If I am renovating my car, can I still insure it?
Even though your car is off the road, it could still be stolen, or damaged, perhaps by fire. However; perhaps your usual insurance has expired. What can you do to protect it, without spending a fortune?
Firstly: is the car definitely off the road?
As you probably know already, if you don't have a current insurance policy on the vehicle then you are obliged to make a SORN declaration. The car can only get back on the road legally if it is roadworthy, and covered by at least third party car insurance.
So how do I insure the car itself?
If you're keeping the car laid up, you may want to take out a different type of insurance policy than your typical car insurance one. This is because when you're restoring a car, it's likely that it won't be on the road for a while, and it may not even be in a drivable condition. So: why pay for the risk of your car being damaged, or a claim being made against you, for a road traffic accident, if you won't be taking it on the road for some time?
In the UK, one of the most common type of insurance for restored cars is laid-up insurance. This type of insurance policy is specifically designed for vehicles that are off the road and not being driven. This type of policy may cover your car against fire, theft, and damage whilst it's being restored, repaired or stored; but it won't cover you for any accidents or damage that may occur whilst you're driving it.
These policies can be purchased for periods ranging from about 30 days up to a year, depending on your needs. They are often cheaper than a standard car insurance policy, since they only cover the car when it's off the road. The cost of the policy will depend on the value of the car, how long you need the policy for, and the level of cover you need.
There is a very important caveat!
It's important to note that if you plan to drive the car at any point during the restoration process, you will have to take out a different type of insurance policy, such as temporary (or short-term) insurance. This is because there is no third party cover included with most laid-up vehicle policies, without which it would be illegal to drive it on a public highway. If you did need to drive it, perhaps for a road test, you would need to buy either a conventional insurance policy, or a short term one. Temporary insurance policies can be purchased for periods ranging from just a few hours up to a few weeks or months, depending on your needs.
Can I road test a car if it doesn't have an MOT?
Do also bear in mind that if you have no MOT certificate for it (if it needs one) and road test it, you could still be committing an offence even if it is insured. A car that needs an MOT can only go on the road, legally, for a drive to a pre-booked MOT test at an approved centre.
Is this insurance easy to buy?
Taking out laid-up car insurance for a vehicle that you're restoring is fairly simple; and you may find that your regular insurer can provide it. If not, most specialist car insurance brokers can probably get some quotes for you.
You'll need to provide the insurer with some information about it, such as it's make, model, and year of manufacture. The insurer may also ask for information about the car's condition and any modifications that have been made to it. The more information you can provide about the car, the more accurately the insurer will be able to assess the level of risk involved and provide you with a fair quote for your insurance policy.
In conclusion ...
Yes, policies for laid-up cars do exists and they are usually a fair bit cheaper than a policy which allows you to drive on the road. You probaby won't find one on a price comparison site (they are a little too rare for that) but a good car insurance broker should certainly be able to help.