a car being ticketed by a traffic police

Can You Park Your Uninsured Car on the Road in the UK?

December 14, 2023

If you live in the UK and you have a driver’s licence, you’ll likely already know that car insurance is non-negotiable if you want to take your car out onto the road. But what about leaving a parked - uninsured - car on the road? Whether you’re not insured due to financial difficulties or you’re simply taking a break from driving due to medical reasons, you might be wondering: can I park my car on the road without insurance UK? While it might seem impractical, UK law stipulates that you do still need to pay for a car, even if it’s sitting or parked on a public road. Let’s take a look at why this is.

The Legal Requirement for Car Insurance

As we mentioned above, in the UK it’s considered a legal requirement to have car insurance if your vehicle is used on public roads; this law is in place to ensure that all drivers can cover the costs of any damage or injuries caused to third parties in the event of an accident.

This law is also part of the continuous insurance enforcement policy in the UK aimed at reducing the number of uninsured drivers; this helps protect other drivers from getting into accidents with an uninsured vehicle, which can be a complicated and lengthy legal process.

Parking an Uninsured Car on the Road

Legal Standing of Parked Uninsured Cars

So, what about parked cars? In short, parking an uninsured car on any public road in the UK is illegal, as the law requires that any vehicle kept on public roads must be insured. While this law might seem counterproductive, it does make sense; even stationary vehicles can pose risks or be involved in incidents, especially when parked in areas with high traffic volume.

Implications for Uninsured Vehicles

So, what happens if your vehicle is found to be uninsured while parked on a public road? Generally, you could face significant penalties, and these could include a fixed penalty notice, clamping, seizing of your vehicle, and in some cases, destruction of the vehicle. The police in the UK use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems to identify uninsured vehicles, so it’s never worth risking it.

Exceptions and Permitted Circumstances

There are very few exceptions to this rule, and one notable exception is if your vehicle has been officially declared off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Once a vehicle is SORNed, it cannot be kept or used on public roads, but it also does not need to be insured. SORN is typically used for vehicles that are not in use for extended periods.

Insurance Consequences of Parking an Uninsured Car

car parked on the side of the road receiving a ticket

The legal implications aside, the consequences of parking an uninsured vehicle on a public road can also be severe; in addition to the already fines and the potential impounding of your vehicle, being caught without insurance can lead to increased insurance premiums in the future. And in severe cases - for example, if you were parked in an unsafe area and caused a collision - you could even face court prosecution, which may result in a driving ban and even larger fines.

Practical Tips and Advice

So, to avoid any legal issues, always ensure that your vehicle is insured if it’s parked on a public road. If you do not intend to use your vehicle, consider obtaining a SORN and storing it off the road. In situations where your insurance has lapsed, avoid parking on public roads until new insurance is in place - if you have one, store your car in the garage in your home.

And for those involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, your best option is to seek legal advice: in some cases, you may be entitled to a like for like replacement vehicle while your car is being repaired, so ensures that you’re not left without a vehicle due to someone else’s failure to insure their car.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, parking an uninsured car in the UK is not only illegal but can also lead to significant legal, financial, and insurance-related repercussions, so always ensure your car is insured if it’s going to be parked on a public road. And if your car is out of use, keep it in a private garage or register it as off the road until you decide to use it again.


Can I temporarily park my uninsured car on the road?

No! Even temporary parking of an uninsured vehicle on a public road is illegal in the UK. You must have valid insurance at all times when your vehicle is on a public road.

What should I do if my car insurance has expired?

If your car insurance has expired, do not park or drive your car on public roads, and arrange for new insurance coverage immediately or obtain a SORN and store the vehicle off-road.

Does a SORNed vehicle need to be insured?

No, a vehicle with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) does not need to be insured, however it must not be kept or used on public roads.