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Temporary MOT exemption – motor insurance implications

In order for people to carry on with essential travel during the coronavirus lockdown, the government last week granted vehicle owners a six-month exemption from MOT testing.

Drivers of cars, vans and motorcycles whose MOT expired on or after 30 March 2020 will get an automatic six-month extension, meaning the earliest they would need to arrange an MOT would be 30 September 2020. The exemption includes brand-new vehicles, which will get a six-month extension from the date their first MOT would have been due.

MOT sign

Motorists will not receive any form of exemption certificate but will be able to see the current MOT status of their vehicle using the government’s online MOT checker. When the six-month extension has been applied, motorists will be able to renew their vehicle tax as normal.

There is also a separate three-month exemption that is applicable to lorries, trailers and buses, which are exempt from requiring an MOT as of 21 March 2020. However, owners of these vehicles may need to apply directly for the exemption, depending on the vehicle. Find out more about the exemption for lorries, trailers and buses here:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers

Announcing the MOT exemption, the Department for Transport said:

 

“All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from March 30, 2020.

“Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.”

As it is a condition of motor insurance that vehicles should have a valid MOT, there has been some concern that the government’s exemption may cause problems for vehicle owners – particularly businesses that are still providing essential services.

However, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) offered some reassurance, saying:

“Our members tell us that the insurer response to the decision to extend MOTs on vehicles is very positive. We expected there to be no implications, as long as vehicles remain roadworthy and motorists are not ignoring obvious safety issues.

“Motor insurance demands that any vehicle which requires one must have a valid MOT; however, most insurers are saying that absence of an MOT certificate in itself will not invalidate the cover.”

However, BIBA did stress that the vehicle in question will likely be expected to have a valid MOT certificate prior to the government’s announcement on 25 March 2020 and that motor insurers may reserve the right to seek their own satisfaction that the insured vehicle was roadworthy.

Mark Taylor, Client Service Director at BHIB, said:

 

“We have had considerable interest from our clients following the Ministry of Transport’s announcement.

“This has been extremely well received. Insurers are prepared to continue to provide cover as previously, providing our clients continue to ensure that the vehicles are kept in a roadworthy condition and remain safeguarded”.