Common Questions

Having your car seized can be a bit of a daunting experience, the below FAQ’s hope to clear up some of the confusions and misconceptions:

Why can the police seize a vehicle?

Due to section 165a of The Road Traffic Act 1998, the police has the powers to seize a vehicle if they don’t believe it to have insurance in place. In recent years, powers have been extended so police can seize the vehicle at roadside. This is a result of developing technology which has allowed police to check a national database – the Motor Insurance Database (MID) – to check if the vehicle registration matches up to a valid insurance policy. If not then the vehicle may be seized and impounded.

Why are cars seized in the first place?

More often than not, cars are seized if the driver doesn’t have proper insurance in place. However there a number of other possibilities too, such as the driver being drunk and over the limit or on drugs; a vehicle having been involved in a crime; the driver has a number of unpaid parking fines; the vehicle is illegally parked and obstructing other road users and pedestrians…the list is actually endless.

What happens once the police has seized the vehicle?

Once seized, the police will issue a seizure notice, and subcontract a towing company to clamp the vehicle and transport it to a police pound. From here, it remains at the impound until the driver provides the correct documentation and obtains seized car insurance.

What’s a seizure notice?

A seizure notice is essentially a legal document outlining that due to The Road Traffic Act 1998, the police is exercising its powers to seize a vehicle due to the driver not being able to demonstrate insurance is in place. The vehicle cannot be retrieved until the registered owner and keeper can provide the documents listed and satisfy the requirements.

What sort of documents are required to release a seized car?

Requirements are constantly changing, so please make sure you check your seizure notice to make sure you have everything you need. Although typically this will include proof of ownership of the car (such as V5 log book, relevant documents from the DVLA), driving licence, identity and seized car insurance. Once the documents listed on the seizure notice have been obtained, they need to be taken to the police station listed on the seizure notice.

What if I can’t find out where my vehicle has been taken to?

There is a dedicated agency known as Trace – towed vehicle tracing service – which can locate your seized vehicle based on its registration. You can contact Trace on 0845 206 8602. The helpline is open 24/7, 365.

How long do I have to get my car back?

By law, theĀ  police only has to give a minimum of seven days for the documents to be provided before the vehicle is disposed of. This can happen either by the vehicle being sold at auction or scrapped. The owner will not receive any proceeds at this stage, with any money made of the vehicle disposal going towards covering towing and impound costs, as well as front line policing. If the driver provides the correct documents in time and has the seizure notice stamped, then the police gives another seven days after this to collect the seized vehicle.

What costs are incurred in releasing an impounded vehicle?

The biggest cost is finding seized car insurance, however we can help you find this at an affordable price by only taking out a short term, temporary policy. Follow the ‘get quote’ button above to get in contact with a specialist and get cheap seized car insurance today. As well as insurance, you will be charged by the police pound’s owners for the daily charges of having the vehicle kept at a secured location. This is never cheap and quickly mounts up, so make sure you release your vehicle as quickly as possible.

Can I take out one day insurance to release my impounded car?

Unfortunately impound car insurance cannot be obtained for one day, and you will have to take out either a 30 day policy or one for a full year. The advantage of short term, temporary seized car insurance is that your capital outlay is minimal and you only have to pay for one month, and won’t be hit by cancellation fees if you decide to lapse it. However if you decide on taking out an annual policy then you will not only have more cover but you will also be able to build up no claims bonus (NCB) which makes future insurance cheaper.

How are the cover levels different between 30 day and annual seized car insurance?

Short term policies are typically only for 30 days and cover your seized vehicle on a third party basis, meaning you satisfy the requirements of the Road Traffic Act, however if at fault your own car will not be covered. This is never ideal since if you are injured you may end up with no compensation, and not have the money to replace your vehicle. On the otherhand, annual seized car insurance can be bought with fully comprehensive cover. This way you and your car are also covered. There are normally cover extensions too such as legal fees, driving other cars and European cover.

Can you add named drivers to an impounded car insurance policy?

We can only cover the registered owner and keeper on an impounded policy.

I have an IN10 motor conviction, can you still cover me?

The insurers we put you in touch with are specialist in that they find cover for drivers with serious motor convictions. This shouldn’t be a problem at all so get in touch today and see how much we can save you.