Insurance- default renewals


Registered User
Apr 10, 2007
Is anyone else concerned about automatic default renewals for insurance policy?
My elderly mum has recently been diagnosed. I came home from Australia, went through her bank account, and although she hasn't been driving for years, she has been automatically renewed by her insurance company as well as the AA. She was unaware of what the Direct Debits were for, and they would have continued presumably until she died if I hadn't cancelled.
Although we have a SORN document to prove her car has been sitting in the garage, it's really difficult to get a refund.
All advice gratefully received.
Best wishes

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Alib, and welcome to TP.

Thank you very much for identifying a potential problem, for people on their own, who develop dementia and are responsible for their own finances.

I would be very surprised if you manage to get refunds on Direst Debits, but it would be nice to think there are some honourable companies about.

Please let us know how you get on, claiming refunds. I wonder if a doctor`s note would help.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I would be very surprised if you manage to get refunds on Direst Debits, but it would be nice to think there are some honourable companies about.[/QUOTE

My sky TV was not working for 2 mouths and that’s on direct debit, my daughter push me to ask for the money back ,and they gave me it back , I suppose its if you don’t ask you don’t know and all they can say is a yes or a No

That sounds like a good Idea

I wonder if a doctor`s note would help

And then sending them the EPOA , because of data protection act , as your speaking on they behalf

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Alib - default renewals can actually be a Godsend when you're getting snowed down with paperwork or not so capable - for whatever reason - of actioning it - just me, but I'd be more concerned about policies lapsing and only discovering that when I needed to call on them ....

One interesting point about serving 'default renewals' - how can the companies who operate these be guaranteed that notice has been served? In that case, you would have a claim against direct debits being paid without prior notice (ask the bank to give you a refund under the direct debit indemnity scheme - that usually gets em scuttling ....... ;) :D Quite how you prove no notice was received .....????

Just another thought on car insurance .... even if a vehicle has been 'SORNed' is some level of insurance still not required????? Perhaps there's some 'middle ground' to be reached here by negotiating with the insurance companies directly ....

Best of luck with it - do let us know how you get on....



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
even if a vehicle has been 'SORNed' is some level of insurance still not required
I'm no expert but as far as I know, no insurance is required if the car is off the public road system. If it is parked in the road, it needs tax and insurance, if not....not?

I'm not sure what happens if a storm should blow a tree down on an uninsured car kept off the public road - would it be covered by buildings insurance...?

Interesting questions and someone may know the answers....:confused:


Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
Hi Alib - I've sorn'ed a car, and no, you don't need insurance if it's not on a public road, ie parked in garage or drive. I did decide however that it would be wise to leave it covered third party, fire & theft for my own peace of mind, even though it was on my driveway. Hope this helps.


Registered User
Jan 28, 2012
Vehicle off the road - Requirement for a SORN

Hi all, I'm a newbie here but have already found the Forum a very valuable resource. My Mum (72) was formally diagnosed with AD last week. I was expecting it and she probably was too but a shock none-the-less.

It's been a pretty steep learning curve both before (for the past year or so) and after formal diagnosis. One thing that became clear was the problem/issue around driving and insurance.

Leaving out the emotional side, which I know is covered elsewhere in great detail, as we walked out of Milton Keynes Memory Clinic after the formal diagnosis, technically Mum no longer had valid insurance to cover her driving - the diagnosis of the condition invalidated her insurance policy, certainly for comprehensive cover (third party may still have been valid).

She needed to complete a CG1 Medical Fitness to Drive form and submit that to the Drivers' Medical Group of the DVLA for assessment. Personally I think she's fine to drive - early days, she's still very able and has been and still is a good and safe driver. Whether they revoke her licence or not we are waiting to see.

Coincidentally her current insurance was due to expire a few days after the diagnosis. Obviously it wasn't possible to take out another policy during this period of limbo. I thought we could just sit it out with the car off the public road in her driveway but uninsured. Apparently not. A car must either have valid road tax and valid insurance or must have a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). Without valid tax & insurance or a SORN, it is illegal - whether it's on a public highway, in your drive or in pieces in your garage.

Fortunately the SORN is very simple to do online. You can also claim a rebate back on any of your un-used tax.

The DVLA's Motor Insurance Database now contains the insurance details of cars so they are theoretically flagged when a vehicle's tax or insurance lapses and can issue a notice to the owner. What the process is and what that notice might be (warning, fine, summons...?) I don't know but according to a few motoring forums I looked at (not something I have ever done before) when investigating this issue, it seems there really is no grace period or leeway.

I'm sure I could have explained the situation to the DVLA if they had contacted Mum after the event, but prevention is better than cure as they say.

Anyway, just thought I'd share what I have found out.