Vehicle Seizure and Impounding
Cars can often be seized for lack of insurance. If the vehicle is found to be uninsured, it will be seized immediately by the authorities.
When you insure your vehicle, your insurer will add the details to a database known as the Motor Insurance Database (MID), which the police have real-time access to. Through systems like ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), they can instantly check if your vehicle is insured. If it is not, they have the right to seize and impound the vehicle unless you can provide proof of insurance.
There may be a delay in the notification to the MID when a driver first insures their car, which can take up to a week for the database to update. If the police stop you and find that your car has no insurance on record, you can explain that it is newly insured. The police can then contact your insurer directly to confirm this, or they can issue a HORT1, which requires the driver to present the insurance documents at a police station within a specified time frame. If the police are not satisfied with the validity of the insurance, they may immediately seize and impound the vehicle.
To have the vehicle released from impound, the proper procedures must be followed.
Why Would A Vehicle Be Impounded?
Several agencies, including the police, local authorities, and the DVLA, have the authority to seize vehicles. A car can be impounded for a number of reasons, including:
- Recovery after being reported stolen
- Involvement in an accident
- Being illegally parked on roads or private property
- Blocking the road or causing a obstruction
- Being used for criminal or anti-social activities
- Lacking insurance coverage
- Being parked on a public road without paying taxes
- Being parked on private land without paying taxes and not having a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
- Being driven by a person without a valid licence or insurance coverage.
Who Needs Impound Insurance?
Anyone who has had their vehicle impounded and wishes to claim it back will require impound insurance.
Police seize vehicles for a wide range of reasons however the most common one is lack of insurance. This can be through either the individual not insuring the vehicle or by someone else using the vehicle that is not insured. A common example of this is a young individual taking their parents car to be stopped by police and it being impounded as the young individual is not insured.
If the car is uninsured full stop or was just driven uninsured by the driver, then the owner or registered keeper will require seized vehicle insurance.