Understanding car insurance can be difficult, especially when dealing with the added complexity of impounded vehicles. Here are most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about insurance for impounded cars, in the hope of helping you to better understand this issue.
An impounded car is a vehicle that has been legally seized and held by authorities, usually the police, owing to various reasons which can include driving without a valid licence or insurance, unpaid fines or taxes, parking violations, or using the vehicle in connection with a crime.
Insurance is required to recover an impounded car to ensure that, once it's back on the road, it complies with the legal requirement for all vehicles to be insured. The police will need to see proof of valid insurance covering the specific vehicle before it can be released from the impound lot.
Yes, if your existing car insurance policy is still valid and covers the impounded car, you can use it. However, if the policy specifically states that it cannot be use to release an impounded car, the car was impounded owing to lack of insurance or if the insurer has cancelled the policy following the impoundment, you will need to arrange new cover.
Temporary insurance for impounded cars is a specific type of cover designed to meet the legal requirement for retrieving an impounded vehicle. It provides cover for a minimum period—typically 30 days—and can be arranged relatively quickly, often within a few minutes.
Not all insurance providers offer this type of cover, as it is seen as high risk. Vehicles that have been impounded are often associated with higher risk factors such as uninsured driving or illegal activities. Therefore, you might need to approach a specialist insurer or broker to find this type of policy.
To get temporary insurance for an impounded car, you'll need to provide specific information about the vehicle and the driver, along with details of the impoundment, to an insurance provider offering this service. Once the policy is issued, you can use the certificate of insurance (or, usually, a link to it on your mobile phone) to prove to the authorities that the vehicle is now insured.
Obtaining temporary insurance with points on your licence or previous convictions can be more difficult, as these factors increase your risk profile. However, some specialist insurers offer policies for drivers with such backgrounds. It's absolutely vital to disclose all relevant information when applying for insurance; failure to do so can result in your policy being voided.
If an impounded car is not retrieved within a specified period, typically 14 days, the authorities have the right to dispose of it. This can involve selling it at auction or scrapping it. All proceeds go towards covering the costs of impoundment and storage.
The best way to avoid car impoundment is to stick to the law. Make sure your vehicle is always insured, that you hold a valid driving licence, that any due taxes or fines are paid promptly, and that you obey all parking regulations. Additionally, never use your vehicle in connection with illegal activities.
If you can't afford to pay the fees to retrieve your car, it's important to act quickly. The longer your vehicle stays in the impound, the higher the fees will become. You can consider seeking legal advice or contacting a local Citizens Advice Bureau to explore your options. In some cases, the car may be auctioned to cover these costs. If the car is valuable, this could result in a loss, so it's vital to act as quickly as possible.
Yes, having a vehicle impounded could potentially increase your future insurance premiums. This is because insurance companies may view it as an indication of riskier behaviour. The exact impact will depend on various factors, including the reason for the impoundment and your overall driving record.
It is possible, but it must be a genuine sale, and the new owner must produce proof of ownership before the vehicle can be released.
Transferring ownership of an impounded car to avoid paying fees is generally not possible. Most authorities require that all fees be paid before the vehicle is released, regardless of who the owner is.
Whilst technically you can cancel your temporary insurance policy once the car is out of the impound, it is not advisable to do so unless you have another form of valid insurance in place. Remember, it's illegal to keep a vehicle without valid insurance unless it is declared off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
Yes, provided you have valid insurance and a valid driving licence, you can drive your car home from the impound lot once the fomalities have been completed.
Having a car impounded, and facing high, unexpected charges to get it back can be very traumatic but remember: the staff at the pound are normal human beings just doing a job. By dealing with them in a friendly and courteous manner you can make the experience easier and more pleasant for all concerned.