How Long Can A Tow Company Hold Your Car

Tow companies are allowed to tow cars for a variety of reasons – a car parked illegally, a car that’s been abandoned, or a car that’s been repossessed due to financial issues. But how long can a tow company hold your car? It depends.

The law, which varies from state to state, generally outlines the process and time limit for towing and storage of a car. It’s important for tow companies to follow the law, or they could face fines, losing their business license and even criminal penalties. The law typically requires a tow company to quickly notify the vehicle owner after towing of their location and charges and to release the car immediately when requested. The law typically requires tow companies to have lien and impound procedures in place, with the details stated in their contracts.

According to most states’ laws, the maximum time a vehicle can be held at a tow yard is 30 days, but that can be shortened depending on the circumstances. For example, a car may be released immediately if the owner is able to prove ownership and provide valid identification. Once the owner has been notified, they can arrange to pay any fees, show proof of insurance and reclaim the car. However, if the owner cannot be found or the car is not claimed within 30 days, the tow company can refer the matter to the state or their legal representatives.

The cost of towing and storing is generally passed on to the vehicle owner, even if the car was impounded due to illegal parking or an abandoned vehicle. Depending on the state, tow companies may have the right to take legal action if the owner fails to pay the towing and storage fees. Therefore, it’s important for owners to be aware of the tow company regulations in their state and the time period the company can hold the car before legal action can be taken.

It’s also important for vehicle owners to check for their missing car first before assuming that it’s been towed. There have been instances where a car is reported missing only to find out that it was simply left in a parking lot or at a friend’s house. It’s also possible that someone has borrowed the car without the owner’s knowledge and simply forgot to return it. For these cases, it’s best to contact the local police station before assuming that the car has been towed.

Impact of towing laws

Towing laws have been established to avoid abuse and unfair practices. These laws are important for tow companies to be aware of, as failure to follow these laws may result in fines and other penalties. Furthermore, these laws help to protect vehicle owners, as they ensure that the process is fair and that vehicles are not held for extended periods of time without notice.

Towing laws vary from state to state and they often change over time, so it’s a good idea to stay up to date on any changes. Tow companies must ensure they are following the current laws or they may face penalties. Vehicle owners should also be aware of their rights and the processes that tow companies must follow in order to hold a car for more than 30 days.

Insurance implications

When it comes to towing and storage of a car, insurance may or may not cover the costs. Many insurance companies list towing and storage in their policies and have provisions for these types of costs, although coverage varies from policy to policy. Thankfully, some states now require tow companies to provide a list of insurance companies that may cover the costs for the tow and storage.

It’s important to note that insurance policies may also have limits on how much coverage is available and that there may also be a deductible depending on the type of coverage. To be sure, owners should review their policy thoroughly or contact their insurance company to determine their coverage and how they can be reimbursed for costs associated with towing and storage.

Liens against towed vehicles

A lien against a towed vehicle is a legal claim on a car that is held by a tow company or other creditor until certain debts are paid. State towing laws require tow companies to follow certain processes when placing a lien against a towed vehicle and generally allow a 30-day period before they can take legal action to recover costs.

Before a lien can be placed, the tow company must notify the owner of the car in writing, describe in detail the charges due, and provide the owner with proof of the charges. If the charges are not paid within the allotted time, the tow company can then file paperwork to put a lien on the vehicle and take legal action to collect their fees.

Alternatives to towing

Though towing may be necessary in certain instances, it’s important for owners to be aware of the costs and potential penalties for failing to reclaim the car within the allotted time. One way to avoid these costs is to opt for other options such as calling a locksmith or roadside assistance.

In some cases, a locksmith may be able to open the car or replace a lost or stolen key and then make a spare key that the owner can keep as a backup. Additionally, roadside assistance services can provide towing services in certain instances, such as when a car has run out of gas or has battery trouble. Calling these services could be a more cost-effective option, as there will typically be a service fee but no storage costs.

Regulations for towing companies

Towing companies must follow strict regulations and procedures when impounding and holding a car. They must register their business with the state and obtain the appropriate licenses, and follow all state regulations regarding lien and impound procedures. Tow companies should also have a clear protocol for releasing a car once it is requested by the owner.

Towing companies may also be required to have insurance and adhere to certain safety regulations in order to protect both their employees and the public from injury. Furthermore, tow companies should adhere to their contracts and any laws or regulations regarding towing and storage of vehicles in order to avoid any fines or other penalties.


This is a complicated issue, as there are many legal and safety considerations that must be taken into account. It’s important for vehicle owners to be aware of the laws in their state, as well as the consequences of not reclaiming their car in the allotted time frame. It’s also important for tow companies to be aware of the regulations and laws regarding towing and storage and to ensure they are following all applicable laws.

Marjorie Turcios is a seasoned leader and management expert with over 25 years of experience. She has held various leadership positions in private industry, government, and education. She is an advocate for creating win-win solutions and has worked to create successful, lasting change in corporations and organizations. Marjorie is an award-winning author of several books on leadership, mentoring and coaching, and effective communication skills. Her passion is to help others discover their potential and reach new heights in their professional life through her writings. Marjorie resides in Dallas, Texas where she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to different places around the world, and speaking at conferences about her areas of expertise.

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