1 May 2013

MoT Changes: £40 is a small price to pay for peace of mind

Hagerty International have recently been misquoted in a number of magazines and forums regarding our stance on the new MOT legislation for pre-1960 vehicles.  Hagerty would like to take this opportunity to make clear that we will be happy to insure pre-1960 vehicles and do not require them to have an MOT certificate. We have, however, recommended to owners of these vehicles that it is more important than ever to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy. The new legislation places the full burden of responsibility of the vehicles’ roadworthiness firmly on the shoulders of the owner. To this end it is imperative they are serviced regularly and for peace of mind, and the £40 cost of obtaining an MOT certificate eradicates any doubt that the vehicle is in a fit state and legal to be on the road.

Here’s the bottom line: We believe that classic car owners should spend the money on an MOT, despite legislation introduced last year that dispensed with compulsory annual MOT’s for cars manufactured before 1960.

The call comes as confusion amongst classic car owners grows and fears mount that future accidents involving unroadworthy vehicles could drive some of the world’s most endeared classics off Britain’s roads forever.

Under the legislation, if a vehicle is proved to be unroadworthy or does not have a valid and current  MOT certificate (as required under UK law), and is involved in an accident, the individual’s insurance may not be valid, thus the owner could be responsible for all costs involved and possibly even be prosecuted.

It’s these unintended consequences of the legislation, which was designed to save classic car enthusiasts money, that have triggered discontent amongst the classic car community. 

Speaking on the issue after delivering a seminar on classic car insurance at the Car Club Expo, Angus Forysth, Managing Director of Hagerty International, said the overwhelming response to this legislation was one of confusion and questioned the true value of not holding an MOT certificate.

“Although there is a potential short term gain through not paying an annual MOT, the losses if something goes wrong are potentially enormous. While the legislation for MOTs and the appropriate charges are no longer required, we strongly believe that £50 spent on certification is the best way to ensure cars are being used safely and legally”. 

While the rate of classic car accidents is incredibly low, Forsyth warned that it could only take one incident to send shockwaves through the industry.

“We are passionate about classic cars. The last thing we want to arise from this piece of legislation is calls to ban classic cars from our roads. The consequences of the new laws could cost the classic industry tens of millions of pounds in the coming years, not to mention the sentimental cost of losing invaluable cars from our heritage.”

Forsyth said there are now MOT stations willing to do a check on a classic, with some even offering discounted rates.

“Our advice is take advantage of the growing number of MOT stations, have your classic MOT’d and benefit from the peace of mind. Our premiums will not increase as we’re taking the view that our clients are responsible and will often choose to get their vehicle inspected anyway”.

10 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Chris Sale Shropshire May 15, 2013 at 16:12
    I have a '64 Corvette that I have owned for over 25 years and I think I can say that I maintain it to a high standard. Nevertheless, twice over the last few years the MOT testers have discovered problems that I had not noticed and that I would almost certainly not have discovered myself. One was a worn front upper ball joint that been installed for only a few thousand miles, and which turned out to have been from a batch that had been improperly heat-treated. The other was a loose tie rod end that still had the split pin in place through the nut that had been correctly torqued on installation. As far as I am concerned the message is clear: doing without the annual MOT test is a false economy that could put both car and driver at risk.
  • 2
    Iain Rugby, Warks. May 15, 2013 at 04:38
    It would be far more useful to the Classic Car movement if the government reinstated the rolling 25 year exemption from VED (Road Tax). I have a 23 year old Range Rover, in which I do very limited mileage as I also have a company van for my daily travelling, and it annoys me that I still have to pay over £200 per year for less than 5000 miles (a limitation imposed by my Classic Car insurance). It was a good idea at the time, and it should never have been pinched off at 1973 level.
  • 3
    David Biggins United Kingdom May 15, 2013 at 04:38
    I have a number of early cars insured and several are only used a few times a year with minimal mileage. The Edwardians with no front wheel brakes did not even have a brake test, no lights,no modern contrivances, the Mot took 5 mins maximum yet I still paid full price. All the inspection showed was that steering components were not worn and chassis not breaking up. The last thing I want is for anything to be unsafe on these valuable cars and I would not rely on an MOT to convince me and I doubt if lack of MOT would influence outcome of an accident, there is no liability of the examiner if a wheel falls of the next day. I welcome the change as it enables cars I would have had on SORN to come out from time to time. I accept that if owners do not do their own maintenance then an MOT is advisable.
  • 4
    Ian McA Surrey May 15, 2013 at 04:46
    When the legislation was at the consultation stage I wrote to say MOTs should be compulsory for classic cars. By doing this we demonstrate that classic cars are fit to be on modern roads and the cost is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Also, a move towards different regulations for classic cars could easily lead to further legislation restricting their use to special events only as has happened in some other EU countries such as France, where as I understand it, you can only run a classic car for everyday use if it meets all of the current MOT standards for modern cars.
  • 5
    Michael Eatough Barton on Sea May 15, 2013 at 04:58
    The only way to prove road worthiness is to have an MOT, otherwise no matter how good the car is how do you satisfy any insurance company? Not to have a third party check makes no sense. Also easier to sell a car if it has current and past MOT certificates. I would not buy without.
  • 6
    Kevan Shaw Edinburgh May 15, 2013 at 04:59
    Rather than reducing confusion this article serves to make it worse. The reasons that the MOT test has been made non compulsory for pre 1960 vehicles is that its relevance as a safety test has been reduced with the requirements, set for modern vehicles, to meet emissions standards, performance standards and equipment standards that cannot be met by older vehicles. Allied to this is the very small number of testers able to make an assessment on the key relevant points to older vehicles. I do not own any vehicles exempted from test so I struggle every year to find testers who can competently asses my series Land Rovers and my Velosolex. Land Rovers have transmission handbrakes and are damaged if the standard handbrake test is applied. The amount of play in even perfectly set up steering is often seen and noted as excessive though within the test limit at present. The Velosolex is an autocycle. It doesn't have brake lights indicator or horn. These were never fitted and as such are not required. The brakes are bicycle type and just cannot be safely measured on the rolling brake tester, on the first occasion a tester tried this he and the bike were bodily launched off the rollers and very nearly hit the garage wall. Essentially the MOT is no longer a fit test for older vehicles hence the removal. Paying £50 to get only a few of the points assessed is unfair and unreasonable. Te assertion that a claim may not be met if the vehicle is unroadworthy or without an MOT is also unreasonable.The MOT is clearly stated as not to represent the roadworthyness of a vehicle except at time and date of test. If a vehicle is involved in an accident due to mechanical failure failure to have previously obtained an MOT cannot be relevant. Haggerty be straight here and say whether or not you are prepared to meet a claim on an older vehicle caused by mechanical or systems failure. It looks like you will use his as an excuse to take our money in premiums yet fail to eet claims.
  • 7
    John Morrill Cambridge May 15, 2013 at 05:23
    One of the main issues is the fact that many MOT testers are not familiar with the peculiarities of old cars/bikes etc. A wheel bearing with a single unadjustable ball bearing race is going to wobble and look alarming by todays standards, but is as it should be. A new generation Tester would most likely put a fail on it; and thats just one example. I think an elevated visual inspection with owner participation is all that is needed.
  • 8
    Charles Leith New Forest May 15, 2013 at 20:39
    We could not agree with you more Angus
  • 9
    David Taylor Linlithgow, Scotland May 15, 2013 at 11:55
    I think that you should charge extra if an owner of a pre 60 car does not get an MOT. Most responsible owners will get there car checked, but what about the unroadworthy project that can now be driven. My 1954 car has recently been MOT'd along with my other cars, £35 only well spent.
  • 10
    Neale Lawson SW Scotland May 17, 2013 at 07:28
    It was my intention to get my cars inspected on an annual basis as a second check can bring up something which I had not noticed and having it on a ramp is an additional advantage. However my local inspector was not keen on an MOT as such, as it tied up his computer for an hour which, on an inspection of my Edwardian with all its exemptions,normally took about fifteen minutes. Surely an independent inspection by an MOT inspector is all that is required without an actual MOT ? I still have a full brake test done on the vintage cars

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