How to Get a Towed Car Out

by Louise Balle

When your car is towed, the first thought that might come to mind is, was it stolen? But learning that the car was towed can be just as distressing because you will not be reimbursed for anything---you will end up having to pay out of your pocket instead. Popular television shows like "Parking Wars" on A&E and "Operation Repo" clearly demonstrate the stress involved when dealing with a towed car. Be sure that you have all of your paperwork straight before going in to retrieve a towed car because you could end up with more headaches than you first started with when visiting the tow lot.

Step 1

Call your local police department or other non-emergency city services line (such as 311 in New York) and tell the representative that your car was towed. The local police department keeps records of recently towed vehicles. The police will give you information about where your car has been towed and what is required to get the car out. Ask the reason why your car was towed so that you can be prepared for any scenario.

Step 2

Confirm that your car is properly registered before going to the tow lot. Get documentation from your insurance company that you do in fact have valid insurance coverage for the car. If your registration and insurance card are located inside of the vehicle, the personnel at the tow lot will allow you to go retrieve this information.

Step 3

Call the tow lot and ask if you need a "tow release" from your town's courthouse to get your car back. This is a piece of paper from the traffic courts stating that the car is fine to be released. Some municipalities require that you appear in traffic court and pay additional fees before getting your towed car if you were towed due to traffic violations.

Step 4

Bring enough money with you to cover the cost of the tow, storage fees and any tickets that you owe on the car from this instance and past issues. In some cases, the tow lot will not hold you immediately responsible for the tickets---it will allow you to send payment for the tickets to the parking authority separately. In other cases, the tow lot will not give you the car until your ticket obligations are paid in full.

Step 5

Present the following items to get your car out of tow: payment along with a valid insurance card, registration and license (must be for the person who owns the car), as well as a tow release form if required. The tow lot representative will review everything and give you a release card.

Step 6

Bring the card to the guard outside of the tow lot, and he or she will take you to your car. Only a licensed driver is allowed to drive the car off of the lot.

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