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Impounded car insurance

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Having your car impounded is no fun for anyone, and if you don’t recover it in 14 days, it could be crushed.

There’s a process you must follow to get your car back. First, you’ll need to find out where your car has been impounded. Then, when you go to the pound, you’ll have to show proof of your identity and ownership of the vehicle and pay any outstanding charges.

Importantly, to drive your car from the pound, you’ll need to provide proof that the car has valid insurance for at least 30 days. Most standard insurers won’t provide cover for an impounded vehicle, so your best bet is impound insurance.

What is impounded car insurance?

Impound insurance, also known as compound insurance, is a form of short-term cover for drivers whose car has been seized and impounded by the police. Impounded car insurance policies typically provide cover for 30 days, which is the minimum the police will accept to release your car from the pound. No impounded car insurance policy will cover you for just the day you collect your car from the pound.

You have two options for impound insurance:

Additional impounded car insurance

Additional impounded car insurance is a type of add-on cover. Your car insurance company can add it to your current policy for an additional cost. It’s a good idea to check in with your car insurance company in case impound insurance is already included in your standard cover. If it isn’t, your insurer may sell you this add-on to get your car out of the pound.

Temporary impound release car insurance

Temporary impound-release car insurance is a standalone policy that usually lasts a minimum of 30 days and is designed specifically to cover a car to get it out of the pound and back on the road. Temporary impound-release car insurance is different from standard temporary car insurance, which may not cover your impounded car.

To get either type of impound insurance, you need to be the registered keeper of the impounded car and hold a licence to drive it. Some impounded car insurance policies will only cover drivers aged 21 and over. 

You can still get impounded car insurance cover if you’re a learner, but you won’t be able to collect the car from the pound alone. You’ll need to bring someone who is a full licence holder, over 30 years old and has been driving for at least five years. You have to be the one who drives the car from the pound, and before you leave, you’ll have to make sure the learner L plates are clearly displayed on the car.

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What are the reasons for cars being impounded?

Your car can be impounded for a surprisingly long list of reasons, including the following:

Parking illegally

Your car can be clamped or towed to a pound if it’s parked illegally or believed to have been abandoned. Examples include parking near the brow of a hill, opposite a traffic island, too close to a junction or opposite another vehicle if it creates an obstruction.


If you park your car on private land without the landowner’s permission, they can call the police and have your car impounded.

Being uninsured

Your car must be insured to legally drive it in the UK. If you fail to produce valid insurance documents when asked by the police, your car can be impounded.

Being untaxed

Car tax is a legal requirement in the UK. If you can’t prove your car is taxed when asked, the police or NSL, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) enforcement arm, can impound your car.

Being unlicensed

An unlicensed car is any vehicle that doesn’t display a valid licence plate or registration. Unlicensed cars can be impounded.

Driving recklessly

Reckless driving, such as speeding or carelessly overtaking, can be enough of a reason for the police to impound your car. The police usually have to warn the driver in the first instance, but only if this is possible.

Getting stolen and then recovered by the police

If your car has been reported stolen and the police find it, they’ll arrange for it to be taken to a pound to keep it safe until you can retrieve it.

Getting in an accident

Police can impound your car after an accident if it’s no longer roadworthy and/or you’re too injured to move it yourself.

Causing an obstruction or hazard

If your parked car is found to be causing an obstruction or a hazard, the police can arrange for it to be taken to the pound. Parking in a dangerous position, such as on zig-zag lines or other pedestrian crossings, can be considered hazardous. If you park opposite or within 10 metres of a junction or over a dropped kerb, you’re considered to be causing an obstruction.

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What to do if your car is impounded

If your car is impounded, you’ll need to find out where your vehicle is and pay the charges to release it. If your car was impounded because it was not taxed, you’ll also need to show confirmation or a receipt to prove you’ve paid your vehicle tax.

To find out where your car has been taken, call your local police station by dialling 101 and asking for your local police. 

If you think your car has been impounded because it’s untaxed, call NSL at 0343 224 1999 to find out where it’s been taken.


You’ll have to pay the cost of your car being taken to the pound, known as a removal charge, as well as a charge for storage.

These charges are set by the government, not the police, and they vary depending on the weight and condition of the vehicle – the heavier and more damaged the vehicle is, the higher the charges.

The daily storage charges start from midday on the day after the vehicle was seized. 

You can pay in cash or by card at the pound. You usually can’t make a payment over the phone.

Vehicle type, position and condition Removal charge Storage charge
Car/light van on the road, upright and not substantially damaged £192 £26
Any two-wheeled vehicle, whatever condition or position, on or off the road £192 £13
Car/light van on the road but not upright, substantially damaged or both £320 £26
Car/light van off the road, upright and not substantially damaged £256 £26
Car/light van off the road but not upright, substantially damaged or both £384 £26

For charges for other sizes of vehicles, visit

If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice, isn’t roadworthy, can’t be driven or won’t start, you’ll need to arrange for a fully trained, equipped and insured vehicle recovery operator to collect it from the pound at your expense.

You may be allowed to jumpstart your car at the pound, but you’ll need to check with the staff beforehand and fill out a form.

What information do I need to provide to get my car back on the road?

Before you can get your car out of the pound, you’ll need to present a range of documents. Without them, you won’t be able to drive away. Here’s what you need:

The car log book to show proof of ownership

This means either the full log book (V5C) or a new keeper supplement (V5C/10) and a verifiable and in-date bill of sale.

The MOT for that vehicle

You’ll need to bring a valid MOT or evidence of a pre-booked MOT appointment to get your car out of the pound unless your car is being removed from the pound on a recovery truck.

Proof of identity

Proof of identity in the UK means a valid photo ID, such as one of the following:

  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport
  • EU national identity card
  • Immigration document
  • Freedom Pass

The police will not accept a student or employer’s ID.

Valid insurance documentation for the car

You’ll need a valid insurance policy for the car to drive it out of the pound and onto the road. If you don’t have insurance, you need to arrange and pay for a recovery truck to remove it for you.

Impounded car insurance policies last for 30 days, which gives you time to decide what to do with your car. This might mean selling it, declaring it SORN (off the road) or getting it back on the road.

How do I secure the best impounded car insurance?

First things first – check your current car insurance policy. Most policies don’t cover impounded cars, but you may be lucky.

If you find you’re not covered under your standard car insurance policy, you’ll need to shop around to get the best impounded car insurance.

Comparison websites are a good place to start looking for the cheapest impounded car insurance., CompareTheMarket, MoneySuperMarket and GoCompare all offer impounded car insurance.

When comparing quotes to get cheap impounded car insurance using comparison websites, you’ll usually need to select “temporary car insurance” first, then specify that you want impounded car insurance.

You may find you need to go with a less well-known specialist insurer to get impounded car insurance. Be sure to check online for customer reviews if you’re unfamiliar with the brand name.

Additional drivers can’t be covered under impounded car insurance, only the named driver on the policy, who must be the car’s owner. Impounded car insurance typically won’t cover exporting the car, making modifications, using it for business or commuting purposes or hiring it out. 

Remember, every day your car is at the pound, you’re being charged, so it’s a good idea to get impounded car insurance quickly to get your car out of the pound as soon as possible. Arranging cover is quick and easy online.

Impound car insurance FAQs

Yes, you can collect property from an impounded car but not the car itself. You’ll need to bring proof to show you’re the car’s owner, such as a valid ID and your original vehicle registration document, the V5C logbook.

If you want someone else to collect property from an impounded car on your behalf, they’ll need to bring a letter of authority that you’ve signed to grant them permission and a copy of your passport or driving licence so the police can verify you signed the letter.

Be aware that if your car has been in an accident and is very badly damaged, it might not be possible to get into it to collect your property.

Yes, under certain circumstances. Responsibility for the impounded car sits with the vehicle’s registered keeper. The registered keeper is the person who paid for and is named on the road tax, MOT and insurance. Usually, only the registered keeper of the car can reclaim it from the pound once they’ve produced the required documents.

If the registered keeper of the car is unable to go to the pound and pick the car up, they can send someone on their behalf. This person must bring additional documents:

  1. An authority letter – a letter signed by the registered keeper of the car giving the person the authority to collect it on their behalf
  2. A copy of the registered keeper’s passport or driving licence so the police can verify the signature on the letter of authority
  3. A valid certificate of insurance for the car

The police, the local council and the DVLA all have the right to clamp your car if it’s parked illegally. The DVLA can clamp your car if it’s untaxed on public roads (but not your property). 

Your car can be clamped for the following reasons:

  • It’s causing an obstruction, even if it’s broken down
  • Your insurance is invalid
  • It’s a danger to other road users (for example, it’s overloaded or damaged)

When your car is clamped, an INF32 leaflet should be attached to it. This will show which authority clamped it and who you should contact to get your car released. There will also be a reference number – give this to the authority when you contact them. You’ll be told how to pay the release fee and any other fines.

If the DVLA has clamped your car because it’s untaxed, you’ll need to tax the car and pay a £100 fine to get it released. If you don’t want to tax the vehicle, you’ll have to pay another £160 in addition to the £100.

Impounded car insurance is more expensive than standard temporary insurance partly owing to the reasons the car was impounded. These can range from the car being involved in an accident to reckless driving or parking, so insurers take the view that drivers who have their car impounded are a higher risk. Higher risk means higher costs for the car’s owner and potentially for the insurer. Another reason impounded car insurance is more expensive is because fewer insurers provide it, so there’s less competition in the market.

Laura Miller round image

Laura Miller

Money Writer

Laura Miller is a freelance journalist, editor, and producer. She has a wealth of consumer finance experience, having written about money matters and business for over 15 years.

During her tenure as a freelance writer, she has worked for ITN, Wired, and The Sunday Times, as well as financial institutions such as Aegon, the Chartered Insurance Institute, and Pension Bee, where she’s presenter of the Pension Confident Podcast.

Laura has previously held roles at The Times, where she was the Acting Editor of Times Money Mentor, The Telegraph as a senior finance reporter and was the co-host of the It’s Your Money Podcast, which was renowned for making complex finance issues accessible, and The Financial Times, where she worked as a News Editor. Laura has also worked at CNN,, and as a producer at Radio 5 Live.


Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.