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My car got towed and I have no money

By Izzy M
Modified on June 6, 2023
My Car Got Towed and I Have No Money!

It can be incredibly stressful when you walk back to your car and notice it is not where you parked it. Once you locate your towed vehicle at an impound lot, you may not be able to retrieve it due to high impound fees. Learn why tow trucks end up towing vehicles and how much money you will need to get your car out of an impound lot.  

How Do I Find My Towed Car?

If a tow truck tows your car to an impound lot, rest easy knowing that locating your vehicle is simple. If you parked in a lot, you might find informational signs of a towing company. These signs have the name of the towing company and a phone number. You may even see towing fees on the sign, which show the towing cost per mile. 

Suppose you do not see any towing signs by your last parked spot. In that case, you can contact local government officials or visit your city webpage. Most cities provide a towed vehicle locator online that helps drivers locate their motor vehicles. You will need to provide the vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate state, license plate, make, model, and year.

Once you locate your car using the towed vehicle locator, you can contact the impound lot to confirm. Keep in mind that it may take time for the impound lot to process your vehicle.  

Why Did a Towing Company Impound My Car?

If you had your car towed, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. Millions of Americans get their car impounded every year. Vehicles are sent to an impound lot for various reasons. Read about some reasons why  

Towed From Public Property

You might have to get your car out of impound if you parked it illegally on public property. A tow truck will tow vehicles if they are blocking an intersection or traffic lane. Certain parking lots have specific uses, such as providing easy access to certain stores. Suppose you parked in a publicly owned or controlled parking facility and did not abide by the intended purpose. In that case, the city may tow your car to an impound lot. 

Towed From Private Property

With proper signage posted, owners of residential properties have the right to send parked vehicles to impound lots. For valid tows, the sign must be visibly displayed near the entrance of the lot. If there is no towing sign on private, non-residential property, the car can still end up towed if left unattended for more than 24 hours.

Unpaid Tickets and Costs

Do you have multiple unpaid parking tickets, speeding tickets, or even unpaid DMV registration costs? The city can tow your car to an impound lot. The exact number of unpaid tickets that lead to impoundment depends on your city. For example, in Chicago, police officers can put a boot on your car and tow it to an impound lot if you have three or more parking tickets.   

Driving Without Car Insurance

Auto insurance is mandatory in most states, although each state has unique minimum insurance requirements. New Hampshire and Virginia are the only states in the United States that do not require drivers to possess car insurance. Suppose you do not live in one of these two states. Your car can be sent to an impound lot if a police officer pulls you over and you cannot provide proof of auto insurance coverage.

No Driver’s License or Expired License

In certain states, it’s possible to have your car impounded if a police officer catches you driving without a valid driver’s license. If an officer pulls you over and you cannot provide a valid license, your car can be sent to an impound lot. You may also face penalties such as fines and a misdemeanor offense that results in jail time.  

Towing and Impound Fees

Getting your car out of impound can cost hundreds of dollars! You have to pay numerous impound fees to get your car out of an impound lot and back on the road. Many people find themselves struggling to reclaim their vehicles from impound lots due to the various costs. 

Take a look at some of the vehicle impoundment fees you may have to pay:

Boot Fees

Before towing a vehicle for unpaid tickets, police will often put a boot on one of the tires to prevent the owner from driving. The cost of a boot fine varies by location, but most people can expect to pay over $100. 

Initial Tow Fees

An initial tow fee is the amount of money you have to pay for having your vehicle towed. Towing costs vary by location, but this fee can be upwards of $100. The initial towing fee can be much higher if you have a large vehicle, such as an SUV. Vehicles over a certain weight may require special towing equipment, which raises the price.   

Impound Fees

Impound fees, or storage fees, are the price you pay for storing the car at an impound lot. This fee typically costs less than the initial towing fee, so you may pay less than $100 for storage. However, this fee can quickly add up the longer your car sits in the impound lot. 

Additional Fees

There may be additional fees charged by the tow company. If a tow truck tows your car over a specific mileage, you could expect to pay long-distance towing fees. If your vehicle was in an accident, the tow company might add a cleanup fee to your bill. This can be incredibly frustrating. Not only do you have to worry about paying car repairs with no money after an accident, but additional fees for the wreckage. 

How Can I Afford To Get My Car Out of Impound?

Many people need financial help getting their car out of impound. Luckily, various financing options are available for drivers, such as acquiring money from lenders and asking for price reductions. 

If you need financial assistance getting your car out of impound, you can look for free emergency financial aid programs. Many cities have non-profit organizations or community action agencies that offer free legal assistance and financial guidance. Speaking with a lawyer could help you better understand your options and if you stand a good chance of getting fees waived. You may also be able to get fast cash through hardship grants

Get Impound Fees Waived

If you successfully dispute the ticket that led to your car getting towed, you could get your impound fees waived. Appearing in city court and proving the ticket was issued in error, or having a valid excuse, can result in waived fees by the court. You may also try filing a complaint with the city. 

Get Impound Fees Waived Reduced

A supervisor at the police department may be able to reduce your towing fees if you can provide proof of your inability to pay impound fees. You will need to provide photos of your vehicle and the tow site, identification, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. If the supervisor cannot or will not help, ask if you can speak with someone higher up the chain of command. 

Use a Fast Cash Loan

Payment plans could help you afford the high cost of getting your car out of impound. If you need money to cover the cost until your next paycheck, you can apply for an online payday loan. You do not need perfect credit to qualify for a payday loan, but the money must be repaid quickly—within two weeks. If you need more time for repayment, consider a personal loan instead of a payday loan. 

Personal loans offer fast cash to eligible borrowers. You only need minimum documentation to get a personal loan, and you can even complete the approval process entirely online. Payment plans can be short or extended based on your financial needs. 

References:
How to Get Your Car Out of Impound for Free
Unpaid Parking and Camera Tickets
How much car insurance is required in all 50 states
The Most Common Reasons Vehicles Get Towed

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