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.
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.
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.
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!
So, how are you going to get your car back?
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. This means that you have to have insurance of your own but since the huge cost of the insurance is probably the reason why you didn't have it in the first place, this could be a problem!
Copyright Mavis Astley 2016 All Rights Reserved. Quotes are provided by Alternative Insurance Brokers which is a trading name of Alternative Propositions Limited, Anglia House, Carrs Road, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 2LA with whom we have a trading agreement only. Alternative Propositions Limited are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 602443.