My Car Was Towed: What Should I Do?

It is always expensive to have your car towed, but it may be necessary if it breaks down on the road. What if it gets towed without your knowledge and ends up at the impound lot? Do you know what to do when your car gets towed?

Two of the most common reasons for having a car towed are allowing time to expire on a parking meter or leaving your vehicle in a "no parking" zone. Here are some suggestions to facilitate a less stressful process so that you may go on with the rest of the day as planned.

the five steps of how to retrieve your towed car

1. Stay Calm

Don’t let the stress of the situation get the better of you. Regardless of how you feel, a level-headed, practical approach is best to go through this process. Keep calm and address the towing company in a focused and polite manner.

2. Find Out Where the Car Has Been Towed

If you arrived late to a metered parking space, call the police department non-emergency number (not 911). If you suspect your car got towed by the city, you might be able to find your car online. In some major cities, police departments provide information through a website that lists towed vehicle’s information.

3. Have the Necessary Funds Available

Check for any added costs above the towing charge. Some impounds add a per-day storage fee. Remember that, if your car gets towed for overtime on a metered space, there will be a parking ticket to take care of as well.

When you call the impound lot to investigate if your car has been taken there, have the car's tag number, make, and model at hand. Before you end the call, find out the exact charges you will need to pay. Ask if there is a per-day storage charge and how much it is. Keep in mind that if your car was immobilized with a boot device before being towed, a removal fee will likely be added. Make sure to check whether you can pay with cash, check, or credit card. Some impound lots only accept cash or a cashier's check.

It’s in your best interest to take care of this matter as soon as possible. Per day fees add up quickly and will increase the final payment.

4. Have Your Documents Ready

At the same time that you call to find out about location and charges from the impound, ask what documents you will need to provide to retrieve your car. Generally, you’ll be asked for: driver’s license, proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and registration. Also, if there were any traffic fines, they will probably have to be paid before you get your car back. You might have to fill out some forms, too. If you don't have proper insurance and proof is required, you'll have to purchase a personal auto policy before being able to retrieve your car.

5. Retrieve Your Car!

The retrieval process should go without a hitch as long as you have all the required documents in order and settle any amounts due according to the impound lot’s guidelines.

No one plans to have their car impounded. It’s a good idea to know the basics of how to recover a towed car.

If my car was towed, does it affect my insurance rates?

Parking tickets or having your car towed can affect your insurance rates, especially if it occurs often.

I believe I was towed wrongfully, what should I do?

If you believe your car was towed wrongfully, there are some steps you can take:

  • Document the scene as best as you can: take photographs of where you parked and any signs in the area, and be able to prove where you were while your vehicle was being towed (keep receipts).
  • File a complaint with your local law enforcement agency and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Before driving your vehicle off the impound lot, take photographs and document the state of the vehicle, including interior and exterior damage caused by the tow truck. You may be able to get reimbursement for damage, but only if you can prove that the damage was caused by the tow company.

Infinity Insurance is always ready to answer your insurance-related questions. If you are looking for excellent rates on auto insurance then call one of our friendly Infinity agents at 1-800-INFINITY.

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