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More than half a million uninsured cars have been taken off UK roads since 2018

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

Around 64,682 uninsured cars have been impounded this year already, an investigation by AA Insurance has revealed.

Of the 542,370 cars seized by the police between 2018 and 2022, most were seized in 2020 as Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions were in place and some vehicle owners decided to cancel their insurance policies to save money while they could drive a car.

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

More than half a million uninsured cars have left our roads in 5 years – and many more are still on the road today: AA Insurance reveals figures on seized engines from 2018

The AA sent a freedom of information request to all 46 UK police forces about the number of uninsured cars they impounded each year since 2018, with 44 police forces providing figures.

Two who did not provide figures were Cheshire Police, which said its systems could not easily determine how many cars were impounded for driving without insurance, and Kent Police, which did not respond at all.

Despite the lockdown and restrictions on movement throughout 2020, the majority of uninsured vehicles have been impounded with more than 129,652 vehicles.

The capital police removed more cars from the roads than any other – 62,900 during the five-year period.

The West Midlands had the second highest volume of uninsured cars impounded, with 44,056 taken.

West Yorkshire rounded out the top three with 33,829 vehicles impounded.

More than 33,000 drivers in Scotland were impounded, compared to 22,700 drivers in Wales and 9,360 drivers in Northern Ireland.

HOW MANY UNINSURED VEHICLES WERE TOWED WHERE YOU LIVE?
Police 2018 year 2019 year 2020 year 2021 year 2022 year TOGETHER
Avon and Somerset Police 2,762 2,933 2,915 2,394 1636 12,640
Bedfordshire Police 1609 1,729 1765 1,437 808 7,348
British Transport Police 2 2 7 20 8 39
Cambridgeshire Police 1999 2,104 1,841 1610 928 8,482
City of London Police 298 530 530 398 177 1933
Cleveland Police 1,707 1,613 1943 1575 790 7,628
Cumbria Police 763 731 769 632 387 3 282
Derbyshire Police 2,477 2,193 2,219 2,033 1,058 9,980
Devon and Cornwall Police 1,709 2,251 2333 1,852 1,258 9 403
Dorset Police 1099 965 1001 792 530 4,387
Durham Police 1,119 1,392 1501 1,117 648 5,777
Dyfed Powis Police 725 585 622 391 218 2,541
Essex Police 3,394 3,980 4,135 3,555 2,126 17 190
Gloucestershire Police 1,085 1,067 1,261 1,020 N/A 4,433
Greater Manchester Police 6,106 6,730 7307 7,265 4,727 32,135
Gwent Police 1376 1,418 1,515 1,213 740 6,262
Hampshire Constabulary 2,448 2,383 2,334 1,959 1434 10,558
Hertfordshire Police 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 Police 3369 3330 3,357 2,578 1,523 14,157
Leicestershire Police 2,431 2670 3,512 2,965 1364 12,942
Lincolnshire Police 1,938 2 120 1,976 1650 1,086 8,770
Merseyside Police 3040 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 Police 1603 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 2444 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 2444 3,156 2,467 1,516 11,667
Police Service of Northern Ireland 2,622 2,184 1,978 1609 967 9360
Police Scotland 6,837 6,851 8,811 6,747 3,963 33,209
South Wales Police 2,577 1996 2,147 1,238 972 8,930
South Yorkshire Police 2,566 3,111 3,915 2999 1604 14 195
Staffordshire Police 2,956 2,546 2,744 2,804 1,316 12366
Suffolk Police 1,270 1,412 1386 1,152 557 5,777
Surrey Police 1,658 1,542 1656 1,574 848 7,278
Sussex Police 1992 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 1636 648 7,484
West Mercia Police 2,171 2,417 2485 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
TOGETHER 115,946 120,531 129652 111,559 64,682 542370
Source: AA Insurance. NB: The Freedom of Information request has been sent to all 46 police divisions. Only Cheshire and Kent Police failed to respond with data

AA Insurance has warned that the figures could be the tip of the iceberg, suggesting there could be as many as one million uninsured drivers on the road each year – and as the cost of living crisis deepens, more motorists could be lured onto the roads without insurance.

Insurers have been the target of a crackdown by regulators to stop price increases for renewal quotes, but many are still reporting the cost of their policies rising. Ours ten tips on how to reduce the cost of car insurance guide explains how to save money and compare prices.

Gus Park, managing director of AA Insurance Services, said: “Every driver fears being involved in an accident, but the worst part is when the other party is uninsured.

“Unfortunately, we know that when times are tough some people try to cut costs and one of the areas where people tend to take risks is by dropping their car insurance.

“However, these figures show that forces across the country are on the lookout for and will seize an uninsured vehicle.

“Don’t take any chances. Not only is there a chance of your car being impounded, but the criminal and financial hassles are not worth the risk.’

Despite the lockdown and restrictions on movement throughout 2020, the majority of uninsured vehicles have been impounded with more than 129,652 vehicles.  This is likely due to a rise in people canceling their insurance policies to save money amid the pandemic

Despite the lockdown and restrictions on movement throughout 2020, the majority of uninsured vehicles have been impounded with more than 129,652 vehicles. This is likely due to a rise in people canceling their insurance policies to save money amid the pandemic

The Insurance Fraud Bureau launched a new campaign on Monday raise awareness about ghost brokers using social media to sell fake insurance policies to young drivers.

Victims who are scammed into believing they are covered are actually driving without insurance, putting them at risk of prosecution.

It said more than 55,000 cases had been reported in the past year, compared with about 21,000 12 months earlier.

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