Let’s start this post out with a disclaimer that you can’t really get your car out of impound without car insurance. You will usually be required to provide proof of car insurance coverage when you are getting your car back from the police impound, and this is not a requirement that can be skipped or substituted.
You are required to follow the auto insurance laws your state has in place in order to drive legally. We’ll cover what you’ll need in order to get your car out of impound and what your car insurance rates may look like after a vehicle impoundment.
What do You Need to Get your Impounded Car Back?
As mentioned before, it’s impossible to get your car out of impound without any proof of car insurance. You’ll need to purchase an auto insurance policy for your impounded car if you do not have one.
We will get into looking for car insurance in a later section. As for insuring your car in impound, it’s not too different from insuring any other vehicle. The only difference is that you may be paying higher auto insurance rates. This can be due to a driving violation or driving offense, such as a dwi offense, that leads to your vehicle impoundement .
When Would Your Car be Impounded by Police?
A car can be impounded after several smaller traffic violations or a single, significant one, such as a dwi offense. Other times, it could be something you have done personally.
Some of the reasons for car impoundment are:
- Unpaid traffic tickets - The car will be impounded once the tickets become numerous and are released only after all fines are paid.
- DUI or DWI- Being pulled over by police while drinking and driving and convicted of a DUI or DWI offense is a major violation that can result in your car being impounded because no one else is able to drive it to safety, as well as get you a fine.
- Ceased as evidence - Your car can be ceased by police if it was involved in a traffic crime or a major offense such as theft, manslaughter, or assault. This scenario isn’t likely if you safely store your car.
- Safety violation - The most common reason for car impoundment is parking violations. Whether it’s in front of a hydrant or on private property, if your car is determined to be a threat to the public, it can be impounded by police and you can get a fine.
- Financial repossession - If your car is on a payment plan, missing payments can cause the owners to repossess the vehicle. While the auto may not end up in an impound lot, they will likely not give you your car back until you make your payment and show proof of insurance.
Can You Get Auto Insurance For Your Car in Impound?
You are easily able to get car insurance for your impounded car. The vehicle is still registered in your name at your state’s DMV. The basic info you’ll need for an auto insurance policy is your driver’s license and your car’s VIN. If there is any lienholder, make note of them. The auto insurer will offer you a policy, but most likely with higher car insurance premium rates.
Wherever you are getting your car insurance premium quote from, auto insurance companies will look at your driving record and see your impoundment along with any traffic violation and driving offense that lead up to it. Car insurance companies may see you as a high-risk driver and set your auto insurance premium rates accordingly.
How much more your car insurance rates will depend on your auto insurance provider and the state you drive in.
To illustrate how different the auto insurance rates can be, let’s look at Illinois:
The average Illinois driver pays around $990 a year for car insurance, while their high-risk counterparts pay $1,570 annually. Meanwhile, the average driver in California pays $1,461 for car insurance in a year, while high-risk drivers there pay $3,765 annually -that’s over a 150% increase. North Carolina is the state that sees the highest rate increases for high-risk drivers at 300%.
Again, these car insurance rate increases are due to the traffic violations leading up to the impoundment rather than the impoundment itself.
Where Can You Find The Best Car Insurance For Your Impounded Car?
If your car was impounded because of a DUI or DWI offense, then your driver’s license was more than likely suspended.
Fortunately, car insurance plays a role in reinstating it with SR22 insurance. An SR22 is more of a certificate than car insurance. The SR22 serves as proof of car insurance for high-risk drivers, especially after a major traffic violation, such as a DUI or DWI offense.
You would still have to buy car insurance, and the only extra charge is the SR22 filing fee of $50. The SR22 would have to be carried out for around three years and renewed on an annual basis. You may have to show your SR22 to the impound lot in order to get your car back.
Even as a high-risk driver and former offender, you still have some variety in your car insurance choices. You can choose from national and local car insurance providers, but local ones tend to be service-worthy for high-risk drivers charged with a drinking and driving offense.
Of course, it always helps to know your state’s liability insurance requirements and your budget needs. You’ll find that every car insurance quote you get will be different, but you should never go with the lowest one immediately. Look at the providers’ customer reviews to see that you are getting your money’s worth.
Your car insurance shouldn’t just be a checkbox for getting your car out of impound; it should be a reliable service you can lean on for the foreseeable future especially in case of an emergency.
How to get Car Out of Impound?
With your car insurance all in order, you can now begin the process of getting your car out of the impound lot.
You can locate your car online on your DMV’s website or by looking up impound lots in your area.
From there, you will need to reach out and find out what you need to do to get it back.
There may be towing fees and paperwork you will need to resolve. You would then show your auto insurance documents along with any paperwork that shows you are also the owner of the car.
There may be some time before you get your car out, but it will go by quicker if you have all the necessary documents.
How Much Does Car Impoundment Cost?
Impound costs can, unfortunately, pile up with each passing day you are trying to get your car back.
These costs can range from $100 to $1,000 depending on why the car was towed, what kind of car it was, how long it’s kept in the lot, and any unpaid tickets.
There may also be a release fee of $250. The impound lot may offer payment plans if you can’t pay it all at once. Towing costs also depend on how many miles the car was towed for. The average cost for a five-mile tow is $80, while a 20-mile one is $145.
If you have comprehensive car insurance coverage and collision coverage in your auto policy, then your auto insurer may pay some of the impound fees, but only if the car was damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen.
What Happens if You Leave Your Car in Impound?
It’s important to claim your vehicle the moment it gets impounded by the police.
Unclaimed cars are often sold by the impound to cover costs. If the money they make from your car isn’t enough to cover every cost, then you will be on the line for them. This can land you in serious financial trouble, especially if you still owe on a payment plan for your car.
However, getting your car impounded is avoidable. You need to drive with your proper car insurance and registration and stay clean of traffic violations. If you don’t have car insurance, then you can forget about getting your car out of impound.
Shopping for car insurance coverage for your uninsured impounded vehicle? Insurance Navy can help!