Getting a vehicle out of impound without insurance

If my car has been impounded and I don't have auto insurance, what are my options?
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Ava Lynch

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Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

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Your vehicle's been impounded and you don't have insurance, now what?

While a car can be impounded for myriad reasons, there's usually only one way to get it out: by paying an impound fee and presenting the required documentation. This documentation usually includes your driver's license, vehicle identification number (VIN), and proof of insurance.

If you don't have valid insurance for your impounded vehicle, it will be difficult — if not impossible — to get your car out of the impound lot.

Can my vehicle be impounded for not having insurance?

It depends. You can get a ticket for driving without insurance, but it is within the police officer's discretion whether your vehicle will be towed and impounded. Outside of New Hampshire, you're required by law to carry at least the minimum liability insurance. By failing to do so, you risk having your vehicle towed and impounded.

Although your state may only mandate liability coverage, you may be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage if you drive a leased vehicle.

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Do I need insurance to get my car out of impound?

You will need to show active proof of car insurance to get your vehicle out of impound. Car insurance is a requirement for any vehicle registered in a U.S. state and driven on public roads (outside of New Hampshire).

How to get insurance for an impounded car

You'll need to show proof of insurance in order to get your vehicle out of impound — which means you'll need to purchase an auto insurance policy. Streamline the process of shopping for car insurance by having the following information at the ready:

  • Personal information of any drivers using the vehicle: driving history, insurance history, date(s) of birth, and driver’s license(s)
  • Primary residence: where the vehicle is parked
  • Vehicle information number (VIN)
  • Lienholder information (if applicable)
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Car insurance after repo

If your car is repossessed by the bank or your financing company, the best course of action is to cancel your car insurance policy immediately, since it's no longer in your possession — it's now the bank's property. Keep in mind when you finance a car, it's not entirely your property yet — for as long as you're making payments, the financing company holds a financial interest in the vehicle. If you continue to have car insurance on your repossessed car, you're paying for coverage on a car you no longer own and no longer drive.

When you get car insurance again after having a repossessed car on your record, your rates are likely to be increased. This is because a history of not making car payments would show up on financial records — like your credit report — that insurers will screen when you get a new insurance policy, which is seen as a liability to car insurance companies.

Does car insurance cover damage from towing?

Let's say your car is damaged while it's being towed to be impounded. Because the towing company is at fault, it would be the company's responsibility to cover the cost of any damages. You could go through your own insurance company since financed cars are required to have full coverage (liability, collision, and comprehensive). As long as the damage is caused by a covered peril, costs could be covered by your insurer even if your car is headed for impoundment.

If you’re ready to get a quote for an impounded car online, you can use The Zebra to compare car insurance rates side-by-side and find an affordable policy.

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