Getting your car towed to the impound lot because you parked in a fire area or haven’t paid off your parking ticket can be very frustrating. What is even more frustrating is whenever you don’t have the money to get it back. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can get your car out of impound for free, and if you want those tips, you will need to read on!
Getting the car out of impound ‘for free’ is a bit of a misleading statement. No matter what, you will need to pay money to retrieve your vehicle. However, it doesn’t have to be your money.
1. Contact the Impound Lot to Discuss Financing Plans
Since getting your car towed is often an unexpected event and expense, you might find that you are not ready for your vehicle to be towed and haven’t a clue as to where you should start looking for it. It can be a very stressful situation to have to deal with the fact that your car has been towed and you can’t get it back right away. Make sure to keep yourself calm and think everything through.
You can contact local government officials to figure out where your car is, as they often keep detailed files. After a few calls, they will be able to direct you to the impound lot where the car is, and give you their contact information.
Next, you will want to contact the impound lot to see what you need to bring to retrieve your car. Often certain items of paperwork are required, as is proof of insurance and information about you, such as your driver’s license and registration.
Wait for about a business day before you call the impound lot, as sometimes cars that are towed recently haven’t been entered into the system.
Once you have all the information you need, talk to the impound lot about fees. Most lots have a down payment on getting your car out, and some also have fees by the day that you will need to deal with. So, the faster you can get your car out, the better!
If you go to the car lot and do not have the money to get your car out promptly, make sure to take a breath and be calm and clear when speaking. Some impound lots have payment plans or financing where you can take your car out and pay the loan back over several days.
You might even be able to create one with the owner if you are in good standing and have all your information. The availability of having a financial plan often varies from state to state, but most of the time, you can at least inquire about one.
Once the financing or payment plan is created for you, you can get started paying the loan back one payment at a time. Just make sure that you don’t default on your payments, as that will be penalized and can make the situation even worse for you.
2. Seek Financial Aid
We all need help with money sometimes, and financial aid is the best way to get that. Some towns and communities have free grants or loans with very nice interest rates available for things like this. These loans are often low risk, and you can talk to the community about your situation so they can help.
Other emergency financial aid programs can be helpful for you around your area, and as long as you explain the situation to them, they will likely help you out. Whether they lend you money or pay for the cost themselves, you will find that the loans and the interest rate on them are very affordable.
Search around to see what financial aid options are available to you, and then explain your situation to see how best you can get the help you will need.
3. Make Sure Your Auto Insurance Is Up to Date
Almost no car is ever going to be released from an impound lot without some form of insurance. If you don’t have insurance or proof of insurance (which could be why you got towed in the first place), then you should make sure your auto insurance is up to date before you need it to be used to free your car from getting impounded.
Even a basic policy with bare minimum coverage is enough; it’s not the best and probably won’t work long term, but it is enough. Make sure you have a valid and up-to-date proof of insurance card, and also make sure to check on all your paperwork. Doing all this before your car gets towed can make the process a lot easier.
Once you get the first insurance down payment paid, you will also get the proof of insurance emailed to you. Make sure to either save the email in a secure location or take the time to print it out and place it with all your other documents. That way, you can have it with you and use it to pick up your car as soon as you can.
No one ever expects their car to get towed, but you should always keep that threat in the back of your mind. That way, if or when your car does get towed, you can be ready with all your paperwork and your information.
4. Ask for Help From Friends and Family
One of the easiest ways to get extra money is to ask your friends and family to help you out with the loan. Of course, make it clear that you are going to pay them back, as well as how you are going to pay them back.
These conversations will often make them more likely to help you out because you have come to them with a plan for the loan, rather than just asking for money and then never calling again once you get it. Make sure to get your plan in writing as well, as that adds more confidence.
You might have to pay them back or do another service for the loan, though, and ask multiple people for some cash. Still, as long as you have a plan for getting the money back to them or do an equivalent service for them in return, most people are happy to help.
Especially friends and family that you’ve been good to, once you explain the situation to them, you will most likely get the cash you need without any delay. If you’ve got good bonds with family and friends, it’s probably best if you take this option first.
5. Seek Help From a Charity or Church
Charities and non-profit organizations might not give you the entire cost of the loan, but they can cover some of it if your case is compelling enough.
You will typically meet with the head of a charity or a religious organization and explain what has happened with your car and the cost you are facing.
You’ll also explain why you cannot pay the cost yourself and why you need the organization’s help to cover your loan. They’ll listen and then make their verdict on what they can do for you.
If the non-profit or charity cannot help you when you come to speak with them, they can at least point you towards other resources that can. For most charities, funding is always tight, and they might have more critical obligations and people who need even more help.
If they agree to help and offer to cover part of the cost, they will still often point you towards other resources that might help make up the rest of the payment. No matter what ends up happening, a charity or church is a good place to at least get some extra information.
Additionally, you might decide to volunteer at the charity or the church to help repay them for their help towards you, which you can imagine they will always appreciate.
Most of the time, visiting a charity or church is that simple, and as long as you have proof that the car was towed for legal reasons, there’s no other check or requirement for them to help you. They’ll review your case and then see what they can do for you, and you’ll get the loan that you need.
You Might Not Get a Loan if Criminal Activity Is Involved
One of the things you need to keep in mind is the reason that your car was towed off in the first place. Getting impounded due to speeding, unpaid parking tickets, or other minor offenses doesn’t disqualify you for a loan from most locations and resources.
However, if your car was impounded due to participation in serious criminal activity, that can be a problem. Unless they are specialized to help out criminals with issues like this, most places are unwilling to get involved in criminal cases.
If your impound is involved in a criminal case, you will need to seek out specialized help to get your car back. Most lawyers and other resources will be able to help you either clear your criminal record, or otherwise help you get your car back.
Additionally, there are some resources that are able to help people with a criminal record with loans, but they often are hard to find and then come with strict restrictions on the loan itself.
The best thing to do here is to not break the law, and you will be good when it comes to getting your loans for your car promptly. If you do have a criminal record, make sure to write down your options, that way you know who to turn to if your car does get impounded.
6. Ask for a Payday Loan
If you are physically incapable of getting to and from work without a car, you could explain this to your employer and ask him for a payday loan. These options are somewhat risky because the cost of the loan will either be taken out of your next paycheck, or you might need to pay it back from your next paycheck.
You do need to repay this loan because defaulting on it does cause more expenses for you. This is where part of the risk comes in, as you don’t want to default on this loan. Before you take it out, make sure you have a plan to repay it.
Additionally, payday loans are often filled with very high interest rates in the short term and are based on what you are earning at the time of the loan. In this case, the loan would be based on your current paycheck, and that’s another thing you will need to keep in mind.
Still, talk to your employer, explain the situation, and see if a payday loan will work for your needs. Keep in mind that this is still a risky loan that can come with many hidden fees and debt traps, so make sure this is your last option, and you’ve exhausted looking for all others.
Getting your car out of impound can be a massive problem if you aren’t prepared and don’t move fast with fixing it. Making sure you have some money set aside for emergencies like this can be a lifesaver, so you should get into the habit of that right now.
You won’t be able to get your car out of the impound lot for free or without proof of insurance, so make sure you understand that and are prepared with everything you need. If your car gets impounded and you can’t afford to free it, following these tips should help.