How to SORN your motorcycle

If you don't use your motorbike all year round and it gets stored away for winter, you might think you don't have to insure it while you're not riding.

While that's technically true, it's a little more complicated than that.

Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules

In 2011, CIE rules came into place, stating that every vehicle must either be taxed and insured, or declared as off the road with the DVLA.

These changes were brought about to cut the number of uninsured vehicle owners on the road and, in turn, reduce insurance premium costs for all.

The changes have caused a reduction in insurance premiums by 40 per cent since 2008 however, the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) still has to send out around 60,000 Insurance Advisory Letters (IAL) each month.

I don't use my motorbike so I don't want to insure it

If you don't use your motorbike all year round and maybe take advantage of short term insurance policies, you may think you don't need to worry about your bike when it's not insured.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. Whenever your motorbike isn't insured or taxed, it must be declared off the road with the DVLA with a SORN notice.

There's no way around it -- them's the rules!

What is a SORN?

A SORN is a Statutory Off Road Notice that you receive from the DVLA when you inform them that you wish to take your motorbike off the road.

You need a SORN if you are storing your motorbike and not insuring or taxing it, as thousands of UK riders do over the winter months.

How do I SORN my motorbike?

To inform the DVLA that your motorbike is off the road, you need to either:

  • Complete a V890 application and post it to the DVLA.
  • Complete the process online.

There is no cost for a SORN but to make sure that you stay on the right side of the law, it's a process that will need to be completed each time your motorbike is without insurance, tax, or both.

What you need to SORN your motorbike?

  • 16 digit reference number from your tax renewal letter or V11 form.
  • 11 digit reference number on your log book or V5C.

How long does a SORN last for?

A SORN lasts for 12 months from application and is cancelled when you tax your motorbike again.

This is an automatic process so there's no fuss but don't forget that once your bike is taxed again and therefore deemed back on the road, you will also need to make sure it's insured.

Is it worth getting an annual insurance policy?

It's worth remembering that a SORN is a free service and the only hassle comes in re-taxing your vehicle -- once you've declared your motorbike off the road, of course.

If you only ride for six months of the year, you can get six month insurance policies. You can also choose to pay your vehicle tax every six months, although there is a five per cent surcharge if you choose to do this.

You can then SORN your vehicle for the six months of the year when your motorbike sits in the garage.

The biggest worry if you do this is that your motorbike is not insured against Fire and Theft.

As well as that risk, there is also the added expense of short term insurance policies, which are generally more expensive per month than an annual policy.

So do I insure annually or SORN it?

Annual insurance means you don't have any headaches or fuss when it comes to declaring your motorbike off the road because you don't have to (unless your vehicle isn't taxed).

It also gives you cover against fire and theft all year round and gives you the option of getting on your bike when the weather and mood takes you.

However, there is one other option, and that's a SORN insurance policy which provides Fire and Theft cover.

If you're realistic about the time you spend riding in winter and you never go out over winter, this is probably the best option.

We'd never advise leaving your motorbike completely uninsured against Fire and Theft but it's worth weighing up the costs before making your decision.

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