How do you get a seized car out of a police pound?

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How quickly do I need to claim my impounded car?

It is vital that you go to the police pound to claim your vehicle within seven days. If you fail to do so, then after 14 days it is likely that it will be scrapped or sold, possibly with any property that is in it. If you are unable to attend, perhaps because of illness or other commitments, you must contact the pound immediately to let them know.

What documents will I need to take to the pound?

You will need to produce:

Form 3708: you should have received this form, either from the police officer who confiscated the vehicle, or by post. This gives general guidance about how to recover your vehicle and you should include it with the documentation you take with you.

Proof of ownership: you will have to produce proof that you do in fact own the vehicle. This will usually mean producing the original registration document (V5C) together with photo ID to prove your own identity, such as a passport or driving licence and two documents confirming your address. A driving licence with your address on it, and a recent utility bill should suffice but if you have the old paper licence you should take along a passport too. It would be necessary for your address to match the address on the VC5. Student ID cards or ID cards issued by an employer will not be accepted as proof of identity.

If you have only just bought the vehicle you would need to produce a fully completed tear-off V5C/2 (New Keeper Supplement); and a bill of sale from the previous keeper. The pound staff may wish to contact this previous keeper for confirmation of sale; if they are unable to do so they may refuse to release the vehicle. Remember, the onus is on you to prove your right to take the vehicle away.

Your driving licence: a valid and up-to-date driving licence must be produced. If you are a learner driver you will need a qualified driver, aged over 21, who has held a full licence for at least three years to accompany you and you will have to make sure that the vehicle shows L plates to front and rear. Some pounds stock these and you could buy them if necessary.

Proof of insurance: you can produce a certificate of insurance or a copy of it on your mobile phone if you bought it online. You may be asked to show the email from the insurance company you bought it from, with a link to the policy documents. Short term policies for less than 30 days will not be accepted.
A means of payment: there will be a charge for the vehicle being impounded in the first place, plus a daily storage charge. The vehicle will not be released until these have been paid. You can pay these fees by cash or credit/debit card. Cheques or American Express cards are not normally accepted.

Can I buy insurance for an impounded car?

If this is a new policy the insurance cover must be valid for the release of a vehicle which is being impounded. Please be aware that most insurance policies specifically exclude this so you may well have to go to a specialist broker to obtain cover.

You should also bear in mind that, if lack of insurance was the reason for the vehicle being seized, it is likely that you will be facing a charge of driving without insurance. The police may well check that you have informed the new insurer of this fact, since failing to do so could invalidate your insurance cover.

So, you should go to an insurance broker who specialises in arranging cover for releasing vehicles from a pound, rather than a price comparison site which would be extremely unlikely to provide you with a suitable policy. An electronic copy of your policy on your mobile phone will normally be accepted, provided that you can show that it came directly from the insurer.

Can I carry out repairs to my car?

You will not normally be allowed to carry out any repairs, or to jumpstart the vehicle whilst it is in the pound. This is, however, often at the discretion of the staff. If they are prepared to assist you, you will probably be expected to sign an indemnity form in case the procedure damages your vehicle or causes other problems. If the vehicle cannot be started then you will need to arrange for a specialist recovery company to collect it. The website may be able to recommend one.

Can I still collect my car even if it has no MOT?

The vehicle should have a current MOT certificate, unless it is exempt. If it needs one, but does not have one, you must make an appointment with an MOT testing station, and take the vehicle straight there after it has been released.

Can I collect my car if it has no tax?

If it is untaxed and it is not possible to do this before you collect it you will probably have to pay a deposit which will be refunded once you can show that you have taxed it.

car released from impound
I got my car back!

Do I have to claim the car in person?

It is normally necessary for you to claim the car in person. if you genuinely cannot do this, someone else can claim it on your behalf but evidence would have to be produced that:

(1) You cannot attend yourself because you are ill or infirm.
(2) You are currently in hospital.
(3) You are in police custody.
(4) You are abroad and cannot return in time.

Documentary proof would have to be produced to back up any of these reasons. Since this may vary from one pound to another you should contact them to see what proof they require. The person collecting your vehicle would have to produce, in addition to the documents listed above, a signed letter of authority from you and a copy of your driving licence or passport with a clearly legible signature.

Can someone else collect the car for me?

it is possible for someone else to collect it but this is more difficult. You can get information here about who can collect an impounded car.

What if I am a learner driver?

You will need to be accompanied by a qualified driver who is over 21 and who has held a full licence for a minimum of three years. You will have to drive the car out of the pound yourself and so you will need to make sure that L plates are fitted. Some pounds may sell these if you cannot get hold of any in time.

Can I sell my car even though it is impounded?

Usually, yes. It has to be a genuine sale though. You may have to attend in person with proof of ID when the new owner collects the car but typically a bill of sale (you can produce one from several sites online; just type in "bill of sale form") and a filled in tear-off V5C/2 (New Keeper Supplement) from the registration documents should be produced. The police will then send this off to the DVLA. Different police authorities have different ways of doing this though, so best contact them to see exactly what they will need if you are in any doubt.


Please remember that the exact process of getting your car back may vary slightly from one police authority to another, so there may be minor variations to take into account. If in any doubt contact the pound right away.

When you get there you may have to queue for a while and be feeling stressed and angry but do remember that the staff there are only doing their job. If you stay calm and co-operative it will be a more pleasant experience for everyone - and it might help you to have your car back more quickly.

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