June 23, 2024
How to get your car out of impound without insurance


Having your car impounded and trying to retrieve it can be a difficult scenario for any motorist. No matter the reason for your vehicle being impounded, it’s crucial to grasp that there are specific steps you must adhere to, notably paying the towing and impound charges, in order to get your car back. You’ll usually need to provide proof of insurance to reclaim your car from impound, but what if you don’t have car insurance? That’s when things might become particularly challenging. So, let’s explore how you can successfully secure your vehicle from an impound yard, even when you’re not insured.


What happens when your car is impounded?

When your car is impounded, it essentially means that your vehicle has been seized and taken to an impound lot by a police department or a government agency. This action is generally taken without prior notice, and law enforcement officials are not obligated to have a discussion with you about it. The length of time your car can be impounded varies widely based on the laws in your state. It could be as short as 48 hours or as long as an entire year. In some states, like California, there are laws that allow a 30-day hold on an impounded vehicle for certain situations.


When a vehicle is impounded, per day storage fees apply to every day the car is there. If you find out that your car has been impounded, try to get it out right away to avoid additional storage fees and the possibility of losing ownership of the vehicle. Many states have a time limit on how long a car can stay in the impound lot before the towing company is allowed to sell or scrap the car for parts.


Does getting your car impounded affect your insurance?

The act of having your car impounded does not directly affect your car insurance rates. However, if your car was impounded because of a lack of insurance, being unregistered or because of moving violations, this could potentially lead to higher premiums. Driving without insurance is considered “risky behavior” and is a rating factor insurance companies underwrite for.


If you are stopped due to speeding or a DUI, driving without insurance is usually an additional offense that causes more state fees and an additional surcharge to your car insurance. Maintaining an active insurance policy is a simple way to avoid these extra expenses.


Reasons why your car might be impounded

There are several reasons why your car might be impounded. Here are a few common scenarios:


Driving without a valid driver’s license: If you’re caught driving without a valid license, your car can be impounded.

Driving without active car insurance: Driving without insurance is a serious violation and can lead to your car being impounded in most states.

Unpaid parking tickets: Accumulation of unpaid parking tickets can lead to your car being towed and impounded.

Illegal parking: If you park your car illegally, it can be towed and impounded.

Unregistered car: In most states, your vehicle needs to be registered before it can be driven or parked on a public road. Note that having an expired registration is different and typically warrants a ticket, not impound.

Driving under the influence: Drivers who get pulled over for a DUI/DWI will usually get their car impounded whether they have active insurance or not. Getting your car out of impound after a DUI/DWI can be especially difficult because you may lose your driving privileges.

READ THIS: What is Body Mass Index and its Effect on the Life Insurance Premium?

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Can the police tow your car for not having insurance?

Yes, the police can tow your car for not having insurance in many states. If you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle, you may receive a citation to appear in court with proof of insurance and only need to pay a fine.


However, every state and situation is different. In many states, the police have access to license plate readers and can determine if you are driving uninsured before they even pull you over. While being stopped for speeding or reckless driving may increase the chance of having your uninsured vehicle impounded, it is common for a car to be impounded at an insurance check.


Can I get my car out of impound without car insurance?

The process of getting your car back from the impound lot can be challenging even when you do have insurance. First, you’ll need to reach out to the impound lot to clarify if your car has to stay there for a specific time and what the release prerequisites are. Then, you’ll need to compile your ID and ownership proof documents like the car title and registration. Finally, you’ll need to secure funds to cover all the impound fees, towing costs and any other related expenses and bring them to the impound lot along with your proof of insurance. If you don’t have an active policy, you will need to secure one before your vehicle will be released in most states.


Can I get car insurance while my car is impounded?

Yes, it’s possible to take out insurance on a car that’s currently impounded. If your car is stuck in an impound lot without insurance, you may need to secure coverage before being permitted to retrieve it. Many insurance companies conveniently offer the option to search for and buy a policy online within minutes, which could be immensely beneficial if you’re pressed to show proof of insurance to the impound lot urgently.


How to get insurance for an impounded car

In order to get your vehicle back, you must show current car insurance proof. This is a rule for all vehicles registered in the U.S. (except New Hampshire) that are being used on public roads. Let’s break down what this process may look like:


Contact your prior carrier and ask if they are able to reinstate your auto policy without a lapse. In a situation where a policy is canceled for nonpayment and it has only been a day or two, there is a chance they will continue the policy without a lapse which would allow you to potentially have your ticket and impound fees waived.

If you can not have your policy reinstated, ask if you can have your policy started immediately so you can pick your car up that day.

Not all carriers offer same day coverage or have a 24/7 sales department. You may need to switch car insurance companies if you are dealing with this situation after hours. If you are not able to secure coverage with your prior carrier, check online for a company that offers same-day coverage and can either email or fax an ID card to you right away.

Keep in mind that you will need to have enough funds available to pay for your car insurance policy and the fees associated with the impound to get your car back.

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