There have been reports that the government is looking to change the requirement to have an MOT from every year to every couple of years in order to help address the cost-of-living crisis.

Whilst in theory this sounds like an attractive and cost saving idea to many people, it could actually be a double-edged sword with car insurers increasing rates due to the higher risk of insuring unsafe vehicles.

Annual MOT

The annual MOT for cars over three years old is meant to act as a safety precaution to ensure vehicles meet the required roadworthy standard but around a third of cars fail their MOT.

According to Halfords, who have over 300 MOT test centres across the country, there are numerous tests carried out to ensure your vehicle meets the requirements as set out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

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MOT Checks

  • Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment
  • Steering and suspension
  • Brakes
  • Tyres
  • Seat belts
  • Body and structure of the vehicle
  • Exhaust, fuel and emissions checks
  • Driver’s view of the road

Common MOT failures

Common MOT Failures

Source: Halfords
Item % of MOT Failures
Lighting & Signalling 30%
Tyre Issues 10%
Brake Issues 9.6%
Mirrors, Wipers & Windscreen 6%

Underwriting and safety issues

Car insurance underwriters need to be certain that the car they are insuring is safe to be on the road and that basic checks on tyres, brakes and other critical parts are in good order so that the risk of having an accident is reduced. The annual MOT provides this comfort to the insurer.

Increase in car insurance rates

Without an annual MOT check, insurance companies may well have to increase rates for those vehicles that last had an MOT more than 12 months ago, in order to account for the increased risk this poses. If this happens then the savings made on having an MOT could easily be wiped out by higher insurance premiums.

It’s very possible that insurers will start to rate on your last MOT date. Drivers who voluntarily get an MOT every year could be rewarded with lower prices whereas those who choose to get an MOT every two years could be penalised.

Breakdown Cover increases

Changing the MOT requirement could also have a knock-on effect for breakdown cover providers with the potential for similar price increases for those who had an MOT more than a year ago.

Fewer MOTs could potentially mean more breakdowns with cars not being as well maintained as they once were.

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