How To Find Your Car When It Has Been Towed

Illegal Parking

It's not a fun feeling when you realize your vehicle has been towed. Unfortunately, there's not a "one-size-fits-all" way to find your vehicle if it's been towed. Here are some tips if this happens to you, as well as some ways you can prevent your vehicle from being towed!

What to Do If Your Vehicle Was Towed

Your first instinct when your car has been towed may be to panic. That's understandable, but it's important to keep calm and level-headed in this type of situation so that you can locate your vehicle as soon as possible.

Take note of where you were parked. Is there a sign nearby that indicates who to call if your car has been towed? If you can't find a sign like this, you can call the local police department's non-emergency number. In many cities you can call 3-1-1 to receive information that can help you find your vehicle.

You may be able to look online to find your towed vehicle, but be sure you're only using a certified website to do so. For example, if your vehicle was towed in Chicago, you can search for it online using the Chicago Police Department website.

Fines for Towed Vehicles

Once you've located your vehicle, call the impound lot to check what the fine will be to retrieve it. This varies, but you may be charged a towing fee, as well as a daily storage fee. You should retrieve your car as soon as possible in order to avoid excessive fines.

Documents Needed to Get Your Vehicle out of Impound

When you go to pick up your vehicle, you'll need some documentation. Usually, you'll need to present your proof of insurance, driver's license, vehicle title, and vehicle registration.

Consequences for Towed Vehicle Owners

In addition to the fines you'll be required to pay when your car is towed, you might also face an increase in your car insurance rate.

How to Prevent Your Car from Being Towed

Your vehicle may be towed if you park illegally. Parking laws vary depending on where you are. Here are some areas that you usually cannot park in, unless there's a sign saying you may park there:

  • In a crosswalk
  • On a bridge
  • In a spot reserved for drivers with disabilities, unless you have the required placard or license plate
  • In a fire lane, or too close to a fire hydrant
  • In an intersection
  • In a place that blocks a driveway
  • On the highway
  • Anywhere with a "No Parking" sign
  • In a tunnel
  • Too close to, or on, a railroad crossing
  • A red curb
  • An area marked as a "Tow Zone"

Your vehicle may get towed if you have too many parking tickets, you don't have a parking permit, or even if you've parked in a public parking lot while doing an activity that the parking lot isn't intended for (e.g., parking at a retail store around the corner from a sports arena).

The best way to make sure that your car is never towed is to pay close attention to where you may and may not park.

Take an Online Course to Learn More

We offer courses in a variety of topics including Defensive Driving and Driver Education. In addition to teaching you how to be a safe driver, our courses can help you dismiss a ticket, get your driver license, or even get an insurance discount. We also have courses specifically tailored to mature drivers (i.e., drivers age 55 and older) for insurance discounts.