You are driving down the road minding your own business when you see a blue flashing light in your rear mirror. You pull over to the side of the road, a police officer comes over to you, asks you to get out of the car, and 15 min later the truck arrives to take your car away and you are left to complete your journey by public transport, or on foot if necessary. Unlikely? Hardly, it is now a common occurrence and it will become even more common in the future.
How did they catch you?
The likelihood is that your car has been taken away because the police officer had reason to believe that you were not insured to drive that vehicle. This was easy to check up on since there is a central database which contains details of all the car insurance policies in the UK, and the authorities are using automatic cameras which can read numberplates and compare them against the details in this database almost instantaneously. The vast majority of people who are caught driving whilst uninsured are trapped by one of these cameras.
What happens to my car?
Your car will now be taken to a police controlled pound. It will remain there for at least 14 days, but at the end of this period the likelihood is that it will be scrapped, or, if not, it will be sold by auction and the proceeds will disappear into government funds, leaving nothing for you.
How do I get my car back?
If you want to get your car back you will need to take to the pound the 'producer' that you were given, proof of ownership such as a logbook, some photo ID and an insurance certificate. This last item is usually the difficult one since the majority of people who are stopped for having an uninsured vehicle were uninsured in the first place because they couldn't afford it. It is hardly surprising that around 40% of the cars which are impounded in the UK are scrapped, even though many of them would otherwise be worth thousands of pounds on the open market. Oh, and don't forget to take plenty of money to pay the impounding fee and storage charges.
How do I get insured?
Ring 0808 264 0860 now and a friendly specialist should be able to get you a quote for a year's policy or a 30 day one (this is the minimum that would be accepted by the police) at a reasonable cost.
Isn't there a cheaper way?
No. One method which used to work was to get a friend who had insurance on a car which covered him or her for 'any vehicle not belonging' to drive it away for you. This resulted in a lot of uninsured vehicles arriving back on the road very quickly however, so the loophole was closed sometime ago and the overwhelming majority of insurance policies now stipulate that the cover for other vehicles does not include usage for getting a car out on a pound. Temporary policies of between 1 and 28 days are not accepted either. There is also no point in using a price comparison service because nearly all mainstream insurers will refuse to cover an impounded vehicle (or a driver facing a prosecution for driving without insurance). You need a specialist broker who can advise you on how to proceed, and find you the cheapest impounded car insurance policy which is available to you.
Next: how to get insurance without paying a fortune......