This is something that can worry a lot of people, and understandably so. If you park in a tow away zone or if someone else has your car legally towed for any other reason, what happens to it? Will there be vehicle damage? Will you lose any personal property you left in your car? What can towing companies legally do to your car?
This article aims to answer all of these questions and hopefully help you feel not quite as stressed out if your car is ever towed without your consent.
First of all, if a towing company receives a call to move an illegally parked vehicle, the towing operator will drive out to hook the car in question up to the truck. If you return to your car before it’s completely hooked up to the tow truck, then you can pay what’s called a “drop fee” to have the tow truck operator cancel the job. Your car will not be towed, and you won’t have to pay as much as a normal towing fee. The maximum drop fee for vehicles under 10,000 lb is $125.00.
If you don’t catch your car in time to pay the drop fee, then it will be towed to a storage facility where it will be held onto until you pay the towing fee. In general, this fee can’t be any more than $250.00 for cars under 10,000 lb, but the exact amount depends on the specific weight of your vehicle.
While in storage, your car is perfectly safe, and any decent towing company will take care not to damage your vehicle while hooking and unhooking it from the tow truck. Storage facilities are also required to be easily accessible to public transportation routes, so paying the fee is really the only thing you should have to worry about if your car is towed.
Also, storage companies are not allowed to hold onto any personal belongings that may be in your vehicle. If you left something you need in your car, you are allowed to stop by the storage facility any time to pick it up for no cost. The towing fee only concerns the vehicle, not other personal properties.
Auctioning the Vehicle
Storage companies are required to send you a written notification that your vehicle is in storage within 10 days of the towing company dropping the vehicle off. After you receive this notification, you have 20 days to stop by and pay the fee to get your car back; if you don’t pay the fee within this time, then the storage company is allowed to sell your vehicle at auction! So be sure you have the right address on your registration, or else you may not get the notification.
In the end, these rules are designed to try to be as fair as possible and give you plenty of time to pay your dues without any consequences. It can be difficult to pay an unexpected $200 plus fee on top of all your bills, but at least you can know that your vehicle will be perfectly safe and untouched as long as you pay what you owe.
If you have any questions, call us at 512 – 738 – 5748; we’d be happy to talk about towing anytime!