Warning to check your renewal date as thousands see vehicles seized each year
Around 200,000 vehicles are seized and impounded by UK police forces in a year, with the most common reason being driven or parked on public roads without insurance.*
According to the MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau), there are an estimated 1 million uninsured drivers on UK roads.**
The police can give out a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if a driver is caught driving a vehicle they’re not insured to drive. With the potential for the severity to escalate to an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving and even the cease and destruction of the vehicle – should the matter go to court.***
As of January 2022, a car insurance rule change by the FCA meant that insurers could not ‘walk up’ your insurance premium when it came to renewal time, they must give all customers, not just new customers, access to the most competitive offers. With these changes came updates to the auto renewal process, making it easier for people to opt out or cancel their automatic renewal.
It’s therefore never been so important for drivers to remember when their car insurance policy needs purchased again or this could lead to an increase in drivers unaware their insurance has expired.
Quotezone.co.uk analysed a sample of over 5000 impounded vehicles throughout 2023, with the average driver found to be 35 years old, with no prior claims or motoring convictions. The team at Quotezone.co.uk also noticed a surge in demand for impound insurance across the last quarter, up 33% from August to September and up a further 12% from September to October.
Responding to the research, impound insurance expert Lee Evans from comparison site Quotezone.co.uk, says: “Driving without insurance is one of the most common motoring offences in the UK, with around one million uninsured drivers across our roads.
“Interestingly, the data suggests the issue could simply be an oversight in many cases, with lapsed or out-dated insurance paperwork, given the average culprit has no prior offences.
“It could be that recent changes in renewal legislation earlier this year are beginning to have a knock-on effect. It’s important to double check important documents regularly or set reminders for key dates such as insurance and MOT renewals and driving licence expiry, to ensure details are up to date and that you are fully insured on the road. Worryingly, one of our recent surveys found 39% of people don’t read their insurance terms and conditions in full.
“For those caught without insurance, they could face fines, disqualification from driving, impound charges and penalty points – which can increase insurance premiums by 5% for three penalty points and 25% for six points if they’re starting from a clean licence. Plus, they’ll need to take out additional ‘impound’ insurance in order to have the vehicle released from the pound.
“Although car insurance premium prices are continuing to surge, with the 35-44 year old age group seeing a spike of approximately 14% this year to an average of £712, comparison sites can help drivers compare products and find savings. Plus, there are ways drivers can help keep costs down, such as parking their car in a private driveway, keeping mileage to a minimum and avoiding modifications.”
Lack of insurance is not the only reason vehicles can be impounded, other issues such as stolen, involved in a collision, driving without a licence, parked illegally, untaxed, involved in a crime, driven in an anti-social manner, causing an obstruction or danger and abandoned after an incident involving the police – can all see the vehicle impounded.
Drivers won’t be allowed to reclaim their impounded vehicle without impound insurance, a short-term motor insurance policy that is intended to cover your vehicle for at least 30 days. They’ll also need to take ID, proof of vehicle ownership, a valid driving licence and proof of MOT to the pound to collect it.
If drivers opt not to take out impound insurance then they won’t be allowed to reclaim the vehicle but they’ll still need to go to the pound and ‘disclaim’ it – a process of formally declaring that they don’t want to reclaim the vehicle, this means they are no longer responsible for tax and insurance and the vehicle will be scrapped or sold at auction immediately.
This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.