Common Questions

If you’ve had your car impounded, you may not know what to do next. The below FAQ’s give you a bit of background information on why cars are  impounded and what you have to do to get your car back.

Why do the police seized cars?

Since the Road Traffic Act 1998 (165a), the police has been able to seize a vehicle if the driver can’t demonstrate proper insurance is in place. These days, due to the Motor Insurance Database (MID), the police can check whether a vehicle is insured at roadside, and if insurance is not in place, they can seized the vehicle there and then.

Uninsured driving is the most frequent reason for a car being impounded, but there are other reasons. This could include: the driving drink driving or being on drugs; the driver having amassed a number of unpaid parking fines; the vehicle being dangerously or illegally parked; the car being used for an illegal or illicit purpose; the car has been involved in a crime; the vehicle has been stolen and recovered. This list is potentially endless but almost always a car will be seized if the driver is uninsured.

What happens once the car has been seized?

The police give the registered owner/keeper what’s known as a seizure notice. This is an official document stating that the car is now on police custody and explains what needs to be done to get it back. Always check your seizure notice since regulations are always changing, however this normally includes providing: impounded car insurance, proof of ownership (such as V5 logbook or other relevant DVLA documents showing the vehicle ownership) and driving licence.

The police will then transport the seized car to a police pound, by subcontracting a towing company to clamp and tow it. Again the impound where your vehicle is taken to will be mentioned on the seizure notice.

The listed documents on the notice then need to be taken to the police station within 7 days. The police station staff will check your details on a number of databases included the Police National Computer and MID. If correct, they will stamp your seizure notice giving the go ahead to collect your impounded car.

What if I can’t find where my impounded car is kept?

This should be on your seizure notice, but you can contact TRACE – the vehicle tracing service – 24/7, 365 on 0845 206 8602.

How long do I have to get my car back?

Legally the police only has to give a minimum of seven days for you to provide the correct documentation. Once you have done this only a further seven days to collect the impounded car from the compound.

What happens to my car if I don’t do this?

The police will be able to dispose of your car. This is done by either srapping it or selling it at auction. After this point, you won’t receive any proceeds from the vehicle sale. The proceeds will be used to pay off the costs involved in seizing and securing the vehicle, as well as funding front line policing.

Where do I find insurance for my impounded car?

Here at we specialise in helping you find insurance for either a seized car or van. If you follow the ‘get quote’ link above or call us we’ll talk you through your options. Impounded car insurance is very hard to find and only two or three insurers can offer it nationally. You can spend hours and hours calling up companies and going on comparison sites to find that no one can help. So rest assured you’re in the right place and we can find you the cheapest, most flexible impounded car policies.

Can I get a short term impounded car insurance policy?

The insurers we put you in touch with can offer short term temporary policies for 30 days, which you can cancel at anytime, or policies for a full year. Which one you need depends on your plan for the car once retrieved from the compound. For instance, if you will keep on driving you definitely need annual cover. Although if you plan on selling the car or van once released from the impound, short term insurance may make more sense since it’s cheaper and there are no cancellation fees.

What’s the difference in cover?

The main difference is that annual cover is fully comprehensive and usually comes with cover extensions such as driving other cars, legal fees, courtesy car, and you can build up no claims bonus. Whereas 30 day monthly policies are typically third party so only third party drivers are covered by yourself if you have a fault claim. This means that any injury to you or damage to your car might not be covered – a big risk to take!

Can I get my covernote emailed?

Yes. This is the best option since it’s a lot quicker than waiting for it in the post. The insurers we put you in touch with will be happy to email it to you so you can retrieve your impounded vehicle as quickly as possible.

What if the police need to speak to the insurer?

Again this is fine and quite normal. Sometimes the police just want to do an additional check and will call up the insurer to make sure the insurance is appropriate. This is part of the job and responsibility as far as the insurance company is concerned and won’t be a problem.