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Motorist has car seized by police for not having commuting insurance

The VW car was stopped on the M62 by traffic police and later seized (Twitter/West Yorks RPU)

A driver has had their car seized by police – for failing to have insurance for commuting.

Traffic cops stopped the driver of a silver VW on his or her way home from work in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

A quick insurance check revealed the driver was not covered for commuting and also had an incorrect address on the policy.

Police tweeted a picture of the vehicle stopped on the hard shoulder of the M62 and commented: “M62 West, Huddersfield – Driver commuting from work – insurance policy excludes commuting. Also an incorrect address on the policy. Seized and reported.”

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The post immediately provoked plenty of reaction on the site – many of them pointing the finger at the officers.

Twitter user Will wrote: “So let me get this right. There’s drug dealers, terrorists, paedophiles and killers all on the police radar but you stop some person on the way to work and take his/her vehicle because his insurance doesn’t cover commuting? Well done on making WY a safer place.”

Rob Clarke added: “Merry Christmas to you too, keep up the important work.”

Another user wrote: “Seizure for a SLIGHT admin issue is hardly proportional. I can’t fault RPUs broadly and they do a vital job. But this specific collar was absurd, alienating and entirely unfair.”

However, the West Yorkshire Roads Policing Unit later said in another tweet that although it could not discuss the incident in any detail, they sought to “ensure the law is enforced fairly and proportionately”.

The unit added: “If using the vehicle for a class of use not covered, then the vehicle is uninsured for that journey.”

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The tough stance – which was shown in a series of twitter images of vehicles seized over the weekend for driving without insurance – was supported by many others.

Live Stream Data Systems, which checks vehicle histories, said: “Your duty is to fully declare everything to the insurance company and ensure that the proposed policy covers everything you intend to do, then you must ensure you remain within the policy.”

Twitter user Firesnapper999 praised the actions, adding: “Another UNINSURED DRIVER taken off the road. Wonder how those tweeters wld feel if a loved one was injured by an uninsured driver. Online & phone quotes make it clear your cover level when purchasing.”

The police unit also directed people to the Motor Insurance Bureau which published advice in October highlighting the common misconceptions about what vehicle insurance actually covers people for.

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It warns: “If no insurance is identified, or if the police officer has significant concerns about a breach of the insurance policy, the police officer can immediately seize the vehicle.”

Where do you stand on commuting and insurance?

The MIB points out that to use your vehicle to get to and from work, your policy will need to cover use for commuting. This is often referred to as “social, domestic, pleasure and commuting”. You can find out if you are covered for commuting by checking your insurance certificate and schedule.

Policies that include commuting will cover you to drive to your “usual” place of work, but if you drive to another place of business, such as a meeting, conference or an event elsewhere, your policy will need to include “business” use.

Approximately 200 calls per month made to the MIB Police Helpline relate to “class of use”. In many of these cases, the insurance policy did not include “business” use and the driver was on the wrong side of the law.