Your car is gone from its parking spot. You might not have seen the signage. Or you might have been in a hurry and ignored that no parking sign. Either way, if your car is now missing, it may have been towed.
Determine if Car Was Towed
If you find your car is missing from the spot you left it, don't panic. It may not have been stolen; it might have been towed. Look around for towing signs or no parking signs. If there is a sign saying anything about towing, there probably is a phone number for a towing company. Call and see if they took your car.
Video of the Day
If there isn't a towing sign, but you see no parking signs, call the local police. Do not call 911. This is not an emergency. Instead, call the nearest police precinct. Make sure you have your car's model, make, color and license plate number. Be ready with your vehicle identification number as well. The police will let you know if they authorized your car's towing. Ask the police where your car was taken. You'll then be able to make arrangements to retrieve it.
If no one has authorized the towing, then your car may be stolen, and you can report it to the police.
Consider also: What To Do if Your Car Is Stolen
If you believe your car shouldn't have been towed, document your reasons.
Paying the Tow Charge
Having a car towed costs money. You will need to pay towing fees. The storage lot will cost as well. In Los Angeles, you'll pay around $137 the first hour and $68 for each additional half-hour. There is also a release fee that runs around $115. Other miscellaneous charges may be applied.
Besides the towing costs, you will be required to pay for the unpaid parking tickets or any other tickets that have accumulated.
You may receive a discount if you pay with cash instead of credit.
Consider also: Must a Towing Company Notify a Lien Holder?
Have Documents Ready
To retrieve a towed car, you will need a driver's license and proof of insurance. Documents showing ownership and registration is also required. In addition, the towing company needs to see evidence that you paid the parking tickets or other fines that caused your car to be towed.
Consider also: How to Find Stolen Vehicles
Retrieving Your Car
Once all tickets and fines have been paid and you have paid all towing fees, you will be able to have your car back. Be sure to check for damage to your vehicle before leaving the impound lot. Note any damage you think the towing company caused and report it immediately.
Vehicle Damaged by Tow
If you think your vehicle has been damaged, try to resolve the matter with the towing company. Keep in mind that most towing companies take pictures of the car before it is towed, so you want to be sure about your accusations. Ask to see these pictures to verify your claim.
Try to reach an agreement on reimbursement for the damages if you can't reach an agreement with the towing company, file a report with the police department.
It depends on your car insurance policy whether you will have coverage for the damages incurred from towing. An insurance company will not pay for towing due to a parking violation or unpaid moving citations.
Towing and Car Insurance Rates
Usually, a towed car will not affect insurance rates. But if your car is towed often or if it is towed because of unpaid moving violations that you neglected to pay, a red flag goes up. The insurance company may see you as a risk because of poor driving habits.
An insurance company may also be concerned about financial instability if you are towed often and have unpaid tickets.
Consider also: Six Types of Insurance Claims
Wrongfully Towed Car
If you believe your car shouldn't have been towed, document your reasons. Take pictures of any signs or lack of signage where you were parked. Make sure you don't have any outstanding tickets. At that point, you can lodge a complaint with the police. Always keep receipts that you have paid for parking while you're away from your car.