The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Is my classic car eligible for MOT and road tax exemption? The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Is my classic car eligible for MOT and road tax exemption?
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Is my classic car eligible for MOT and road tax exemption?


You may have heard about the MOT and road tax perks of owning a classic car, but you might be unsure whether you can benefit from them. By the end of this article, you’ll know whether or not you’re eligible for MOT and road tax exemption, and how to declare your classic car as exempt.

Here at Lancaster Classic Car Insurance, we’re passionate about vintage motors and fully support tax and MOT exemption for vehicles of a certain age.

As much as anything else, it gives classic car owners more money to play with to maintain their pride and joys. Plus, the modern MOT is no longer relevant to many older cars.

Some people have called for classic cars to have an annual safety check instead of an MOT, but the Department for Transport have resisted such calls stating: “Those owners who feel an annual check is needed will be able to submit their vehicles for a voluntary MOT.”

From a car insurance point of view, no matter what the law says regarding an MOT, policies still require cars to be in a roadworthy condition as part of the policy terms.

Anyway, let’s get down to it. Starting with road tax exemption.


Road tax exemption

A Morris Minor Convertible

During the Budget back in 2014, the Government announced the introduction of a 40-year exemption of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for classic vehicles.

It meant the Historic Vehicle taxation class was a ‘rolling’ system once again, meaning that a vehicle that’s 40 or more years old can be reclassified as ‘historic’ and eligible for free car tax (VED).

In this instance, it applies to the vehicle’s production date rather than the date of first registration – an important point to bear in mind if you can prove that your particular car sat unregistered for a year or two before hitting the road for the first time.

If you’re not sure when your vehicle was built, but it was first registered before 8th January 1979, you can still apply to stop paying vehicle tax.

The rolling system updates occur each April. For example, April 2019 saw all vehicles built prior to 1 January 1979 become eligible for Historic Vehicle car tax.

If your classic car is eligible to be reclassified as a Historic Vehicle, go to Section 7 of your V5C and complete the Tax Class section, altering it to ‘Historic’.

Then sign and date the bottom of that page and take your V5C along to a VED-issuing Post Office, complete with your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11), if you have one, an MOT certificate that’s valid when the tax starts, or evidence if your vehicle’s exempt from an MOT (V112), and an insurance certificate or cover note (only in Northern Ireland).

The Post Office will issue your car tax free of charge (as a Historic Vehicle) and will send your V5C to the DVLA.

You’ll then receive a replacement V5C in the post, plus a cheque for any unexpired (previously paid for) VED. If your vehicle is 40+ years-old, you must still go through the taxation process each year, either at a Post Office or online.

Your vehicle will not be exempt from vehicle tax if it’s used for hire or reward (for example, it’s used as a taxi for paying customers) or it’s used commercially for a trade or business.


MOT exemption

A classic Aston Martin

The rules around MOT exemption are a bit more complicated.

Back in May 2018, the Government said that cars 40 years and older will no longer have to undergo their annual roadworthiness check, known to most as an MOT, bringing them in line with the VED rules.

The new rolling system replaced existing rules which said that vehicles must have been built or first registered before 1960 to qualify for exemption.

But before you declare your vehicle as MOT exempt, you need to consider the small print.

Have you made significant modifications or alterations – ‘substantial change’ – to the vehicle over the last few years? If so, ‘substantial change’ in the past 30 years.

Full guidelines around what is classed as a substantial change to ‘vehicles of historical interest’ (VHI) have been provided by Gov.UK. However, vehicles may not be MOT exempt if the following things have been drastically altered within the last 30 years:


·         Chassis, including any sub-frames

·         Axles and running gear, including the type of steering or suspension

·         Engines, such as changes to the number of cylinders present.


You should refer to the full guidance document for more detailed information.

If you believe your classic car should be exempt from having to pass an MOT, you must complete a V112 form, which can be found online or at your local Post Office.

This form’s full name is the ‘Declaration of exemption from MOT’ and you must complete one for each classic vehicle you own.

If it has been substantially changed, an MOT certificate will be required for its use on public roads, even if the vehicle has previously not required an MOT.

If your vehicle does not have a current MOT and is exempt from needing one, you will need to declare this each time you apply for VED exemption.

Even if your vehicle is covered by the MOT exemption rules, you’ll still need to carry out regular and thorough checks to ensure its roadworthiness. These include, but aren’t limited to:


·         Brake performance

·         Fluid levels (engine oil, brake fluid etc.)

·         Tyres and tyre treads

·         Lights and bulbs

·         Windscreens and windscreen wipers


Classic car insurance

Lancaster Insurance is the classic car insurance broker of choice for owners of 96,000 vehicles. Over 40% of all MGBs and over 30% of all Land Rover 88s and MG Midgets have their insurance arranged by Lancaster. Insurance premiums start at just £70.48 for private cars.

Like you, Lancaster is passionate about classic vehicles. Drawing on the recommendations from our panel of specialist underwriters, we will search for the best classic car insurance for your cherished antique motor.

Get your quote today!



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