More than half a million uninsured cars taken off Britain’s roads since 2018

Posted on October 3, 2022Comments Off on More than half a million uninsured cars taken off Britain’s roads since 2018

Almost 550,000 uninsured cars have been seized by police since 2018 as new figures shine a light on the number of motors being used on our roads without cover.

Already this year, some 64,682 uninsured cars have been confiscated, an investigation by AA Insurance has found.

Of the 542,370 cars commandeered by police forces from 2018 to 2022, the most were seized in 2020 when Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions were in place, with some vehicle owners choosing to cancel their insurance policies to save money while they weren’t able to drive. 

This is likely a result of drivers choosing to cancel their insurance during the Covid-related national lockdowns that year, but failing to declare them SORN with the DVLA, remove them from the road and keep them on private property, leading to a rise in offences. 

Over half a million uninsured cars taken off our roads in 5 years - and there are many more still being driven today: AA Insurance provided data on the number of motors seized since 2018

Over half a million uninsured cars taken off our roads in 5 years – and there are many more still being driven today: AA Insurance provided data on the number of motors seized since 2018

The AA sent a Freedom of Information request to all 46 police forces across the UK regarding the number of uninsured motors they had impounded each year since 2018, with 44 providing figures.

The two that didn’t provide figures were Cheshire Constabulary, which said its systems could not easily determine how many cars had been seized for driving without insurance, and Kent Police, which failed to respond at all.

Despite lockdowns and restricted travel throughout 2020, it saw the most uninsured vehicles seized with more than 129,652 cars taken off the road.

The Metropolitan Police took the most cars off the road – a total of 62,900 in the five-year period. 

West Midlands has confiscated the second highest volume of uninsured cars, with 44,056 taken away.

West Yorkshire completed the top three with 33,829 cars seized.

More than 33,000 drivers in Scotland had their cars commandeered, compared to 22,700 Welsh drivers and 9,360 drivers in Northern Ireland. 

HOW MANY UNINSURED CARS HAVE BEEN SEIZED WHERE YOU LIVE? 
Police Force 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 TOTAL
Avon and Somerset Police 2,762 2,933 2,915 2,394 1,636 12,640
Bedfordshire Police 1,609 1,729 1,765 1,437 808 7,348
British Transport Police 2 2 7 20 8 39
Cambridgeshire Constabulary 1,999 2,104 1,841 1,610 928 8,482
City of London Police 298 530 530 398 177 1,933
Cleveland Police 1,707 1,613 1,943 1,575 790 7,628
Cumbria Constabulary 763 731 769 632 387 3,282
Derbyshire Constabulary 2,477 2,193 2,219 2,033 1,058 9,980
Devon and Cornwall Police 1,709 2,251 2,333 1,852 1,258 9,403
Dorset Police 1,099 965 1,001 792 530 4,387
Durham Constabulary 1,119 1,392 1,501 1,117 648 5,777
Dyfed-Powys Police 725 585 622 391 218 2,541
Essex Police 3,394 3,980 4,135 3,555 2,126 17,190
Gloucestershire Constabulary 1,085 1,067 1,261 1,020 N/A 4,433
Greater Manchester Police 6,106 6,730 7,307 7,265 4,727 32,135
Gwent Police 1,376 1,418 1,515 1,213 740 6,262
Hampshire Constabulary 2,448 2,383 2,334 1,959 1,434 10,558
Hertfordshire Constabulary 2,204 2,265 2,358 2,088 1,118 10,033
Humberside Police 2,087 2,412 3,075 2,377 1,169 11,120
Lancashire Constabulary 3,369 3,330 3,357 2,578 1,523 14,157
Leicestershire Police 2,431 2,670 3,512 2,965 1,364 12,942
Lincolnshire Police 1,938 2,120 1,976 1,650 1,086 8,770
Merseyside Police 3,040 3,326 3,231 3,468 2,158 15,223
Metropolitan Police Service 14,551 13,489 12,760 13,763 8,337 62,900
Norfolk Constabulary 1,603 1,686 1,691 1,563 851 7,394
North Wales Police 1,188 1,086 1,111 1,014 589 4,988
Northamptonshire Police 2,084 2,444 3,156 2,467 1,516 11,667
Northumbria Police 1,642 1,558 2,117 1,629 869 7,815
North Yorkshire Police 1,057 990 1,111 984 724 4,866
Nottinghamshire Police 2,084 2,444 3,156 2,467 1,516 11,667
Police Service of Northern Ireland 2,622 2,184 1,978 1,609 967 9,360
Police Scotland 6,837 6,851 8,811 6,747 3,963 33,209
South Wales Police 2,577 1,996 2,147 1,238 972 8,930
South Yorkshire Police 2,566 3,111 3,915 2,999 1,604 14,195
Staffordshire Police 2,956 2,546 2,744 2,804 1,316 12,366
Suffolk Constabulary 1,270 1,412 1,386 1,152 557 5,777
Surrey Police 1,658 1,542 1,656 1,574 848 7,278
Sussex Police 1,992 1,859 2,055 1,979 1,251 9,136
Thames Valley Police 3,388 3,796 3,282 2,725 1,624 14,815
Warwickshire Police 1,507 1,707 1,986 1,636 648 7,484
West Mercia Police 2,171 2,417 2,485 2,084 1,008 10,165
West Midlands Police 8,626 9,836 10,872 9,226 5,496 44,056
West Yorkshire Police 6,873 7,889 8,708 6,734 3,625 33,829
Wiltshire Police 947 959 1,018 776 510 4,210
TOTAL 115,946 120,531 129,652 111,559 64,682 542,370
Source: AA Insurance. NB: Freedom of Information request made to all 46 police forces. Only Cheshire and Kent Police failed to respond with data

AA Insurance warned that these figures could be the tip of an iceberg, estimating that there could be approximately one million uninsured drivers on the road each year – and with the cost-of-living crisis deepening, more motorists might be lured into taking to the roads without insurance.

Insurers have been targeted in a crackdown by regulators to stop raising prices on  renewal quotes but many still report the cost of their policy rising. Our ten tips to cut the cost of car insurance guide explains how to save money and compare prices.

Gus Park, managing director for AA Insurance Services, said: ‘Every driver is worried about being involved in a collision, but worse still is the other party being uninsured.

‘Sadly, we know that when times are hard some people try to cut their costs, and one area people are tempted to chance it, is cutting out their motor insurance. 

‘However, these figures show that forces across the country are on the lookout and will take uninsured car away.

‘Don’t take the risk. Not only is there the chance of having your car seized, but the criminal and financial hardship is not worth the gamble.’

Despite lockdowns and restricted travel throughout 2020, it saw the most uninsured vehicles seized with more than 129,652 cars taken off the road. This is likely due to a rise in the number of people cancelling their insurance policies to save money at the height of the pandemic

Despite lockdowns and restricted travel throughout 2020, it saw the most uninsured vehicles seized with more than 129,652 cars taken off the road. This is likely due to a rise in the number of people cancelling their insurance policies to save money at the height of the pandemic

On Monday, the Insurance Fraud Bureau launched a new campaign to raise awareness about ghost brokers using social media platforms to sell false insurance policies to younger drivers.

Victims who fall for the scam will believe they are covered by are in fact driving without insurance, which puts them at risk of prosecution. 

It said it had seen over 55,000 cases in the last year, up from around 21,000 the 12 months prior.

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