GoCompare Car Insurance said drivers who failed to hold an up-to-date MOT certificate would invalidate their insurance.
What’s more, under the tougher new MOT, which tests for emissions and disc brakes and ranks cars in three defect categories, if a car is deemed dangerous and is driven before being repaired, drivers could face fines of as much as £2,500 plus three points.
There are concerns that with the bar being raised for a car’s roadworthiness, more vehicles could fail the new test which could lead to greater numbers of motorists driving vehicles without MOTs.
Currently the Highway Code penalty for not having a valid MOT is a fine of up to £1,000.
GoCompare is urging drivers to sign up to the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA) ‘Get MOT Reminder’ service, which issues alerts to drivers in the run up to their next test.
Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare Insurance said: “If your car’s MOT has expired, it’s illegal to drive it on the road and you could be prosecuted for doing so.
“The only exception allowed would be if you’d already booked an MOT and were driving to the test, which you would have to prove to the police.”
Under the new test the old style ‘pass or fail’ system will be replaced by a procedure where three categories – dangerous, major and minor – are used to assess faults.
As well as new tests for emissions, checks will also be carried out to see whether tyres are obviously underinflated, if brake fluid has been contaminated and if there are leaks which pose environmental risks. Testers will also look to see if brake pads, their warning lights or discs are missing.
Oliver added: “Drivers caught without an up-to-date MOT also risk invalidating their car insurance. This could lead to penalties for driving uninsured, leaving the driver liable for any costs if they were involved in an accident and adversely impact the cost of and their ability to buy insurance in the future.”
Last year 35.4% of cars initially failed their MOT. The common faults included defective lighting or signalling and problems with suspension and tyres.