Whilst we had hoped that we would not need to write much more about these subjects, it's important that we make sure that you are kept updated as regards any rule changes surrounding the use of your vehicles at the current time.
Turning to COVID first, the MOT extensions allowed during 2020 expired on the 31 January 2021. This means that, unless exempt due to age, your vehicle must have a current MOT if you are planning to use it anywhere that the Road Traffic Act applies.
Most motor insurance policies specify that your vehicle must be kept in a roadworthy condition at all times and do not make reference to an MOT test certificate. This is broadly similar to the scenario where your vehicle has a valid MOT but might be considered unsafe otherwise due to a defect not present when tested.
It is particularly relevant at this time of the year to check your lights, tyres and windscreen wiper blades regularly to ensure that they remain in good and safe condition and operate as they should. If you have any doubts about these items, or wider vehicle safety, then you should seek the advice of a professional garage.
Current lockdown restrictions specify that garages may remain open for essential repairs and MOT tests only and that all relevant safety measures must be observed.
We are not aware of any plans to extend MOT expiry dates at the time of writing and backlogs have been widely reported in the motoring and national press where vehicles which fell under the exemption during 2020 now require urgent testing.
As regards using your vehicle, the nationwide rules sadly mean that simply going out for a drive, be it to escape home educating or for the sheer enjoyment of your favourite stretch of road, is not permitted.
Exceptions to this rule include shopping for essentials and for childcare/school purposes for key workers only. Travelling to medical appointments is also permitted, as is commuting or work related travel where you cannot work from your home.
You might think that any references to travelling into the EU are therefore somewhat redundant but some will need to travel for work as outlined above. We've previously outlined the new regulations which came into force from the 1 January 2021 here and we thought it was sensible to give you an update.
You may be required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) – the majority of drivers who have a photo card licence will not need to but there are some exceptions which you can find here. If you are towing a trailer into Europe, it may also need to be registered and have its own green card. This is unlikely to apply for most non-commercial trailers or caravans but the link here will provide further advice.
Lastly, if you suffer a breakdown whilst in Europe, then it's good news. The policies that we provide that include European breakdown cover will not be affected in terms of the level of service they provide or the ability to make sure that if your vehicle does break down, you will be looked after.
We will continue to update you as the landscape shifts, as it undoubtedly will, during 2021 and if you have any immediate questions then please contact us.