Impounded car insurance

Has your car been seized? Here’s what to do if your car is impounded, along with a guide to what it means for your insurance. 

Has your car been seized? Here’s what to do if your car is impounded, along with a guide to what it means for your insurance. 

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
12 AUGUST 2022
4 min read
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Why do I need insurance for an impounded vehicle? 

You need to insure your car if you’re driving or parking it on public roads – that’s the law. If your car is impounded, perhaps because it isn’t insured, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance to have it released. Not every policy includes impounded car cover, so you’ll need to check your policy wording to make sure you have the cover you need. 

If not, you’ll need to add impounded car cover to your policy for an extra cost or take out a specialist temporary car insurance policy for impounded cars. 

Why are cars impounded? 

The police, local authorities and the DVLA all have the right to seize vehicles. Your car might end up in the pound because it was:  

  • Stolen then found by the police
  • Involved in a crash
  • Parked illegally on roads or private land
  • Blocking the road or causing an obstruction
  • Being used for crime or anti-social behaviour
  • Uninsured 
  • Untaxed and parked on a public road 
  • Untaxed and parked on private land, but without a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) 
  • Driven by someone without a licence or insurance.  

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

Not paying your road tax is one of the reasons your car might be impounded. If your car is seized because you haven’t paid your car tax, you have two options: 

  • Pay your tax and a £200 fee to have your car released
  • Pay a £160 surety fee (deposit) and make a SORN so your car is officially off the road. 

If you pay a surety fee and then buy car tax within 15 days, you may be able to get a refund. 

The police seized my car, how do I get it back?

If your car’s been seized, the first thing to do is find out where it’s been taken. If you don’t receive a notice letter, you can call 101 and ask the police which pound has your car. You could also call NSL, the company that enforces car tax payments, on 0343 224 1999. 

Once you’ve tracked down your car, you’ll need to pay a fee to have it released. If you do this within 24 hours, you’ll pay £100. If you leave it more than 24 hours, you’ll have to pay £200, plus £21 a day storage fee. If you don’t pay, your car may be sold or disposed of.  

What are the legal requirements if my car has been seized? 

If your car is seized, you’re legally required to pick it up within seven days of the date on the notice letter. You’ll need to take with you: 

  • Photo ID, such as your passport or driving licence
  • Proof of ownership (your log book)
  • A valid MOT certificate (or proof that you’ve booked a test)
  • Proof of insurance.

If you don’t want your car back, you’ll need to ‘disclaim’ it. To do this, go to the pound with proof that you own the car and proof of your identify. There might be a disposal fee to pay and you’ll still have to pay any parking fines. 

Where can I find car insurance for an impounded vehicle?

You may find that your current policy covers you for retrieving an impounded car. But not all policies do, so always check the small print and contact your provider if you’re not sure. You might be able to add impounded car cover to your policy. If not, you’ll need to get specialist impounded car insurance.

If your car has been seized because it wasn’t insured, you’ll need to find a provider of specialist impounded car insurance who will accept you.
Compare the Market doesn’t offer a comparison service for impounded car insurance. But if you need a new policy once your car is released, you can compare car insurance with us.

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

Yes. but it needs to be a specialist policy for impounded cars that lasts for a minimum of 30 days. Standard temporary car insurance may not be accepted and one-day car insurance isn’t suitable.

What shall I do if my car is clamped? 

If you don’t pay your road tax, you might find your car is clamped. If this happens, the authorities will leave an INF32 leaflet on your vehicle and you’ll need to call the number on the back for instructions on how to have your car released.  

What if I’m not the car’s registered keeper?

The car’s registered keeper must collect the car in person – this is a legal requirement. The authorities will only make an exception if you’re: 

  • Out of the country (and can provide evidence, such as airline tickets)
  • In custody
  • In hospital
  • Bedbound due to sickness, injury or disability.

If this is the case, you can go on the registered keeper’s behalf. But you’ll need to take proof of why the registered keeper can’t go, along with a letter authorising you to collect the car, signed by the registered keeper. You’ll also need photo ID, so take along your passport or driving licence.

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Julie Daniels - Motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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