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When a Vehicle Can Be Seized

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 25 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Seized Police Driving Without Insurance

Under certain circumstances the police do have the power to seize a vehicle from a driver. In the UK there are two main reasons why police would seize a vehicle, and driving without insurance is one of the major reasons why vehicles are seized.

Uninsured Drivers and Car Seizure

If the police do suspect that drivers are operating vehicles without insurance they can stop drivers and ask them to produce the documentation. Any driver who fails to produce the documents on the spot is at risk of having their vehicle seized by the police. The police also have this power if they suspect a driver is operating a vehicle without a licence. Driving a Vehicle Without Insurance or a licence on a public road are serious offences.

Uninsured Drivers in the UK

It is estimated that nearly two million UK drivers are driving without insurance. One in five young drivers drive cars without the proper insurance. The cost to other motorists is an estimated £380 million annually in insurance premiums. According to research, uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in road accidents. There are around 300,000 convictions for drivers without insurance in the UK every year. Driving without insurance can result in fines of up to £5000, six to eight penalty points on a licence and disqualification.

The Cost to Uninsured Drivers

Aside from the punishments handed out from the courts, drivers can also have their cars crushed. Drivers who have their cars seized under this offence have only 14 days to produce the valid insurance documents to the police. Drivers will also have to pay fees such as roadside recovery and secure storage costs. Secure storage costs can be around £15 for every day the car is not claimed. If the vehicle is not claimed within 14 days it can then be destroyed.

Carrying Insurance Documents in a Vehicle

There is no actual legal necessity for drivers to carry insurance documents in a vehicle. The police national database and the insurance database should have the required vehicle information. But it is not uncommon for these databases to be inaccurate. The police should give drivers the opportunity to telephone insurers from the roadside to verify insurance details.

The Power to Seize Vehicles Driven Inconsiderately

The police also have the power to seize vehicles if they have grounds to believe it is being driven without due care and attention. This could mean the vehicle is being driven in a manner that is dangerous or causing distress to other road users. The police then have the power to stop the driver and seize and remove the car. The police also have the power to enter the driver’s property to remove a vehicle if they have witnessed this type of driving. They also have the power to use reasonable force if necessary to seize a vehicle.

Police Warnings when Seizing a Vehicle

The police do have to give warnings that they are going to seize a driver’s vehicle. This is the case for both uninsured drivers and drivers driving in an irresponsible manner. But the police do not have to give a careless driver a warning of seizure if the driver has been warned on a previous occasion. This warning could have been given in the previous 12 months and by another police officer. The warning can also be disregarded if the police have previously issued a warning to the driver who at the time was driving a different vehicle.

Reclaiming a Seized Vehicle

There are certain rules for drivers who can reclaim their vehicles if they have been seized. These rules will include:

  • Valid insurance and licence details must be shown
  • If a fixed penalty was issued payment must be made in full
  • All costs must be paid including secure storage and roadside recovery
  • Vehicles will only released to the registered owner or someone appearing on behalf of the owner
  • Owners have 14 days within which to claim the seized vehicle
  • Continual offenders may have their vehicles seized and crushed
The penalties and punishments for driving without insurance or driving inconsiderately do reflect the seriousness of these traffic offences. Driving without insurance can be extremely costly to the driver. Harsher punishments are available to the courts for uninsured drivers who are involved in road accidents that cause injury or lead to loss of life.

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Hi I run out of petrol because the petrol station I went to at the forecourt being renewed and on the way to the next petrol station in the other direction I've run out of petrol I have a motor trade policy as I own an MOT station I pulled the car over as I entered the national speed limit and at least 80% of the vehicle on the grass bank so that the only part of the car that was in the road with the two offside wheels and about 3 inches from The Kerb to the inside of those wheels. it was directly under a street lamp on a wide piece of single carriageway with a large Chevron area in between the lanes and had only just gone into a national speed limit even though the lamp post are spaced approximately 60 metres apart the car was left in the right direction of traffic flow with both reflectors intact and it was more than adequately visible. The road has no parking restrictions and you did not signposted as a Urban clearway and was at least 100m from a very gentle right hand bend and nowhere near the Brow of a hill a corner or blind spot or white zigzag lines so was not left in dangerous position (even by Stevie wonders opinion). The car was lifted under the authority of Hertfordshire police and when I put a complaint in the Hertfordshire police i was ignoredand the second timeand on the third time I put in a complaint in it took days for them to get back to me and the policeman wanted to know my insurance details before he would discuss it and once he has confirmed I was insured then told me that the officer decided to have the car taken away because it was and that's why it had been lifted it cost me £190 to get my car out and even the recovery driver when I spoke to him he looked at the pictures and couldn't understand why it was recovered but did not want to put anything in writing because his boss had a contract with the police for the recoveries.I I do have the police photographswhich clearly show that it was not an obstruction.Unless you were Mr wonder trying I take off in a small aircraft on that piece of road, there is no way any vehicle couldn't have got part it safely from either Direction. Sorry about that sarcasm it's hereditary x
Mel - 25-Apr-18 @ 9:23 AM
Like to nominate a small vehicle recovery (lift) once I presented valid drivers lience and proof of ownership and real ease fee for vehicle seized under section 165. The content contained within the paragraphs above are they statements of fact when required to provide evidance of a statutory right. Is this acceptable reasonable for those f.Ks dispite no mot because I don’t want to waste my time and money
Rich - 22-Apr-18 @ 5:48 PM
Hi my car was taken from outside my house because they said the back window was smashed and taped up and there was golf clubs in the back and fishing stuff which they thought was stolenwhen I phoned up the police they said the officer is off work for few days so can't release it til he back in work I am wondering if I will have to pay for storage etc it was insured taxed and had valid mot not stolen or used in any crime thanks
Kenty - 16-Apr-18 @ 3:23 PM
Ar - Your Question:
Can police seize your car for no road tax ?

Our Response:
Yes, they can. All vehicles registered in the Uk must be taxed if used or kept on a public road. Even if your car is not used on a public road (i.e. it's kept on private land or a driveway etc) it should either be taxed or have a SORN in force. If not, the police can remove it.
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Apr-18 @ 10:20 AM
Can police seize your car for no road tax ?
Ar - 1-Apr-18 @ 8:57 AM
Ann Marie - Your Question:
Can someone please help, my son was driving his partner's car to drop it to the garage before he went to work.His partner has comprehensive cover and DOC.My son also has comprehensive cover he also DOC but his insurance failed to upload this information to his cover information on their computer system which is being dealt with via a complaint. So he was stopped by the police on this morning who checked the PNC for both details it came back with comprehensive cover for both but not covered to drive others cars for my son. So even though the police officer was made aware that the that the owner and driver both had a comprehensive he charged for using a motor vehicle on a road or public place without having third party insurance and seized his partner's car even though he was asked if she could come and collect it.We are also going to court over this but need to know if the police officer was allowed to seize her the owners' car as he knew it was covered as they both clearly had third party cover within the insurance cover.

Our Response:
Yes if the correct insurance is in place the police can seize the vehicle. You say that "the police officer knew it was covered as they both clearly had third party cover within the insurance cover" - contradicts what you said earlier"with comprehensive cover for both but not covered to drive others cars for my son". Your son was driving another car, he wasn't a named driver on the owner's policy and his own policy did not include third party cover to drive other vehicles. The police don't have time to investigate errors that may or may not have been made by an insurance company when they stop someone. Your son may be able to explain his situation in court to avoid further action.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:23 PM
Can someone please help, my son was driving his partner's car to drop it to the garage before he went to work.His partner has comprehensive cover and DOC .My son also has comprehensive cover he also DOC but his insurance failed to upload this information to his cover information on their computer system which is being dealt with via a complaint. So he was stopped by the police on this morning who checked the PNC for both details it came back with comprehensive cover for both but not covered to drive others cars for my son. So even though the police officer was made aware that the that the owner and driver both had a comprehensive he charged for using a motor vehicle on a road or public place without having third party insurance and seized his partner's car even though he was asked if she could come and collect it.We are also going to court over this but need to know if the police officer was allowed to seize her the owners' car as he knew it was covered as they both clearly had third party cover within the insurance cover.
Ann Marie - 19-Mar-18 @ 10:36 PM
Gayle eaton - Your Question:
Had my car sezied yday parked it up in car park to go meet my daughter who was taking r dog out with myself an younger child we were out for a good 1hr 2 tops to only find out my car had been taken an sezied went to my home adress an a note sed driver in car unknown no insurence but I have in surence it on data base will I get charged for this

Our Response:
Get the proof of your insurance and take it to the police. If there is evidence that your vehicle is insured then your vehicle should be released.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:06 PM
had my car sezied yday parked it up in car park to go meet my daughter who was taking r dog out with myself an younger child we were out for a good 1hr 2 tops to only find out my car had been taken an seziedwent to my home adress an a note sed driver in car unknown no insurence but i have in surence it on data base will i get charged for this
Gayle eaton - 16-Mar-18 @ 1:22 PM
Hi. My car has been seized and I’m a provisional license holder with insurance. I have gone through the necessary procedures at the police station and the only thing left is someone who has a full license and has had it for at least 3yrs. At the moment all my friends and people I know have only had their full driving license for 1-2 years. The police said they can’t continue to send the information the compound for me to recover my car until I get someone with a full driving license who has had it for at least 3yrs and over. I’m just here to ask if someone with full driving license and has had it for 3yrs and over could help me get my car back and also is there any alternative for me to get my car back? I have asked the police if my friend with the full license can drive my car from the impound and they said no because I’m the registered keeper which I still don’t understand. My friend has an insurance and a full license so why not. I’m so stressed out. Tomorrow marks the 6th day since my car was seized. I could have gone for it long time ago but the problem now is someone with a full license who has held it for at least 3yrs. Someone should please help me out. I need help. Thanks
Kayson - 25-Feb-18 @ 5:12 PM
Poppy - Your Question:
My friend had his car seized by the police, it is now being crushed.He has a driving licence which lasts 3 years - (due to prev epilepsy - he has not had a fit for over 13 years). He thought his driving licence was still valid so continued to drive as the DVLA sent him a letter dated 9th Feb saying he must return a form regarding his sight test (he also has gluacoma) also saying it was urgent and that if he did not return it, they may stop his driving licence. He therefore assumed he was ok to still keep driving.On the same date, the police stopped Bob for an unrelated matter and told him he did not have a driving licence. He was unaware of this.They took away the vehicle he was driving; which belonged to a friend.It is now in the pound and they say they are going to crush it.Can they do this?He thought cars were crushed if someone does not have a valid insurance. This car was fully insured, taxed & MOT'd.He feels he was of the impression due to t he DVLA letter to him dated the same date as he was spoken to by the police, that he was still licenced to drive.He has shown the pound where the car now is, the letter and they have taken a photocopy of it. They say something does not seem right.He has asked who he can appeal to about this and they have not helped or advised him.The police are being most unhelpful.He needed this car for his work and has now lost both his jobs & only means of income and his place to live as a result of this car being taken from him.His life is in pieces & I am trying too get advice for him.If you can help it would be appreciated.Jane.

Our Response:
If he didn't have a valid licence, this could have invalidated his insurance hence the car being seized. The car's owner should however be able to get the vehicle back by going the through the correct procedures. A solicitor might be able to help with this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Feb-18 @ 10:07 AM
My friend had his car seized by the police, it is now being crushed. He has a driving licence which lasts 3 years - (due to prev epilepsy - he has not had a fit for over 13 years).He thought his driving licence was still valid so continued to drive as the DVLA sent him a letter dated 9th Feb saying he must return a form regarding his sight test (he also has gluacoma) also saying it was urgent and that if he did not return it, they may stop his driving licence.He therefore assumed he was ok to still keep driving. On the same date, the police stopped Bob for an unrelated matter and told him he did not have a driving licence.He was unaware of this. They took away the vehicle he was driving; which belonged to a friend. It is now in the pound and they say they are going to crush it. Can they do this? He thought cars were crushed if someone does not have a valid insurance. This car was fully insured, taxed & MOT'd. He feels he was of the impression due to t he DVLA letter to him dated the same date as he was spoken to by the police, that he was still licenced to drive. He has shown the pound where the car now is, the letter and they have taken a photocopy of it.They say something does not seem right. He has asked who he can appeal to about this and they have not helped or advised him. The police are being most unhelpful. He needed this car for his work and has now lost both his jobs & only means of income and his place to live as a result of this car being taken from him. His life is in pieces & I am trying too get advice for him. If you can help it would be appreciated. Jane.
Poppy - 20-Feb-18 @ 8:49 AM
Hi, my friend had his car seized because the police said he had no insurance and intact, he did. However the car was not registered in his name yet due to having just bought the car and log book in post. Anyway he has full comprehensive insurance on another car and this car was insured by the seller so therefore he can still drive the car having both been Insured, him by third party fully comp and the car insured still by the seller full comp. Why did the police still have the right to seize the car? And now to get the car back it is £150 impound fee but he doesn't have that kind of money laying around and I feel it was unfair to take the car?
Littlelegs - 24-Jan-18 @ 2:22 PM
abp - Your Question:
Dear reader, I was caught by police when I was going for my work. And my work place is just 0.6 miles from my home. Police was saying you have insurance for social, domestic and pleasure use only. You cannot drive to your work , but my work place is just 0.6 miles from my home. Please advice, now what happen to me.

Our Response:
If you are using your vehicle to get to work, you need insurance cover that incluldes commuting, no matter how near or far away your place of work is. The penalty for driving without the correct insurance can be up to 6 penalty points and £300 fine.
NoPenaltyPoints - 23-Jan-18 @ 12:43 PM
Dear reader, I was caught by police when I was going for my work. And my work place is just 0.6 miles from my home . Police was saying you have insurance for social, domestic and pleasure use only . You cannot drive to your work , but my work place is just 0.6 miles from my home . Please advice, now what happen to me .
abp - 20-Jan-18 @ 11:21 AM
loopy - Your Question:
Hi can my car be seized if I don't have a qualified driver with me I have provincial and insurance

Our Response:
Yes if you are caught driving unaccompanied while on a provisional licence, the police can seize your vehicle.
NoPenaltyPoints - 17-Jan-18 @ 2:46 PM
hi can my car be seized if I don't have a qualified driver with me I have provincial and insurance
loopy - 15-Jan-18 @ 12:17 PM
My vehicle was siezed and the reason I was given was "unroadworthy" however I wasn't given any paperwork at all on having my car siezed. It has been 6 days so far and I have heard nothing. This is a long story cut very short please get in contact with me as I would like to know where I stand
Tyler - 16-Aug-17 @ 11:59 AM
Yaz - Your Question:
I was out on a night out and I had left my car parked outside the club when leaving the club I called for a taxi and we sat in the car waiting for it. The police came and said they had been called in by door staff because they believed I was driving whilst under the influence? I was driving the vehicle the doors was open we was clearly just sat in the vehicle. I asked the police to breathalise me anyway as I had only had two drinks. I also showed them that a taxi had been called and was on its way. 14 officers attended the scene at 1.10am in the morning they had me and my friends there until 5am it took them until 4am to give me a caution claiming I had no insurance? I explained I had insurance but I was unable to get into my emails to prove that. The police officer said she was unable to clarify if what I was saying is try as the motoring beaure wasn't open? Yet she was seizing my vehicle anyway??? I myself in the end left the scene as I was now distressed and felt I had been a victim of the justice system failing me. I was never told at any point that I could go? I refused to sign the document giving the police permission to compound my car as I didn't believe I had broken any laws and that they had given me any options to justify what I was trying to say. The proper police prosecure definitely was taken? What's right do I have and do you think I have enough grounds to take this matters to the courts?

Our Response:
You seek professional legal advice on this as there is more information needed from you etc.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:57 PM
I was out on a night out and I had left my car parked outside the club when leaving the club I called for a taxi and we sat in the car waiting for it. The police came and said they had been called in by door staff because they believed I was driving whilst under the influence? I was driving the vehicle the doors was open we was clearly just sat in the vehicle. I asked the police to breathalise me anyway as I had only had two drinks. I also showed them that a taxi had been called and was on its way. 14 officers attended the scene at 1.10am in the morning they had me and my friends there until 5am it took them until 4am to give me a caution claiming I had no insurance? I explained I had insurance but I was unable to get into my emails to prove that. The police officer said she was unable to clarify if what I was saying is try as the motoring beaure wasn't open? Yet she was seizing my vehicle anyway??? I myself in the end left the scene as I was now distressed and felt I had been a victim of the justice system failing me. I was never told at any point that I could go? I refused to sign the document giving the police permission to compound my car as I didn't believe I had broken any laws and that they had given me any options to justify what I was trying to say. The proper police prosecure definitely was taken? What's right do I have and do you think I have enough grounds to take this matters to the courts?
Yaz - 6-Aug-17 @ 2:12 PM
Brocky - Your Question:
I was stopped by police on routine check on my motorbike, they said that I did not have business use on my insurance so they seized my bike I have insurance for social domestic and pleasure. Will I be able to avoid points as this will take me over 12 points , and I need licience to commute 120 miles to work aday

Our Response:
We can't say whether you will avoid points or not sorry, but the usual fixed penalty £300 and 6 penalty points. If you want to avoid losing your licence you may want to seek professional legal help.
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Aug-17 @ 10:44 AM
I was stopped by police on routine check on my motorbike, they said that I did not have business use on my insurance so they seized my bike I have insurance for social domestic and pleasure . Will I be able to avoid points as this will take me over 12 points , and I need licience to commute 120 miles to work aday
Brocky - 1-Aug-17 @ 4:18 PM
twig - Your Question:
I bought my van and was driving it home unaware that my fully comp insurance on my other didn't cover me.My van was seized and told to prove my documents but they couldn't do anything because I only had the v5c/2 of the log book where do I stand ?

Our Response:
It's likely you will be penalised for driving without insurance. The most common penalty of this offence is £300 and 6 points on your licence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Jul-17 @ 12:01 PM
I bought my van and was driving it home unaware that my fully comp insurance on my other didn't cover me. My van was seized and told to prove my documents but they couldn't do anything because I only had the v5c/2 of the log book where do I stand ?
twig - 1-Jul-17 @ 4:40 PM
Coz - Your Question:
I'll just keep this simple,I understand that I can call the DVLA to declare my vehicle off-road butcan I still phone the DVLA and ask them to declare my vehicle off-road when it has been seized by the police?thanksC

Our Response:
Sorry we really don't know the answer to this. The DVLA should be able to advise.
NoPenaltyPoints - 30-May-17 @ 12:42 PM
My vehicle was seized at the roadside, but no paperwork, information etc was provided. I was told that such action was therefore illegal. Is this so, and if so, what are my chances of succeeding an appeal in court?
CHRI5 - 29-May-17 @ 4:06 PM
I'll just keep this simple, I understand that I can call the DVLA to declare my vehicle off-road but can I still phone the DVLA and ask them to declare my vehicle off-road when it has been seized by the police? thanks C
Coz - 27-May-17 @ 4:25 PM
I've had my car seized by the police Todd for not having insurance. Thing is I did have insurance but apparently the insurance company cancelled the policy abt a month ago. I did not however receive any correspondence from them to that effect. I didn't notice either because I've been with them for abt 3 years and I pay by direct debit. What can I argue?
Nii - 18-May-17 @ 1:26 PM
Oakt- Your Question:
I bought a car through private sale, was stopped driving it home, fined 300 and 6 points, I thought this was allowed and had 7 days to produce document, how else was I to get car home

Our Response:
As long as you had the car taxed, MOT'd and insured you shouldn't have received a penalty.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-May-17 @ 1:49 PM
I bought a car through private sale, was stopped driving it home, fined 300 and 6 points, I thought this was allowed and had 7 days to produce document, how else was I to get car home
Oakt - 5-May-17 @ 7:17 AM
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