An MOT is a legally required annual inspection of cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles that are more than three years old.

Driving on UK roads without a valid MOT certificate is illegal, with motorists facing a fine of up to £1,000 if they do.

Not only does driving without an MOT put yourself and other road users in danger, but it could also invalidate your car insurance policy, as most insurance providers include having a valid MOT certificate as a condition of your car insurance policy.

With this in mind, Compare the Market carried out a study to reveal the main reasons people drive without a valid MOT certificate, and whether they are aware of the consequences of doing so.

Gazette: As soon as your car hits three years-old, it will need an MOT before its birthday each yearAs soon as your car hits three years-old, it will need an MOT before its birthday each year (Image: Getty/yevtony)

The study revealed that 18% of UK drivers, the equivalent of six million people, have driven a car without a valid MOT status for their vehicle.

The new data suggests the number of motorists driving without a valid MOT certificate is increasing, as only 11% of motorists admitted to this offence in the same study.

Julie Daniels from the car insurance team at Compare the Market says: “An MOT is a legally required annual inspection of cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles that are more than three years old, so it’s concerning to see how many motorists are failing to adhere to this.

“Not only does driving without an MOT put yourself and other road users in danger, but it could also invalidate your car insurance policy, as most insurance providers include having a valid MOT certificate as a condition of your car insurance policy.

“So, in most cases your insurance will be invalidated if you drive without an MOT – and that means you’ll be breaking the law twice: firstly, by driving without a valid MOT and secondly, for driving without valid insurance.

“You can easily check when your MOT is due using your number plate on GOV.UK, or sign up online to get a free text or email reminder one month before your vehicle’s MOT is due.”

How you can avoid MOT fines

Find out when your MOT is due

As soon as your car hits three years-old, it will need an MOT before its birthday each year. You can easily check when your MOT is due using your number plate on GOV.UK. You can undertake your MOT test up to a month (minus a day) before its expiry date while still preserving its annual due date.

Set up a reminder

Simply set a reminder on your email calendar - or in Great Britain, you can sign up online to get a free text or email reminder one month before your vehicle’s MOT is due. In Northern Ireland you’ll get a letter in the post seven weeks before your MOT is due.

Create a car contingency account

Cars are expensive – there’s no denying that – and MOTs can throw up unexpected repair costs in order to pass. It’s a good idea to set up a car contingency savings account; putting aside a little each month to spread the costs and make sure you can afford any unexpected nasty surprises.

Shop around for your MOT

Just as you should shop around for a cheaper premium on your car insurance, you can also compare prices for your MOT. The maximum price of an MOT is £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle. But many garages will offer it cheaper than this – especially if bought in conjunction with your regular servicing.