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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Recovering a Towed Vehicle

Recovering a Towed Vehicle Cost

How Much Does Recovering a Towed Vehicle Cost?

average costTowed from Public Property: $100-$1,000+high costTowed from Private Property: $100-2,000+

State and local laws typically give specific public agencies the authority to tow a vehicle on public property for matters of public interest, including parking violations or if the driver does not have a valid license or proof of insurance, or has been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Private property owners typically have a legal right to remove unauthorized vehicles from the property, with the vehicle owner responsible for the towing costs.

Typical costs:

  • Recovering a vehicle towed by a public agency can cost $100-$1,000 or more depending on the reason the vehicle was towed; the type, size and condition of the vehicle; how long it is stored before it is claimed; and any fees or outstanding fines. Many jurisdictions charge an impound/vehicle release fee of $90-$250 or more. Towing charges can be $100-$800 or more; these are paid to the private tow company, but local laws may set the allowable maximum. If the vehicle is disabled, there may be a flatbed or dolly fee of $40-$150 or more. Storage fees can be $10-$100 a day, depending on local regulations. If the driver was driving without a valid license or while under the influence, the vehicle might not be released for 30 days.
  • For example, in Hawaii[1] the maximum tow fee is $65 or $75 with a dolly, plus $7.50 per mile towed; storage is $25 a day for seven days and $20 per day after that. Sacramento, CA[2] , has a $130 vehicle-release fee plus a maximum $180 tow fee and $50 a day storage. Chicago[3] allows a $150 tow fee for a passenger vehicle with storage at $10 a day for first five days and $35 a day after that.
  • Auto insurance may pay recovery costs if the vehicle was involved in a collision or stolen and then recovered. In addition, some jurisdictions will waive or discount fees for towing and storage of recovered stolen vehicles. Insurance does not typically cover towing costs for parking violations or other infractions.
  • Recovering a vehicle that was towed from private property can cost $100-$2,000 or more. Local laws may set a maximum allowable towing fee. For tows from private property Chapel Hill, NC[4] , allows a maximum fee of $125, or $50 if the vehicle is released to the owner after hook-up but before it is towed away; storage is free for 24 hours and $20 a day after that. Arlington, VA[5] , allows private-property towing charges of $125 for a standard-size vehicle, $250 for vehicles rated 7,501-10,001 pounds and $500 for vehicles over 10,001 pounds; storage is free for 24 hours and $50 a day after that. A Seattle resident[6] received a bill of $1,300 for a car with expired registration that was towed from a large apartment complex.
Related articles: Removing a Car Boot, Attorney Fees, Car Rental

What should be included:
  • If a vehicle is missing from a public area and may have been towed, contact the local police department for information. If the vehicle was towed from private property, the tow company phone number and location should be provided on signs in the parking lot or mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, depending on local regulations.
  • When making inquiries about a towed vehicle, know the license plate number, year, make and color of the vehicle, and the possible tow date; it can be helpful to know the vehicle's VIN number.
  • Recovering a towed vehicle typically requires the registered owner or authorized representative to present a valid ID and proof of ownership (typically a valid registration form), plus proof that all outstanding tickets, fines, fees and registration have been paid and all other requirements have been satisfied.
  • When a vehicle has been towed, the owner's rights and responsibilities may vary by state, and even by city or county. Contact local consumer protection agencies[7] for assistance.
Additional costs:
  • If the vehicle was immobilized with a boot device before being towed, in addition to towing and storage fees there may be a boot-removal fee of $40-$400 or more, plus paying any outstanding parking fines.
  • Typically, if a towed vehicle is not claimed by its owner within a specific length of time, it may be destroyed or sold at auction. If the money received is not enough to cover all costs related to towing, storage and auction, the last known registered owner is held responsible for the unpaid debt.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Towed from apartment
Amount: $390.00
Posted by: a user in Carlsbad, CA.Posted: July 19th, 2023 01:07AM
Towed By: Location: Carlsbad, CA
Reason Towed: No permit
A friend came over for Bible study. He went out at midnight and was towed 15 minutes before he left. I know cause when we got there they only had it 15 minutes. We can print temporary passes for people and I didn't do it. So yes, my fault. Sadly easily avoidable. But the cost is outrageous. More over it's the tow company coming out to find the cars not tenants. Very sad.
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Amount: $370.00
Posted by: Joey D Thomas in Dorchester, MA.Posted: June 9th, 2023 01:06PM
Towed By: Stanley towingLocation: Boston Massachusetts
Reason Towed: Street cleaning
So they said they were not towing for street cleaning because the tickets went up Wake up both My car's gone I call they say oh we started towing again oh when she says yesterday WTF had my car blocked in for over an hour already paid the things they get away with SMH
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Parked near a fire hydrant
Amount: $167.00
Posted by: AnneLaure in Helena, HI.Posted: January 29th, 2022 03:01PM
Towed By: Hawaii towing companyLocation: Oahu
Reason Towed: Parked near fire hydrant
I parked near a fire hydrant in the state Hawaii. Since I’m European and we don’t have these in my home country I had no idea this isn’t allowed. There was no mark on the sideway to say you couldn’t park there.
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Accidentally parked in resident parking
Amount: $218.50
Posted by: Anon195629052 in Rolling Meadows, IL.Posted: January 9th, 2022 03:01PM
Towed By: NWR TowingLocation: Rolling Meadows, IL
Reason Towed: In resident parking instead of guest
I saw a sign for guest parking and parked. Turns out guest parking only covered the first row of spaces. There was no sign saying that where I parked was resident parking.
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Parked in my assigned paid for parking but without new parking tag issued by my apartment complex
Amount: $900.00
Posted by: S Surguine in Carmel, IN.Posted: November 14th, 2021 01:11PM
Towed By: Indy Pro TowLocation: My assigned parking place
Reason Towed: Did not have current parking permit
I was preoccupied with my rent money having been ripped off and so did read mail as I should have which said I needed to pick up my new parking tags from the apartment office or risk being towed. I have lived here 15 years. I am 73 and retired, rarely get outside. Was in shock when I saw my spot empty. Worse when they told me what it would cost to get it back.,Worse, my vehicle ran before it was towed. Now it does not run! I had to join AAA $138.00 just to get it home. Mechanic quoted $2000.00 to get it back up running
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Car broke down about 10 minutes or less outside of JJS car service in Sonora Texas. Told me it was $350 for towing fee, on top of that I didn’t have my title in the car, it was back home in San Anto
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Erika Garay in New Braunfels, TX.Posted: July 31st, 2021 10:07PM
Towed By: JJS auto servicesLocation: 602 N Crockett Avenue
Reason Towed: Engine or transmission wouldn’t turnover
He said the car wasn’t working but the car was trying to start I just couldn’t get the car to turn over. When he asked for my address, he kept making common mistakes on getting it down on paper. Never received any info…
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Amount: $2,000.00
Posted by: Stephanie Ann in Arvada, CO.Posted: June 19th, 2021 08:06AM
Towed By: Cons & crooks towing Co.Location: In front of my apartment
Reason Towed: My placard handicap blew off the mirror.
The tow guy walked around the lots looking for cars that had missing placard. I was in front enjoying the summer evening breexe, soon as I went into put my stuff away in my homebthe vulture swooped in and took my car. I walked out to bring in the rest of my things, go back out & my car is gone rolling down the street. he totaly waited for me to go inside to swoop in and take my car. So unfair im broke till the end of the month. Im disabled. We need a law to at leafy posy a warning before towing. My placard simply fell on the seat.
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Car towed in Portland oregon
Amount: $380.00
Posted by: Forkinator in Portland, OR.Posted: January 16th, 2021 10:01AM
Towed By: Retrieval towingLocation: Portland oregon
Reason Towed: Fire lane
All it took was 15 minutes to ruin my day and make me broke. Thanks retrieval towing!
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Car towed
Amount: $2,200.00
Posted by: Kacy in Meridian, MS.Posted: April 18th, 2020 09:04AM
Towed By: J & j Collsion CenterLocation: Meridian Mississippi 3127 Valley Street
Reason Towed: No License
I feel like I am getting overcharge they started the fee at $200 pick up in not even 10 minutes away from $25 a day and they pick the car up at 7:30 Thursday night 24 hours Will be Friday 7:30 So I’m trying to add up what happened and today is Saturday and they say I am now 250 right now
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My car
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Brandon forbes in Adelaide, Other.Posted: March 23rd, 2020 11:03PM
Towed By: A towing companyLocation: Marion road
Reason Towed: Driving without license and under the in
How much will it cost to get my car out after its been 30 days
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Stolen car recovered but...
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Victim8262838 in Baldwin Park, CA.Posted: March 3rd, 2020 09:03PM
Towed By: Royal CoachesLocation:
Had car stolen and recovered but the fees are already not worth paying. The car(1991 Honda accord) is only worth $1,000 at this point and not sure what state it's in but finished up getting vehicle release form the police and told that the lot closes in 10 mins. Made it with 1 min to spare but was told it would cost $530 and that the reccuring fee is $60 a day and I couldn't pay up then and there so $590 now. I feel as if I'm better off letting them auction it off...
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My car towed on Sunday
Amount: $390.00
Posted by: Sweet D in Colma, CA.Posted: December 17th, 2019 08:12PM
Towed By: BluewaterLocation: Colma, CA
Reason Towed: Property Manager insists registration ex
I bought Lincoln LS 2000, recovery car in a towing company, no license plate and no current registration. I registered but required smog and insured. Showed Property Mgr all paperwork but still towed my car on Sunday morning
Tower paperwork was signed by unknown person and wrote different address.
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Parked in front of my house without active registration
Amount: $1,150.00
Posted by: Las Vegas Resident in Las Vegas, NV.Posted: October 23rd, 2019 03:10PM
Towed By: Titan TowingLocation: Las Vegas, NV
Reason Towed: Parked without active registration
The registration on my vehicle lapsed due to an engine problem that caused it to fail the required smog test. I parked it down the street and around the corner from my house with other parked cars while trying to sell it online, not realizing that storing an unlicensed vehicle violated my HOA. It was towed on October 7th, and I didn’t notice it was missing until October 22 when I received a letter from the towing company (very busy times). They charged me for the more expensive night tow because they were creeping around my neighborhood at 1am when they took my car ($300). They charged me for 17 miles ($60) when the fastest route from my house is 13 miles. They charge me two lien fees ($240). They charged me $35/day for storage ($550). They charged me for an after hours retrieval at 6pm ($60). Overall not money well spent.
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Amount: $800.00
Posted by: Hugol in Las Vegas, NV.Posted: September 10th, 2019 04:09PM
Towed By: uS TowLocation: Hawthorne CA
Reason Towed: It only had a moving permit
According to the police the car must be moving , but I parked in front of my house for about an hour. Was dining some construction in my garage. Gangs with batches and permits !!!
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Rude and unbussness like
Amount: $368.00
Posted by: Robin Meredith in Peterstown, WV.Posted: August 16th, 2019 11:08AM
Towed By: White's TowingLocation: Peterstown
Reason Towed: Inpound
Very Rude And i was staight up lied to,, first she said i could get my car abd pay later yeah right ok? Then I myself gace my title to get my things out of the car until I got paid!Then she looks at me and says I quoit your not getting your title until you pay me? Ok first thingk you hateful a@@ i have the money second who do you think you are??? Don't use them!
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Impounded for parking in fire lane
Amount: $170.00
Posted by: Huda Rashid in Pomona, CA.Posted: August 14th, 2019 12:08AM
Towed By: Dynamic towingLocation: Pomona
Reason Towed: Parked in fire lane
It was a Sunday with all parking spots taken. I left the car for an hour in the fire lane in front of my garage. Was planning to leave in an hour, but praise my luck.
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No Cause
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: Jessesgirl503 in Aumsville, OR.Posted: March 26th, 2019 05:03PM
Towed By: rhino towingLocation: Stayton/lyons
Reason Towed: disabled car tire
I blew a tire on hwy it was dark and must have hit something that was on side of road I dont know what not another car though. Called tow truck he showed up and decided to call OSP police saying there was damage to my car well duh thats y I called a tow truck. He had no reason or right to call. The tow was only 100 to get home then osp came and I'm suspended for unable to pay past fines not criminally just poor so osp towed it and the charges went to 600 in 5 hours. I couldnt get it til Monday cuz it was Friday so final charges were 800.
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My car was towed
Amount: $2,800.00
Posted by: Sherie in Salem, OR.Posted: March 14th, 2019 02:03PM
Towed By: City of Salem Police DeptLocation: Wiltses towing
Reason Towed: Insured but didn't have Id card
The officer didn't have to TOW my car. I'm an upstanding citizen with No outstanding tickets or record of any kind. Had just purchased my car prior hadn't received cards.
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Amount: $450.00
Posted by: Angry poor guy in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.Posted: January 19th, 2019 04:01PM
Towed By: Steves TowingLocation: Rancho Cucamonga
Reason Towed: Apartment
Parked in a location without a parking permit. Picked it up within 5 hours
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Parked In Permit Only Apartment Complex
Amount: $295.00
Posted by: Pissed off Tenant in New Castle, DE.Posted: January 19th, 2019 08:01AM
Towed By: J.N.A Towing & Parking EnforcementLocation: Wilmington Delaware
Reason Towed: Forgot to Display Permit
They charge different people different prices. Vehicle was parked less than 2 hrs and held by them from 1am- 9am SAME DAY
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Amount: $750.00
Posted by: a user in Redding, CA.Posted: November 30th, 2018 08:11PM
Towed By: Premier towingLocation: California
Reason Towed: Recovered after it was stolen
It was towed to a lot in the local area. They charged me $750 after only having my Toyota Corolla for 4 hours.
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Amount: $380.00
Posted by: Dunn in Daly city, CA.Posted: November 28th, 2018 02:11PM
Towed By: Broadmoor TowLocation: Daly City Ca
Reason Towed: Parked in apartment garage
Literally less than a block away, lived at apartments for close to 9 years...I'm on fixed income. No visitor parking. Thanks for ruining my Xmas for my daughter. Have no money for the rest of the month to survive on.
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Nissan pick up
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: [email protected] in Jefferson City, TN.Posted: November 12th, 2018 01:11AM
Towed By: ChrokeeLocation: Jefferson City
Reason Towed: Incarcerated
Trying to get a round about price on what it's going to cost to get out today
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Do I need insurance to have my car towed from tow company to my house since it don\'t run
Amount: $750.00
Posted by: antyant1919 in Alexandria la 71303, LA.Posted: October 31st, 2018 04:10AM
Towed By: Meto towingLocation: Alexandria la 71303
Reason Towed: Broke down on highway had to tow it
What will I need at tow company besides money for storage to have my non running vehicle towed to my house ,do I have to have insurance
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Illegal tow
Amount: $250.00
Posted by: Tim the trucker in Richmond, IN.Posted: October 23rd, 2018 08:10PM
Towed By: Pearson recovery serviceLocation: Dayton, in
Reason Towed: Private property unattended
I am a local truck driver who lives in lynn, Indiana 112 miles away.i parked at the circle k in Dayton, in. The vehicle was towed in less than 24 hours without a notice placed on the vehicle. According to I. c. 9-22-1 this is illegal in Indiana. There was no notice on the vehicle nor signs visible on the premises from that area. Also I had verbal permission to park there in the auto side parking. Also this co. Had the words "cash only" which isn't legal. When I spoke to local law enforcement I was told that the law didn't matter. I will be sueing for the allowed 4 times the fee.
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Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Cara Hoppis in San Diego, CA.Posted: August 6th, 2018 12:08PM
Reason Towed: Abandoned car
Clancy’s towing service towed my car with out my knowledge. My truck was stolen and I had reported it so they towed it after the police arrested th perps. I was not contacted until the next week and Clancy’s put a lien on my credit until I paid them the money.
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