The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Can you backdate car insurance?

It’s easy to forget about your car insurance, but what happens if you suddenly realise it needed renewing last week? We find out if you can backdate your policy and what might happen if it does slip your mind.

Can you backdate your car insurance?

No, you can’t backdate your car insurance, and this is not something insurance providers will knowingly do.

In the UK, cars must be continuously insured if you’re driving on public roads. The only exception is if you have a statutory off road notification (SORN).

Asking to backdate your policy indicates your car has not been continuously insured, which is against the law.

What’s more, driving without insurance is considered a ‘strict liability offence’. This means there doesn’t have to be any criminal intent for the act to be considered illegal. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you did it on purpose or not, the fact you didn’t have insurance is enough to make you guilty of the crime.

Penalties for driving without car insurance

Driving without suitable car insurance could mean you’re given a £300 fine and have six penalty points added to your licence. If your case is heard in court, you could get an unlimited fine or even be disqualified from driving.

In some cases, your car could also be destroyed.

What is SORN?

If you’re not driving your car, you’ll need to arrange a statutory off road notification or SORN for short. If you’ve taxed your car for the year, you’ll get a refund for any remaining full months.

You can apply online at GOV.UK, make a SORN, or telephone the DVLA on 0300 123 4321(this is a 24-hour service). You can also send your application for a SORN by post by filling in form V890 and sending it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

Do I need car insurance if my car has a SORN?

You don’t need to insure your car if it has a SORN in place; it’s the only time your car can be uninsured.

Nevertheless, you can buy laid up car insurance which covers your car while it is not being used (it’s sometimes called SORN insurance). This covers costs if your car is damaged or stolen while it’s off the road.

You don’t need laid up cover by law but if something happens to your car while it is being stored with a SORN, you’d be responsible for any repair costs.

Can car insurance have a future start date?

Yes, you can buy car insurance before your existing policy ends. You can normally buy your new policy a month before your existing plan comes to an end.

What usually happens is that your new policy will start as soon as the old one expires. For example, one policy may end at 23:59 on the 22nd of the month and the new one will begin at 00:00 on the 23rd.

Can I pause my car insurance?

Generally, no, you won’t be able to pause and restart your policy in any given year. But if you only use your car for a few months, you could consider temporary car insurance instead. These policies are more flexible, and you’ll be able to buy cover for just a few days, weeks or months.

If you’ve got a classic car or sports car that you only use in the summer, your insurer may offer a specialist policy that also takes seasonal driving into account.

Can I transfer my car insurance policy to a new car?

Yes, if you buy a new car and your insurance is still active, you can ask your insurer to update your policy details to cover your new vehicle.

Bear in mind that your policy price could increase, and you’ll be asked to cover that cost straightaway. Whether it does will depend on the type of car you buy, for instance, you can expect your premium to increase if your new car is more powerful or is significantly more expensive.

When is the best time to renew my car insurance?

Your current insurer normally lets you know a month before your policy is due to end, typically by email but it could be by letter. This window is the best time to start looking at new policies as it gives you breathing space to thoroughly compare what’s on offer and make a decision without feeling rushed. It’s also when you’re most likely to get the most competitively priced deals.

Leaving renewal to the last minute could mean you see a spike in premiums as insurers know that your policy is about to run out.

Compare great value car insurance

If you’re looking to keep car insurance costs down, we’ve put together tips, advice and guides to help you do that. Or, if you know what you’re looking for, and simply want to compare what’s out there, you can do that too.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

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