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MOT failure insurance – is it worthwhile?

Did you know that around a third of cars fail the annual MOT first time? For anyone who anxiously dreads the expense and inconvenience of a fail, it’s a fact that makes bleak reading.

Without your car on the road, you could find yourself unable to get to work or to see family and friends. But getting your car fixed to pass its MOT can be expensive. MOT Failure Insurance can buy you peace of mind that the financial cost of getting your car back on the road is covered. But do you really need it? We look at what can go wrong and what insurance covers so you can decide for yourself.

First, what is an MOT?

The MOT is a test that checks that certain road safety and environmental standards are met, for example, emissions levels. All vehicles that are three years old or more must have this test every year. Taxis and private passenger vehicles with nine or more seats must have the annual test if they are one year old or more.

Next, what happens if my car fails its MOT?

If your car fails its MOT, your test centre will issue a ‘VT30 Refusal of an MOT Test certificate’. It will list all the points where your car has failed. You need to keep hold of this document, as you’ll need it if you go for a re-test.

MOTs and the law

If your car fails its MOT and the date on your certificate has passed, it is illegal to drive it. Even if it seems to be working fine, you must not drive it. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving without a valid MOT.

If your vehicle is still within its MOT certificate date, you may be able to drive your car to a garage to get repairs carried out unless it failed with ‘dangerous defects’. If that’s the case, you could be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving, and get points on your licence if you drive it. In most cases, driving a car that has failed an MOT will invalidate your insurance too. Again, driving without proper insurance attracts fines and penalty points.

That leaves you with two options if your car fails its MOT. Either pay up to get it fixed or scrap it and buy a new car.

How much can it cost to put right?

The costs to get your car fixed will depend on the problem and the make and model of your car. The good news is that many MOT failures are due to something relatively quick and simple to fix. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Problems with the electrics, suspension, and brakes are common and can be more expensive to put right.

And that’s not all you need to think about. Since tougher rules were introduced, over a million MOT failures a year are due to exhaust emissions. If your car fails on emissions the cost to have it fixed will again depend on the make and model. A mechanic may be able to tweak the engine charging just a few hours work or you might need a complete replacement engine, with parts and labour quickly totting up.

MOT Failure Insurance for your peace of mind

Your car might pass its MOT every year with no problem, or it might only cost a relatively small amount to fix minor problems. Alternatively, you could be confronted with a big bill that you weren’t expecting.

Deciding if MOT Failure Insurance is worthwhile is down to individual choice. Just like all non-compulsory insurance, whether it is necessary for you depends on your individual situation and your preferred way of managing your finances.

If you worry about finding a lump sum to pay for repairs, but can’t afford not to have your car running on the road, MOT Failure Insurance gives you peace of mind that certain costs will be covered.

  • Take the financial stress out of failing an MOT. For example, by paying upfront for cover, you can take control of the costs of running a vehicle.  There will be no nasty surprises, or large sums of money to find if your car does fail the test.
  • Get your vehicle back on the road quickly. Insurance means you can get your car fixed quickly without worrying about the costs, and be back on the road as soon as possible. That can be a lifeline for anyone who relies on their car to get around for work or to care for a family.

What does MOT Failure Insurance cover?

MOT Failure Insurance will normally pay for the costs of parts and labour to get your car back on the road. It may also include the charge for taking a re-test. There may be certain exclusions to what you can claim depending on the exact policy you take out. Always check the schedule or talk it through with your broker.

Finally, finding the best MOT Failure Insurance cover

MOT Failure Insurance can be purchased stand-alone or as an add-on to your regular car insurance. If you like the idea of the peace of mind it will bring, don’t just take out the insurance offered by your car dealership. Always shop around to compare quotes, or have a chat with our friendly Easy2insure team on 0800 917 9522, who can do the legwork for you.

We have 30 years of experience helping people to get the right insurance at the best price. We are a preferred broker with many of the UK’s biggest insurers and pass the benefits that brings ot our customers. For example, that lets us secure the best price on insurance that is not always available anywhere else. If you do need to make a claim, we’ll make sure it is processed quickly and fuss-free.  That means you can get back on the road as soon as possible. Get in touch now.


This article was originally published in 2017. It has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information.