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Alternative Ways to Get Your Car Out of Impound
Most vehicle owners dread impoundment. If you are unfamiliar with the term, vehicle impound is a legal process of seizing a car in a lot until you meet certain conditions; which may include fines and other statutory fees. Once you satisfy the specified requirements, you are allowed to reclaim your vehicle.
If you have had this experience before, you know very well the hassle it can be to get the vehicle released. There is a whole load of paperwork you have to sign and present at the compound plus you have to pay expensive fines and penalties so that you can have your car released. But what’s even more difficult is when you don’t have the right papers required to remove your vehicle from the pound. Ordinarily, you would have to present yourself with the following documents:
  • Proof of your identity
  • Driver’s licence
  • Proof that you are insured as a driver of the vehicle
  • Proof of ownership (ie the registration documents)
So what happens when you don’t have either one or more of these documents? Here are some alternative ways to get your car out of impound.
What If You Don’t Have Insurance?
No matter the reason why your car is impounded, to get it back, you need to have insurance. Getting insurance for impounded vehicles is extremely difficult. Most insurers avoid that cover since it’s deemed as high risk. But, on the off chance that you get a standard annual cover, it will be highly inflated due to your situation and time urgency. Therefore, your alternative is to apply for temporary impounded vehicle insurance which usually covers you for thirty days. This is NOT the same as short term, 1-28 day cover; this does not cover impounded vehicles and it will not be accepted by the authorities.
The 30 days temporary impounded car insurance will only give you the opportunity to beat the 14-day window to get your car back. Once you get this insurance, present the certificate or cover note to the police station along with other required documents (Full driver’s licence, Proof of ownership and MOT). Your car should then be released right away.
What If You Don’t Have a Driver’s Licence?
Driving a vehicle without a valid driver’s licence is a serious offence and may land you in huge trouble especially if you get into an accident. If your car is impounded for not having a driver’s licence, IN THEORY you can still get it back by using a third-party driver. Your family member, friend or someone else can reclaim the vehicle or personal things from the car on your behalf under these conditions;
  • You go in person to the pound and establish your car ownership, after which you can nominate someone else to collect the vehicle on your behalf.
  • The person reclaiming your car must have an authorisation letter signed by you indicating your consent for the third party to obtain the vehicle on your behalf.
  • The third party must also present a copy of your passport as proof of signature.
Should the third party wish to drive the vehicle from the pound, then they must also provide a valid driving licence and certificate of insurance. Do bear in mind though that most insurance policies SPECIFICALLY DO NOT COVER impounded cars, and specialist short-term policies that do cover them can rarely, if ever, be taken out by anyone other than a registered keeper. Some very specialised policies may include it but these are very rare.
Also, note that the same conditions apply to tow services or lift vehicle services that want to collect the car on your behalf. They must also produce evidence that they are trained to carry out this kind of work, that they have the correct equipment and are properly insured; there are many other formalities that they must comply with too. This is expensive and generally a last resort, to recover a valuable vehicle. You should check with the staff at the pound to see if they know of any suitable companies that can do this, or if you find someone yourself you must check that they have already done this sort of work, before hiring them.
Payment of Charges
Whichever alternative way you use to get your car out of impound, you must also pay in full all fines and legal fees before you are allowed to reclaim your vehicle. Charges may vary depending on the condition and overall weight of the car as well as the duration the car has been stored in the pound. Regardless, the primary charges are:
  • Two-wheeled vehicles £10 per day storage and a standard £150 removal charge
  • Cars and light vans: £20 per day storage and a standard £150 removal charge.
Once you have satisfied these conditions, you will be able to remove your vehicle and return to your regular duties. The important this that you should always ensure that whenever your car gets impounded you need to take action within 14 days of the date that your car was impounded to avoid it from being auctioned or destroyed.
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