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Insurance for impounded cars: a guide

Insurance for impounded cars: a guide

Find out what happens when your car is seized, what you can do if your car is impounded and the insurance implications for impounded cars. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 16 DECEMBER 2019

Why cars are impounded

Several authorities, including the police, local authorities and the DVLA, have the right to seize vehicles for a number of reasons, for example: 

  • You’ve parked illegally on roads or private land; your car might be blocking the road or have broken down 
  • Your car is uninsured 
  • You haven’t paid your road tax and you’re parked on a public road 
  • You haven’t paid your road tax and you’re parked on private land but haven’t got a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Police might also stop you and seize your car if it is: 

  • being used in a way that causes alarm, harassment or distress – for example, careless driving 
  • being driven by someone who doesn’t have a proper licence or insurance. 

Retrieving a seized car

If you car’s been seized, you need to first find out where it’s been taken. To do this, call 101 and ask for your local police. Or call NSL, which enforces car tax payments, on 0343 224 1999. 
Once you’ve tracked down your car, you’ll need to pay a fee to release it. If you do this within 24 hours, it will be around £100-£200. Longer, and it will cost more, plus around £20 a day to store your car. And if you don’t pay, eventually your car may be sold or disposed of.  

If your car’s been seized because you haven’t paid your car tax, you can pay it before it’s released. If you decide to make a SORN, you’ll need to pay a surety fee to release the car from the pound. This costs £160 for cars and motorbikes. You may be able to get a refund of the fee if you buy car tax within 15 days. 
Before you go to get your car released, check with the pound to see what documents you need to bring with you. These are likely to include your driving licence, proof of ownership and a valid MOT certificate or proof of a pre-booked test.

Seized car insurance

Your car might have been impounded because you weren’t insured. But even if you have car insurance, you might find that your policy doesn’t cover you for releasing an impounded car. This is a problem because you’ll need to provide proof of insurance at the pound to get your car back.  
First, check your policy to see if you’re covered. If not, you’ll need to find temporary car insurance that can provide you with a minimum of 30 days of cover. Compare the Market doesn’t offer a comparison for insurance for impounded cars, but if you need a new policy once your car is released, you can shop around with us.  

Car clamping

Another penalty that the authorities might impose for non-payment of road or other taxes is car clamping. If this happens, you need to call the number on the back of the INF32 leaflet that will be left on your vehicle.  
As is the case with an impounded car, you’ll either need to pay the car tax to get the car released or make a SORN and pay a surety fee.

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