With the UK in a state of lockdown in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, people from every corner of the country are now restricted to their homes; unable to see family members and friends or go about their daily lives.
This means that the vast majority of the UK’s 32.5 million passenger cars are currently off the road and are expected to sit gathering dust in garages and on driveways for the foreseeable future.
As some motorists wonder when they’ll next be getting behind the wheel, many are unsure what’s required of them when it comes to their car, particularly when it comes to paying their insurance.
With that in mind, what are the Do’s and Don’ts with your motor during the COVID-19 pandemic?
DO pay your car insurance
Regardless of how long the lockdown lasts, motorists will still have to pay their car insurance – even if the vehicle doesn’t move an inch for months on end.
This is because restrictions of movement don’t exclude people from using their cars for essential travel, such as commuting to work or heading to the supermarket, so the opportunity to drive is there for them should they need it.
Insurance policies can be renewed online as usual, and most providers remain contactable through the normal channels. However, we always recommend you compare car insurance quotes when the time comes to renew as switching is often cheaper.
Those who don’t wish to keep their car insured have the option to register their vehicle as off the road [SORN]. This can be done by getting in touch with the DVLA, who will ask the applicant to provide the day that they want the removal of their vehicle to come into effect.
DON’T worry about your MOT
Drivers whose MOT expired on or after 30th March 2020 will not have to do anything to extend it as the vehicle will be given an automatic six-month exemption, saving you a trip to an MOT garage.
This will extend the expiry date of your current MOT by this length of time. For example, a car that’s MOT was due to expire on 3rd April 2020 will automatically have it extended to 3rd October 2020. The driver will then have to get their MOT by this date.
Your MOT history can be checked online to see when the exemption was issued. It may not be updated immediately, so you might need to keep checking back.
For drivers whose first MOT is due, an automatic six-month exemption will be imposed.
DO ask your car provider about payment holidays
Many people who have bought a car on finance or with a personal loan will be worried that they won’t be able to keep up with the payments if they suddenly find themselves out of work.
Vehicle manufacturers over the UK are throwing a lifeline to these customers by offering them payment holidays, which could see payments being put on hold for a period of up to three months.
While it is still early days, many car companies are investigating the practicalities of introducing this form of financial relief. Motorists who are on a payment plan are therefore encouraged to contact their provider to see if this opportunity is open to them. If this is an option, be sure to find out how it would affect your credit score.
DON’T neglect your vehicle’s health and safety
It is essential that motorists ensure that their vehicle is kept roadworthy, and it is important to bear in mind that it could be unsafe despite having had the MOT expiry date extended.
Standard checks like monitoring tyre pressure and checking the lights and brakes are in working order should be carried out regularly, even if you have no intention of driving.
People caught driving a car that’s in a dangerous condition could find themselves paying a fine of up to £2,500, receive three penalty points on their licence, or be banned.
If you find that your vehicle does need any repairs, you still have the option of taking it to your local garage to be fixed, as the government has allowed them to remain open.
As a driver, it’s important to remember that during this time you may need to use your car in an emergency and should, therefore, stay on top of their vehicle’s health.
These are undoubtedly very difficult days for millions of people all around the UK, and it’s easy to forget to do important things with so much on our minds.
By sticking to the advice outlined above drivers can save themselves a lot of hassle in the long run and will be afforded a little peace of mind at a time when it is much needed.