Here, you can find out how to reclaim a vehicle that has been seized under Section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means an officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was uninsured or was not driving in accordance with their driving licence.
Your vehicle can also be seized if it's being driven on a public road or place and it's registered as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)
If your vehicle has been seized for any of these reasons the driver should have received a seizure notice.
If you were driving the vehicle, you'll have been given a seizure notice by the officer at the roadside. The officer will also tell you which police station you need to attend to prove your identity and ownership of the car.
The correct documents you need to reclaim your vehicle
When you visit the nominated police station you must produce these documents:
a valid driving licence
certificate of insurance
proof of ownership (a V5C or V5C/10)
The town enquiry officer will check with the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) that the insurance is valid for the vehicle and driver and, if correct, will complete a release form. Please note, you must make sure that your insurance has a cover clause to allow the vehicle to be removed from a police compound. You should discuss this with your insurer before going to the nominated police station.
The release form will be sent to the Vehicle Recovery Department and the appropriate recovery agent.
You can then go to the recovery agent's garage to pay the recovery and storage charges and collect your vehicle.
You have 14 days after the vehicle has been released to collect your vehicle or it will be disposed of or sold.
These charges are set by government, not the police, and vary depending on the weight and condition of the vehicle.
Please note, the daily storage charges start from midday on the next working day after the vehicle was seized.
If your vehicle is over three years old and doesn't have a current MOT test pass certificate you can only drive it on a public road from the recovery depot to an MOT testing station. You must:
bring evidence from a garage of a pre-booked MOT appointment, or
arrange recovery at your own expense
If someone is reclaiming the vehicle on your behalf
If you can't go to the recovery agent's garage in person someone else can collect the vehicle on your behalf.
That person must bring with them the documents listed above and also:
an authority letter – a letter signed by you giving the person the authority to collect on your behalf
a copy of your passport or driving licence – so we can verify the signature on the letter of authority
The person collecting the vehicle on your behalf must also have a valid driving licence and a valid certificate of insurance that allows them to reclaim a vehicle and drive it away from the recovery agent's garage.
Collecting property from a seized vehicle
If you want to get property from the seized vehicle, but not the vehicle itself, you need to bring proof that you're the vehicle's owner or registered keeper (a V5C or V5C/10).
Someone else can collect property on your behalf, but they need to bring:
a letter of authority, signed by you, giving them permission to collect property from the vehicle
a copy of your passport or driving licence so we can verify the letter is signed by you
Please note, if the vehicle is badly damaged it might not be possible to get into it to remove property.
We'll hold your property for three months before we dispose of it.
If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice, isn't roadworthy or won’t start
If your vehicle has been issued with a PG9 prohibition notice, isn’t roadworthy or won’t start, you need to arrange for a fully trained, equipped and insured vehicle recovery operator to collect it at your own expense.
Provisional driving licence holders
If you’re driving under a provisional licence you must bring someone who:
is over 21, and
has held a licence for more than three years
Make sure you have L plates on the vehicle.
If you don’t want to reclaim your vehicle
If you don’t want to reclaim your vehicle, this is called 'disclaiming', you don’t need to take any action. We'll dispose of it after 14 days.
Things to be aware of
Bring a set of keys, in case the driver (if you weren't the driver) didn't leave the keys in the vehicle.
If your vehicle doesn’t have correct number plates and you’re planning on driving it, you must attach valid replacement plates when you collect it.