(Another) foreign bike impounded

Hi All,

A guy I work with is Greek and brought his bike over in September. He has a valid insurance document that states his cover is valid in the UK. He is planning to UkKregister it once he’s been here 6 months.

On the way to work this morning he got pulled, for no apparent reason, and they impounded his bike, for riding without insurance. He carries his documents as wants to stay on the right side of the law. The coppers on the scene looked at them, but wouldn’t accept them.

He now faces a £150 cost +£20 a day for impounding his bike, plus £200 fine and 6 points on his license. He can’t get his bike out until he proves he has valid insurance, but he has, and they still took it!!

What can he do?

I remember a similar thread on here recently, but in that case the guy in question had been using his bike over here for 3 years, and it’s much less likely his insurance was valid.

Any information appreciated, the guy doesn’t know what to do. If he is in the wrong, then so be it, but I’m not convinced either way.

I reckon he will have to speak to his insurance company and either get them to telephone the Police to confirm he has valid insurance, or alternatively write to them to confirm.

Were the insurance documents in English?

He had a an insurance document that had numerous languages on it, including English! He’s been pretty conscientious in making sure he was not breaking the rules.

Have they said why they consider the documents to be invalid? Maybe they are dealing with him under this rule:


[…] where the keeper of the vehicle becomes resident in this country, the vehicle must immediately be registered and licensed here. Once a vehicle has been registered in this country its use must be covered by a motor insurance policy issued by a motor insurer authorised in the UK.

If your friend is resident in the UK (e.g. working and intending to stay more than six months), his foreign insurance is no longer valid. I believe this is a relatively recent change in the law (or at least it’s only quite recently that it’s started being enforced!).

I’d suggest getting local insurance as a matter of priority (so he gets the bike back and does not incur more fees), and then argues the point with the police in writing.


Over here (Barcelona) the foreign cover of my U.K. insurance policy only covered me for 30 days, so I thought I had some time to sort a new policy out, towards the end of the 30 days I found out that in fact I had been riding uninsured as the foreign cover was only valid for holidays - I started work here 5 days after arriving.

I was lucky no-one stopped me!

kaos we need you!

The fact that the OP it states “On the way to work this morning he got pulled” would indicate that he is a resident & not a visitor & therefore subject to the above legislation.

If he has UK driving license he declaired that he is a resident. That means he had to register his bike in UK since

Coming to think of it, I think I did read about the residents not qualifying law somewhere, possibly the previous thread I mentioned, and yes he does work here, so that is probably what covers it.

He has a standard EU license, so wouldn’t need to change to a UK one. If you have a photocard license, it looks exactly the same, even the category letters on teh back are the same, but it does have the notes in Greek!

It does look from the details so far, that he needed to UK register the bike as soon as he got it here, and get UK insurance. However as he is paying for insurance, and he spoke to the insurers to check it would be valid before riding over here, I would have hoped there was something he could do. I do of course realise that insurers are more than happy to take your money, and then deny you were covered later, and that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Thanks to all posters, and if anyone has any further info, I’ll pass it on, with the hope that it may help.


isn’t the problem now going to be that he won’t be able to insure it to remove from impound as it still has greek plates and can’t change the plates to register it here as he cannot get it removed from the impound?

If I know greek red tape (which I do a bit), he’ll be waiting for a while before the greek insurers do anything…

I was wondering that. As you say, if Greek insurance isn’t valid, won’t he have to get it UK registered before he can get it insured? In which case he’s stuffed as doesn’t he need it inspected to get a UK registration, but it’s in the pound!

The bike does not need to be on UK plates to be insured by a UK insurer against a UK address, that said the fact that it’s not on UK plates may limit the number of insurers that are willing to cover it.

Spot on and having become resident he should have re-registered the bike and obtained appropriate insurance.

Insurers will usually allow you to insure the vehicle against the VIN for up to 30 days. That’s what they did for me a few years ago when I was registering an imported scooter.

tell him to call Carole Nash, I got a good quote and they insure on chassis number, he can get it insured, get it home and then start the import procedures…

A quick update…

The guy went to the pound, with the same documents he showed the police in the morning, and they said it was all fine, let him have it back!

Whether this is strictly correct or not I can’t comment, but it seems crazy that the police impound the bike for not being insured, even though shown the documents, and the pound release it on viewing the same documents.

Perhaps the £150 charge is what sways it…

Unfortunately I don’t really do insurance law.

He should write to the police asking for a full refund of the £150, since they have impounded his bike without cause and forced him to pay to have it released, despite having the documents for the police at the time they impounded the bike.

See what response he gets.

If he is greek and he needs a hand writing the lettter…

To whom it may concern,

On XX of XXXXXXX 2012 my motorcycle registration number XXX XXX was impounded by the police on XXXXXX Road/Street/Avenue etc.

At the time I was stopped by the police I had insurance cover from my home country of Greece. I showed the documents to the police officers that stopped me. I was told that these were not adequate and that they were impounding my motorcycle.

On XX of XXXX 2012 I attended the police pound at XXXXXXXX, XXXXXX. I again showed my Greek insurance Documents, which had English translations, to the parking pound attendant. I was told that these were adequate and my motorcycle was released to me.

I was asked to pay £150 for this exercise and I feel that this is an unjust fee to charge me for the errors made by police officers at the side of the road.

I would like to request a full refund.

Yours sincerely


If he has any numbers, ie police numbers from documents given to him it will probably speed things up.

Ill get an official translator, pay him his fee and bring it to the office station! and say IN YOR FACE~!!!