Does no MOT mean no cover?

We have had our 1982 Moto Guzzi Spada insured with the same company for the past 10 years or so. Since 2011 the bike has not been on the road, so it has been registered SORN and of course the MOT has lapsed. At renewal time I asked the insurers if there was a specific policy to cover bikes not being ridden. I was told, very clearly, that the bike had not been insured for the last few years because we hadn’t informed them it was SORN. The broker also said it wouldn’t be insured if there wasn’t a valid MOT certificate. I asked where in the policy documents this was stated and all they could say was, “if there were any material changes”. Is this normal? If the bike hasn’t been insured, I’d like our money back.

Heather Codling, email

 

Answered by; Christian Evitt, Carole Nash Insurance

 Most insurance policies have a clause that the vehicle must be ‘roadworthy’. However, any prospective claim for a SORNed bike would only be for fire or theft and I think the insurer would find it difficult to reject that claim. The assessor might look to lower the value in the absence of an MOT certificate. But if you had reasonably current photos to show its condition you’d be able to negotiate a fair valuation. If they did reject it, I think the Ombudsman would uphold your appeal.

When a customer with a fully comp policy tells us the bike is going SORN we generally drop the level of cover to third party, fire and theft. I’d always advise anybody when shopping around for cover to discuss their plans over the whole 12 months, whether it’s changing your bike, looking to go multi-bike or SORNing, so you can get the cover tailored for you.