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
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.
|Avon and Somerset Police||2,762||2,933||2,915||2,394||1,636||12,640|
|British Transport Police||2||2||7||20||8||39|
|City of London Police||298||530||530||398||177||1,933|
|Devon and Cornwall Police||1,709||2,251||2,333||1,852||1,258||9,403|
|Greater Manchester Police||6,106||6,730||7,307||7,265||4,727||32,135|
|Metropolitan Police Service||14,551||13,489||12,760||13,763||8,337||62,900|
|North Wales Police||1,188||1,086||1,111||1,014||589||4,988|
|North Yorkshire Police||1,057||990||1,111||984||724||4,866|
|Police Service of Northern Ireland||2,622||2,184||1,978||1,609||967||9,360|
|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|
|Thames Valley Police||3,388||3,796||3,282||2,725||1,624||14,815|
|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|
|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
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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