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Seized Car Insurance – When can the police seize your car?

When can the police seize your car?

The police have several powers that enable them to seize vehicles, under Section 165 Road Traffic Act 1988. Which of the sections an officer will use in order to seize your car is mostly circumstantial. Motorised vehicles may be seized for a variety of reasons, which can lead to an unnecessary inconvenience should you choose to ignore the basic ways to avoid impounding. As a responsible driver, it is crucial that you make yourself aware of the circumstances where an officer is legally permitted to seize your vehicle, and do your utmost to avoid any chance of having your vehicle impounded in the future.

Being aware of when an officer is legally permitted to impound your vehicle can also inform you of when your vehicle is being seized without warrant. In these cases, you can make a legal case and gain compensation.

This article aims to outline the situations when an officer may seize your vehicle and how you can reclaim your vehicle should you have yours seized.

Police Seizing Vehicle

Police Seizing Vehicle

Dangerous driving

The police may seize your vehicle due to careless or dangerous driving. In this situation, an officer has observed (or has had a report of) you and or your vehicle driving hazardously, putting your life and other’s lives in jeopardy. This means that your driving has been deemed to be a threat to other drivers or pedestrians. The term ‘dangerous driving’ covers a large number of offenses, such as too frequent lane switches, speeding and antisocial driving. However, in the majority of instances, those who drive dangerously will be initially met with a warning. This warning is issued against not only the driver but also the vehicle in question. Therefore, if the person driving the car was to gather another offense whilst driving a different vehicle, that vehicle could be seized. Similarly, if someone else was to drive the vehicle in the first instance of dangerous driving, then the first vehicle could be seized.

It is important to note that the warning is not exclusive to the driver, as whilst you may not have had a warning for dangerous driving in the past, if you’re driving a vehicle with a history of hazardous driving, then it may be seized. This is an important point of consideration when purchasing a second-hand car.


Should an officer request to see evidence that you’re not driving a vehicle without an appropriate documentation of insurance, failure to comply may result in your vehicle being impounded. Although, this is based on whether the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you do not possess such documentation. Driving without an appropriate licence for the vehicle in question is an offense, which may result in a fine of £1,000 as well as 3 to 6 penalty points.


If the driver of a vehicle does not have an authentic valid licence, then their vehicle may be seized by a uniformed officer. Officers may stop any person driving and request to see documentation proving that they operating their vehicle with a licence. If the person in question fails to comply or does not have any documentation present, then they run a serious risk of having their vehicle seized. Driving any vehicle without a licence is a severe offense, which is taken very seriously by officers.

Failure to stop

If a police officer indicates for you to stop your vehicle and you fail to comply, your risk of having your vehicle seized is high. Officers are required to give you plenty of time to make a full stop, especially, when driving on the motorway, in order to ensure your and other driver’s safety. However, if it appears that you are intentionally avoiding pulling over, or you initiate a chase, then you will have your car seized and potentially even worse punishments. You may be asked to stop for a variety of reasons, which includes if an officer notices a fault with your car, or if you are driving dangerously.

The same applies to those who do stop their vehicles and decide to run away from the scene.

Obstruction or Danger

If an officer believes that your vehicle is posing as an obstruction or danger to pedestrians and other drivers, then it’s more than likely that it will be recovered. Officers are reasonable, however, and will give you plenty of time to move your vehicle, before eventually removing your vehicle. Typically, you will receive a warning before a seizure is made.

Used as evidence

If your vehicle is believed to be evidence for a certain crime or investigation taking place, then it may be recovered until the investigation has come to a conclusion. This falls under the Criminal Evidence Act of 1984, stating that officers may seize any vehicle (evidence) present at a scene of a crime. Failure to comply with the police’s request to recover your vehicle can lead to more substantial legal issues.

Vehicle Recovery after Seizure

The immediate punishment of having your vehicle seized aside, in the case that you’re driving either uninsured or without a licence, you may have your vehicle crushed. After a term of 14 days, if the owner of the seized vehicle fails to present proper documentation of their valid licence, they run the risk of permanent confiscation or the vehicle being destroyed. Drivers will be required to pay a number of fees alongside the cost of recovery. These include secure storage and roadside recovery fees. Typically, secure storage fees can total £15 for each day the vehicle has not been claimed, however, after 14 days you may have your vehicle crushed.

Required documentation in a vehicle

In reality, there are no laws that require drivers to possess their insurance documents at all times, as the police database should, in theory, have all the necessary information already. Although, there are commonly errors on these databases, which mean that officers will almost always allow you to make a call to your insurers, in order to verify details regarding insurance.

If you have been driving without insurance and had your car seized by the police, you will need to take out a specialist seized car insurance policy.Impounded Car Insurance UK are able to source low cost insurance for seized cars. Call 0161 726 5570 Today