Existing MOT temporary exemption certificates (TECs) for some vehicle groups will be extended by a further four months because of the impact of coronavirus.
Existing TECs applied to eligible private cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles aged 4-9 years will be extended by a further four months from the date the existing exemption ends.
Four year old cars and motorcycles and three year old light goods vehicles due a first time test will have a four month TEC applied from the date their first MOT is due.
New TECs or extensions to existing TECs will be applied automatically to enable vehicles to be taxed and kept on the road.
The changes were outlined by the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
She said, “All test centres are operational and the DVA has worked hard to increase its vehicle testing capacity, focussing on testing priority category vehicles including those vehicles that are not able to avail of a TEC and those with TECs due to expire to keep people on the road.
“Given the current situation with Covid-19, in order to keep the DVA staff and customers safe, necessary and proportionate control measures around MOT testing have been introduced. Due to these safety measures, the DVA is operating at reduced vehicle testing capacity. “In light of these constraints I want to ensure that all customers can legally keep their vehicles on the road for their essential journeys.
"For that reason, from 26 March 2021, I have instructed my officials to apply a further four month extension to existing TECs for eligible private cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles aged 4-9 years and to apply a new four month TEC to those vehicles due a first time test. Alastair Ross, Head of Public Policy for Northern Ireland at the Association of British Insurers said: “Insurers recognise that this is a worrying time for everyone and will take a pragmatic view.
"They will not penalise customers for something that is entirely out of their control and where motorists with an MOT exemption certificate applied in Northern Ireland request a quote, they will not be prejudiced by their lack of a valid MOT certificate.
"This applies regardless of whether they wish to renew with their existing insurance provider or are looking to take out a policy with a different insurer.
"Those affected by the ongoing MOT testing suspension should continue to service their vehicle and carry out basic checks such as looking out for brake wear, ensuring that all lights are working and regularly checking their tyre pressure and tread depth." Further information on TECs is available here.