Police seize over half a million uninsured cars

October 04, 2022 by

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Data from UK police forces reveals 542,370 cars have been confiscated since 2018

The police have used their powers of confiscation to seize over half a million cars from uninsured drivers since 2018, research has found.

A total of 542,370 cars have been confiscated by forces across the country in the last four and a half years, with 64,682 seized this year alone, and 129,500 confiscated in 2020, when coronavirus lockdowns were still in force.

Those wishing to reclaim their cars must notify the police within seven days and then have a further week to reclaim the car, having obtained insurance for it before they are allowed to take it back. Release and storage fees (up to £200 and £20 a day respectively) need to be paid as well, with the police either selling on or scrapping unclaimed vehicles. 

London’s Metropolitan Police – the largest force in the country – seized the most uninsured cars, taking 62,900 off the roads from 2018 to present. West Midlands Police seized 44,056 cars, while West Yorkshire took 33,829. The highest number of uninsured cars were seized in 2020, when 129,652 were impounded by police for having no insurance. 

Scottish police seized 33,209 cars, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland confiscating 9,360, and Welsh officers taking 22,700 cars.

The data comes from AA Insurance which made a series of freedom of information requests to the UK’s 46 police forces, with all forces bar two responding. 

Year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 TOTAL
Cars seized 115,946 120,531 129,652 111,559 64,682 542,370

Drivers who are uninsured can have their cars confiscated from them by the police under powers given to officers by the Road Traffic Act. Seized vehicles are typically removed to an impound lot, with drivers liable to be prosecuted for driving without insurance, an offence that typically results in six penalty points and a £300 fine. 

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