How To Get My Car Out Of Police Impound For Free

How To Get My Car Out Of Police Impound For Free

Finding an empty parking space where you left your car is an incredibly jarring experience. In the midst of the confusion, shock, and frustration, a sinking feeling sets in as you realize your car has been impounded.

Getting your car back from the impound lot without paying the high fees is an pressing question. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to simply make impound release fees vanish.

However, this comprehensive guide will explore legal solutions that can potentially waive or reimburse fees, extend your time, and allow you to reclaim your car quickly. We’ll first understand the common reasons for police impounds, your notification rights, potential fees, and basic release procedures.

Equipped with that foundation, we’ll examine seven techniques that legally avoid impound expenses or provide more time to gather funds. With diligence and the right strategy, you can get your impounded car back without financial ruin.

Why Police Impound Vehicles

There are a wide range of scenarios where law enforcement will tow a vehicle to a designated impound lot. The most common include:

  • Vehicles left unattended after an accident or breakdown
  • Vehicles parked illegally – no parking zones, blocking hydrants, handicap spots etc.
  • Vehicles with expired/missing registration tags
  • Uninsured vehicles
  • Arrest and seizure of vehicles involved in crimes
  • Abandoned vehicles parked extensively on public property
  • Suspected involvement in criminal activity even if not charged
  • Accumulation of unpaid parking tickets

Reasons for towing and impounding your car vary by state and municipality. However, in nearly all cases, the registered owner is responsible for retrieving the vehicle and pays all accrued fees. There are only very limited situations where you can get an impounded car back without paying.

Why Police Impound Vehicles
Why Police Impound Vehicles

Notification of Vehicle Impound

If your car gets towed by police, they must notify you promptly using the contact information on your registration. In most states, notice is provided by:

  • Phone call within 24 hours of impound
  • Mailed notice within 3 business days

If you were arrested and your car seized as evidence, officers only need notify a spouse, family member or employer if available. Review your state laws to understand exact rules on impound notifications in your area.

Common Impound Release Fees

Expect to pay the following typical fees when picking up your impounded vehicle:

  • Towing fees – From private company contracted by police. Often $100-$250+ depending on distance.
  • Impound/storage fees – Daily rate for keeping the vehicle on their lot, around $20-$50 per day.
  • Lien processing fee – If the impound lot places a lien on the car title, roughly $150.
  • Ticket fines – Any unpaid tickets must be settled before release.
  • Release fee – Admin fee payable to the impound lot, $50-$100.
  • Additional police fines – Possible citations for registration, parking violations etc.

The overall impound cost can easily exceed $500-$1000 after just a few days. Now let’s examine ways you may legally avoid or recover these expenses.

Ways To Get Your Impounded Car For Free

Very few options exist for dodging impound fees entirely. Most approaches focus on recovering costs through insurance, buyer protection plans, bond waivers or reimbursement. Here are the seven best options for getting your impounded car released without paying initially:

File Insurance Claim

If your car was damaged, vandalized or stolen leading to the impound – file a claim immediately. Both comprehensive and collision coverage will typically reimburse reasonable tow and impound fees, less any policy deductible. Carefully review exclusions to understand exactly what is covered and any limits.

File Insurance Claim

Use Roadside Assistance Coverage

Most major auto insurance providers offer add-on roadside assistance plans that reimburse towing and impound fees up to defined limits per incident – often $50-$100.

Call your insurer promptly to start the reimbursement process and provide all required documentation like tow and impound receipts.

Request a Tow/Impound Waiver

Ask the police department or impound lot about waiver eligibility for low income individuals, victims of crimes, weather emergencies etc. This fully waives fees but limited cases qualify. Be ready to show documentation like tax returns.

pay stubs, public assistance records, or bank statements that prove financial hardship. Act quickly, as waivers take time to process and waiving storage fees is unlikely if they have already accrued over many days.

Apply For a Cost Bond Exemption

In some states, you can request a cost bond exemption based on financial hardship if you wish to challenge the validity of impound fees. This provisionally releases your vehicle while any hearings proceed. Be prepared to show documentation of income,

assets, and expenses proving your inability to afford the bond. Timeliness is important as the exemption may take weeks to obtain, during which storage fees will continue accumulating if not granted.

Partner With Lender or Dealer

If you still have an outstanding auto loan, contact the lender to ask if they will advance the impound fees to protect their collateral vehicle, adding it to your overall loan balance. This avoids large upfront costs. Similarly, contact the selling

dealership if the impounded car is still under manufacturer warranty for breakdown coverage – they may advance fees before seeking reimbursement from the warranty later. In both cases, be persistent in explaining how their help releases the vehicle quickly.

Partner With Lender Or Dealer
Partner With Lender or Dealer

Put Expenses on Credit Card

High interest credit cards, while expensive long-term, allow you to pay impound fees over time rather than upfront. Opt for cards offering 0% introductory APR periods, sign-up bonuses or cash back rewards to help offset interest charges.

Make payments promptly once released to avoid finance charges accumulating. Using a credit card sacrifices low long-term costs for the benefit of getting your car out quickly while slowly repaying the charges.

Crowdsource Funds From Family/Friends

Borrowing the release amount from family and friends avoids financing costs. Be transparent about the situation and timeline for repaying any amounts lent. Clarify whether it’s a gift or loan upfront.

Reclaiming an impounded vehicle is rarely quick or inexpensive. But utilizing the above options reduces the initial financial burden and spreads payments over time. Now let’s examine the step-by-step process for getting your car back.

Help From Employer

If your vehicle was impounded while on company business or during work hours, ask your employer for assistance in covering fees and fines. Especially for positions requiring driving, they may advance funds to quickly reclaim the work vehicle. This prevents lost productivity from transportation issues.

Make your case by emphasizing your good employment record and that you’ll continue fulfilling duties reliably once the car is released. Offer reasonable repayment terms through payroll deduction. Most employers want to help valued staff get through temporary transportation challenges.

Charity/Community Support

Local charities, churches, and community organizations may have special funds set aside to assist members who have vehicles impounded due to temporary financial setbacks. Explain your diligent efforts to budget and meet other obligations but this impound expense exceeds current means.

Emphasize your transportation hardship and ask for one-time support to get your car released and avoid further fees. This aid lets you get back to work and self-sufficiency. Be willing to provide income documentation and volunteer in return if required.

Charity/Community Support
Charity/Community Support

Payday Loan

Payday loans allow immediate cash which can cover impound costs. But interest rates are notoriously high. Read terms closely, try to borrow only what you need for fees, and repay ASAP to avoid charges spiraling.

Use apps allowing partial payments on your next paydays. While expensive, payday lenders provide fast approvals and money in hand to retrieve impounded cars in a pinch. Weigh heavy interest fees against daily impound storage charges.

Impound Release Process Overview

Expect the following general sequence of events when retrieving your impounded vehicle:

  1. Receive Notice of Impound Details

Review the notice from police impound or the tow company to identify the impound location, reasons for towing, itemized fees owed, and release procedures.

  1. Gather Required Documentation

Collect registration/title documentation and any other paperwork like ticket payment receipts, cost waivers, insurance auth etc. Needed documents depend on local regulations.

  1. Review Total Owed Fees

Call ahead for the total bill with all towing, storage, release fees and citations. Inform them of any waived amounts like through insurance.

  1. Pay All Required Impound Fees

Arrange payment through insurance, credit cards, loans from family or any other option. Payment plans are rarely available.

  1. Complete Impound Release Paperwork

Sign agreements with the impound lot releasing them of liability when retrieving your vehicle. Obtain copies for your records.

  1. Inspect Vehicle Thoroughly

Carefully check for any damage, missing items, or other issues before driving off the lot. Document any problems with photos and video. Report damage to insurance quickly.

  1. Resolve any Tickets, Insurance, Registration Issues

Going through the impound process is a good opportunity to get insurance, registration, parking tickets, and other lingering issues resolved so you avoid future tows.

While certainly inconvenient, understanding the protocols helps minimize headaches and delays picking up your car.

Avoiding Police Impounds in the Future

Renew registration tags early before expiring. Sign up for renewal reminders. Maintain insurance with no lapse in coverage. Review policy documents carefully. Resolve parking tickets quickly before late fees accrue. Sign up for parking apps to prevent tickets.

  • If drinking, use rideshare or assign a sober driver. Never drink and drive. Move vehicles as requested for snow removal, street cleaning etc. Check posted signs.
  • When parking on streets, ensure you are in a valid spot not in tow zones. If breakdowns occur, immediately inform police to prevent abandonment towing.
  • Consider theft deterrents like car alarms, wheel locks etc. to avoid a police impound recovery. Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle to prevent concerned citizen calls to police.
Avoiding Police Impounds In The Future
Avoiding Police Impounds in the Future

Avoiding questionable parking situations, keeping registration and insurance active, and rectifying tickets quickly keeps you off law enforcement’s tow list. But mistakes happen occasionally. Stay calm if you find your car impounded.

Follow the steps outlined in this guide to reclaim your wheels in the most cost-effective manner. With pragmatic solutions, you will be back on the road quickly and hopefully avoid further impounds in the future.


How do I get my car out of impound in Oklahoma?

To get your car out of impound in Oklahoma, you will need to provide proof of ownership and insurance, pay any outstanding fines and fees, and may need to show you have a valid license. The impound lot will have information on the full process and requirements for claiming your vehicle. Act quickly as storage fees build up daily.

How do I get rid of impound?

If your car was impounded, you cannot simply get rid of the impound itself. You need to follow the proper procedures for claiming your impounded vehicle, which typically involves showing proof of ownership and insurance, paying fines and fees, and proving you have a valid license. The requirements vary by state, so check with the specific impound lot where your car is held. Avoid lengthy impounds to minimize storage fees.

How much is impound in Michigan?

Impound rates in Michigan vary by municipality but generally start at around $150-$200 for the impound fee plus $20-$30 per day for storage fees. Additional fees may apply for towing, notifications, and lien processing. To get a car out of impound in MI, you’ll need to show proof of ownership and valid license, as well as pay all accrued fines and fees. Act fast to avoid excessive storage costs.

How do I get my car back from impound in NYC?

To get your car back from impound in New York City, contact the impound lot to find out the requirements, which include showing proof of ownership, current registration and insurance, payment of towing and daily storage fees, and a valid driver’s license. Additional steps like emissions testing may be required for release. Impound fees in NYC start around $185 plus $20 per day storage. Retrieve promptly to minimize fees.

My car was impounded and I cannot afford to get it out, how long do I have to get my things out of the car?

If you cannot afford to retrieve your impounded car, you typically have 10-30 days after receiving notice to remove any personal possessions and items of value. Confirm the timeframe with your local impound laws. Retrieving belongings does not waive fees owed on the vehicle itself.

Can I leave my car in the impound lot and let the towing company keep it, without paying fees, and buy a new car later?

No, you remain liable for all accrued impound and towing fees. After a period of time, the impound lot can process a lien sale to recoup their costs, but any deficit balance would still fall to you. Abandoning a vehicle does not erase responsibility for fees.

My car got impounded, Can I sell it to the impound With out paying for fees?

No, an impound lot has no obligation to purchase an impounded vehicle. As owner, you must pay all fees and fines to redeem the car before selling it to any party – including the impound lot if they were even willing. Impound facilities only want to recoup costs owed.

What happens if an owner never reclaims a towed vehicle?

If an impounded car goes unclaimed after 30-90 days, the impound lot can process it as an abandoned vehicle, auction it through a lien sale and apply proceeds to unpaid fees you still owe. You could be sent to collections or sued for any deficit balance.

What type lawyer can help me to get my car out of the impound?

Consult consumer rights, consumer protection, or traffic attorneys with expertise contesting impound fees and towing practices. They can advise options to recover possessions, fight invalid tickets, extend time, obtain waivers based on improper practices, and even sue for damages if rights were violated.


Having your car impounded can be an incredibly stressful and financially straining situation. While few options exist to legally avoid all fees, thoughtful planning using insurance, lender help, cost waivers, credit cards, and other creative solutions can reduce the initial

out-of-pocket burden. Work quickly to gather needed documentation, understand the impound release process, and identify ways to spread or defer expenses over time. Most importantly, address any underlying issues like registration, insurance lapses,

or parking violations that led to the impound to avoid repeating this scenario. With diligence and asking the right questions, you can develop an effective strategy to reclaim your impounded car without breaking the bank using the techniques outlined in this guide.

The road to recovering your wheels may be lengthy, but know there are always solutions if you think creatively and lean on your available resources and support system.

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