An MOT is a mandatory annual assessment of your vehicle to check that it meets the minimum standards for safety and emissions. The MOT test checks things such as brakes, lights emissions and structural integrity, it does not check the condition of your engine. But are you allowed to drive without an MOT?

It is estimated that 3.8 motorists, equal to one in ten, drove on the roads without a valid MOT in the past year.

So can you drive without an MOT?

The short answer is in most cases no you can not, it is considered an offence. However there is exceptions:

  • You have not received a dangerous defect on a failed MOT test, if this is the case you can not drive the car under any circumstances until repaired.
  • If you did not receive a dangerous defect, you can drive without an MOT as long as you are only going to a prebooked repair or retest. 
police car pulling over car with no mot

What happens if you get caught without mot?

If authorities catch you driving without an MOT and you don’t meet the specified criteria, then they can take the following actions.

  • The police have the authority to stop you if they identify your number plate.
  • In most cases you will be given a fixed penalty notice of £100, but this can go up to £1000. 
  • If you drive with a failed MOT that noted a dangerous defect the fine can go up to £2500. 
  • You could face three points on your license. 
  • In extreme cases, the police may seize the vehicle. 

But what about the grace period for MOT?

There is a common misconception that you have until two weeks after your MOT expires before it becomes an offense. There is no grace period for a MOT, once the expiry date on your certificate has passed you are committing an offense by driving it on the road. The police do not recognize an MOT grace period.

Insurance without an MOT

Apart from the legal aspect you also need to consider your insurance if you think about driving without an MOT. You are leaving yourself vulnerable if you do this as most policies will not cover you if you get into an accident without a valid MOT certificate. This could leave you open to a huge financial cost if the worst happens. 

It is also worth considering that insurance companies do not look favorably at you if you have motoring convictions on your record. If you are caught and convicted for driving without a valid MOT certificate you can expect your premiums to increase when it comes time to renew. 

Can you insure a car without an MOT?

Most insurers require a valid MOT certificate before letting you open a policy. Without an up to date MOT you will struggle to find many that will insure you and you should expect to pay a higher premium. Driving without insurance carries huge risks, and is not worth it!

You can read more about how an MOT affects your insurance here

How long is an MOT valid for?

An MOT certificate is generally valid for one year. However if you take the test up to one month (minus a day) from the expiry date you can preserve your expiry date, effectively making it last 13 months. 

For example, if your MOT is due to expire on October 15th, you can take the test on September 16th and the expiry date will still be for October 15th the next year. 

Don’t leave it until the last minute to book your MOT as you run the risk of being unable to use your car for everyday use if it takes a long time to get the repairs done. 

When does a new car need an MOT?

Car that are three years old or newer do not require an MOT. However an MOT test must be carried out once three years have passed after the registration date. 

Can you qualify for an MOT exemption?

Yes, in some cases it is possible to be exempt from needing an MOT test. If you have what is considered a historic car then you may be exempt from needing an MOT. You can claim exemption if you meet the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was manufactured or initially registered over 40 years ago.
  • No significant alterations have been performed on the vehicle in the past 30 years, such as replacing the chassis, body, axles, or engine that would alter its functionality.

Please note that exemption from MOT for a historic vehicle does not remove your obligation to keep the car in roadworthy condition. If you are found to be driving a historic car with a dangerous defect you are still at risk of receiving a £2500 fine and points on your license if caught. 

You can request an exemption on the DVLA website

Safety concerns

Another thing to take into account is the safety concerns of driving without an MOT. If you have failed an MOT it means a mechanic has looked at your vehicle and determined it is not road worthy to be driven on public roads. Ethically it is not right to drive the vehicle in this condition as you are not only putting yourself at risk but you are putting members of the public at risk too

MOT Reminder

The DVLA MOT Reminder, a useful tool, will send you a reminder about your upcoming MOT due date. Once you sign up, you’ll get a reminder one month before your car, motorcycle, or van’s MOT is due.

How do check if I have a valid MOT?

You can find your MOT expiry date printed on your most recent pass certificate. Alternatively, use our MOT History Check tool to find out quickly.

Find out more about MOT’s

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