or if you sell it and the registered keeper changes.
Whether or not you choose to SORN your campervan, it’s important to ensure it’s fully protected at all times with an insurance policy that works for you.
While it might be beneficial to save money on road tax by laying up your camper, cancelling insurance can end up costing you a lot more if damage occurs whilst it’s in storage.