I had been insured with the same company for nearly 5 years but when I got the renewal quotation in January this year (2021) it was about 20% dearer than the year before. I checked how much I had paid in previous years on my bank statements and, disgracefully, the price had gone up substantially every year. I decided it was time to shop around for a new quote which I did using money supermarket.com and the cheapest prices were around half what I was paying! Little did I realise then that my next insurance policy would be an impounded car policy from impoundedmotorinsurance.com!
However, I contacted the current insurers, told them I was not going to renew the policy – and then my wife informed me that we had a new baby on the way and car insurance went right out of my head!
It was only a week later when I was driving through London that a police officer stepped out and flagged me down. I didn't have a clue at first what the problem was but he told me that I was suspected of driving without insurance! I was horrified and told him that I was in the process of getting a new policy but he pointed out that it made no difference; I was driving the car, I wasn't insured, and therefore I had committed a serious offence. I was asked if I would accept a fixed penalty; I paid £300 by credit card and I was told I would get six penalty points on my driving licence. That wasn't the end of it though.
I got back in my car meaning to drive home; but the police officer ordered me to get out of it and told me that it was being impounded. He gave me a form number 3708 which told me how I should get the car back and where it was being taken, which was Charlton Police Car Pound in Bramshot Avenue in London. Needless to say I was gutted and I had to ring for a cab to take me home. I understand that about half an hour later a low loader came along and the car was taken away to the pound.
I got home and phoned up my old insurance company to ask if they would recommence my policy but they turned me down flat, saying that they would not cover a car that was in a police pound. I then tried numerous other insurers and got the same answer. Finally though I got a short-term policy to cover me for a week and got a cab back into London to Charlton Street.
The staff there didn't exactly laugh at me but they told me that they wouldn't accept the policy and the minimum that they would accept would be a 30 day policy from a company which specified that it could be used for getting a car out of the pound.
By this time it was 7 PM and they closed at 7.30. I was still car-less so I had to phone for another taxi to take me home.
I confess that money right then was tight. My next salary payment was not due in the bank for almost three weeks and I had already paid out my normal household bills. The £300 fine that I had paid pretty well cleaned out my bank account. I explained this to the staff at the pound and although they were sympathetic they told me that if I didn't get my car out of the pound within two weeks I would lose it completely and it would go to the crusher. This was a five-year-old Ford Focus and it was probably worth about £6000; I did not want to lose it!
I found a website called impoundedmotorinsurance.com which gave me details on how to get the car back, and provided links to an insurance company that could cover me. I gave them a ring and got quotes from them. The price for a year's insurance was more than I could afford but they offered me a 30 day policy, which was third party only, and which they assured me would be accepted by the police. It was not cheap but I could afford it – just about.
The following morning I got a cab yet again to the pound and took along my registration document, driving licence and MOT certificate, plus my mobile phone. I was able to use this to show the email I had had from the insurance company which confirmed my policy details. After checking up on these I was told that I could take my car away – just as soon as I had paid the £150 towing charge plus £20 storage fee! Thankfully my credit card limit covered this and I was able to get my car home.
I had to wait until the end of the month to insure the car properly. I shopped around on all the price comparison sites but the lowest cost for a policy was far more than my original renewal quote had been, because in the meanwhile I had had a conviction for driving without insurance. It appears that this is likely to affect my future premiums for the next five years.
I will make sure that I never, never drive whilst uninsured again.
Site text and images are copyright of Tony Gray, 2018.