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Old 20 Jun 2007
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Keeping the vehicle legal on longer trips - any clues??!

We are planning on being away for a couple of years and I am really confused regarding the legal situation for our truck.

According to UK law we have to register our truck as 'permanently exported' if it is out of the country for more than 6 months but we won't have an address abroad so that is not an option. We have to have the vehicle taxed and MOT'd to keep the insurance legal so what does everyone else do for longer trips...?

Obviously we will ensure the MOT is new when we leave but once that runs out it will invalidate the insurance and we are not coming back to the UK from Africa just for an MOT!!

Also, how can I insure the contents of the truck for the full value - I will have 2 motorbikes, laptop and camera equipment on board.

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere - I couldn't find it.

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Old 20 Jun 2007
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If you do a search for SORN (statutary off road notification)
there are several threads covering this, and you can do it while away over the web.

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Old 20 Jun 2007
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Hi Bill

I know about SORN but if I go down that route it invalidates my insurance if I have a claim as the vehicle is not meant to be on a public highway.

A vehicle must be road legal for the insurance to be valid - unless you have laid up cover... but how is this possible when travelling for over a year?

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Old 20 Jun 2007
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African situation

Once you are outside Europe (except Morocco and Tunesia) and your cars is under SORN, you do not need regular UK insurance. For what Africa concerns I can inform you a bit. In African countries where insurance is obligatory they will offer it at the border or in the first town. Where it is not, it is not a problem more a comfort issue. In Africa they have pretty good provisions on that! They offer insurances in most countries but what they are worth, don't ask me. Fact is, if you have it, you are legal in that country. Saves a lot of hassle with police too. Have a look at my website. The last form on below link lists the Insurance posibilities in most African countries.

exploreafrica.web-log.nl: 31-handy (check) lists


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Old 20 Jun 2007
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Hi Noel

Thanks for the reply. Great website and tons of info.

I am more worried about the truck being stolen as it will be worth about £25,000+ once fitted out. I will have a carnet for Africa but that does not (as I understand it) provide me with insurance - it just indemnifies me against custom charges for that country.

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Old 6 Aug 2007
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Trips longer than one year.

I have just returned from a 16 month trip to Central and South America.

I declared SORN after six months. Re-activated my insurance by phone on the ship coming back (with my vehicle). Booked an MOT by e-mail for the day of my arrival. Showed my waybill (for the out-bound trip) and my Carnet to Customs. They correctly did not stamp it.

I was out of the port within 1 hour, no forms and just a payment of £30 to my agent.

But I was lucky, one of the vehicles we travelled with did it properly.

See The Silk Route Motorcaravan Club and click Documents. Good luck.

I hope that helps.
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Old 6 Aug 2007
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I would advise anyone if possible to register their vehicles (especially bikes) in france. for cars MOT's then last two years, there is no mot for bikes. There is no road tax for either.
I pay 86 euros a year insurance for my bmw 1985 r80rt, third party only with medical cover for me and pillion.
before you embark on this route, go to a french insurance company Maaf are good, avoid axa and especially AGF like the plague. get to look at the -exact- model numbers they insure, and get one of those ( or have your 'export certificate display that model number). if it is listed bringing it into France will be easy. If it is not listed, it will be very difficult, plus awkward to insure.
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Old 9 Aug 2007
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If it is more a loss type issue rather that keeping you legal in the event of hitting someone/something, then you might want to contact these guys below. I have not taken out insurance with them as I have fully comp in Ghana where I live, but I did enquire for full coverage for the day I hit the road - to be honest bearing in mind the quote was for a brand new HZJ78 based in West Africa I was "fairly" surprised and was probly expecting it to be more for fully comp anywhere in Africa.


International Vehicle Risk Management
A Division of Lockton Companies International Limited
Lockton House, 6 Bevis Marks,
London, EC3A 7AF
ntral Tel: +44 (0) 20 7933 0000
Website: www.LIVRM.com
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Old 9 Aug 2007
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Yip, declare SORN, phone up and get some insurance before getting back into the EU and have a solid booking date and time for an MOT ie; the day you drive off the ferry you can only legaly drive without an MOT to a MOT testing station (I think it can be in your home town) but make sure whoever you have booked with will confirm to the police etc if need be.

I've done it twice before.

You only need road tax to drive on a UK road (unlike the Dutch who have to have it no matter where they are - causes many prolems!).

Most people travel in Africa etc with no real insurance - just the local stuff that only really stops you getting chucked in jail if you hit somebody etc - thats why many people travel with older bangers (that and the carnet side of things)
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