We recently came across a story from a frustrated motorhome owner.
He had been storing his motorhome off-road, on his own property, with no intention of taking it out on the roads. His motorhome was not insured as he was not using it, he had not renewed the tax either on the basis that in his eyes the vehicle was ‘off the road’.
Many motorhome owners will have found themselves in a similar position to this; motorhomes are fairly seasonal things. It is not unusual for a motorhome to go unused for several months at a time.
Despite all this, he still received a fine of £100.
He failed to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA.
Since June 2011, there has been a law in place called the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) law, which states that it is illegal to possess a vehicle without insurance unless the DVLA has been informed via an SORN.
Even if you are storing the vehicle on private property or in secure storage, without a SORN you will find yourself on the wrong side of the law. This includes cars, vans, motorbikes, motorhomes; any road registered vehicle must abide by these rules.
This law is policed using the Motor Insurance Database, set up five years ago to tackle the issue of uninsured vehicles, insurance fraud and as a way of cutting the costs of insurance premiums. Every year insurance companies are faced with inflated or bogus compensation claims, which has had a knock on effect on the price of premiums.
Rather than having to be caught red handed behind the wheel, or your untaxed vehicle being spotted parked up in public by an eagle eyed observer, the Motor Insurance Database will issue an alert once the insurance for a vehicle has expired.
Once this alert has flagged up, you will be sent a letter warning you that you will be punished unless you officially declare your vehicle as off the road (or purchase a 3rd party insurance policy). Failing to act on the first letter will result in a second letter containing a £100 fine and reiterating what was said in the first. Failure to pay this fine can land you in court, and could even result in your vehicle being impounded or destroyed.
To make sure you do not find yourself on the wrong side of the Motor Insurance Database, you can register your motorhome as SORN here.
All you need is the 16 digit number on the last letter you received about vehicle tax (V11) or the 11 digit number on your vehicle’s log book (V5C). You can also call the DVLA on 0300 1234321 if you have any further questions.