Impounded car insurance

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.  

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
4
minute read
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Posted 21 SEPTEMBER 2021

Why do I need insurance for an impounded vehicle? 

To start with, all cars need to be insured if they’re being driven or parked on public roads. If your car has been impounded, perhaps because it wasn’t insured, then you’ll need to provide proof of insurance to get it released. However, not every policy has impounded car cover, so make sure you check your policy wording to see if you have the cover you need. If your car’s already been impounded, you should add it to your policy or take out a temporary car insurance policy for impounded cars. 

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.  

What happens to my car if I don’t pay tax? 

If you’ve not paid your car tax, your vehicle could be impounded. 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. 

How to retrieve a seized car

If your 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 from the impound lot. 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.   
  
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. 

Can I get insurance for a seized car? 

Your car might have been impounded because you weren’t insured. If so, you might struggle to get your car covered, as many insurance providers won’t insure impounded cars, and, the ones that will are usually much more expensive, because of your situation. 
 
Make sure that your policy covers you for releasing an impounded car, because you’ll need to provide proof of insurance at the impound lot to get your car back.   
  
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.   

Can I get a temporary insurance policy for my impounded car? 

Yes, if your car isn’t insured, or your existing policy doesn’t include impounded car cover, then you can take out a temporary car insurance policy to get your car released. 

How can I find car insurance for an impounded vehicle? 

If you need cover for impounded car recovery, you might find that it’s already included in your existing car insurance policy. However, not all policies do, so check your policy wording carefully. If it turns out you’re not covered, contact your insurance provider to add this to your policy. 
 
Unfortunately, Compare the Market doesn’t offer a comparison service for specific impounded car insurance, but, if you need a new policy once your car is released, you can compare car insurance with us. 

What shall I do if my car is clamped? 

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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