How to Get a Car Out of Impound Without Insurance

Wondering how to get a car out of impound without insurance? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get your car out of impound without insurance and the vehicle owner. So what do you do? Read our step-by-step guide on getting your car out of your insurance. Use our free tool to compare auto insurance quotes and find the best price today.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Proof of auto insurance and vehicle title are almost always required to get a car out of impound
  • The impound lot may require you to pay a fee of up to $250 before they will release your car
  • The best way to get coverage for your vehicle is to shop around and compare at least three quotes to make sure you’re getting a fair and affordable rate

If you’re wondering how to get a car out of impound without coverage, then your car has probably already been impounded. So what can you do?

How do you get a car out of impound without auto insurance? What if your car is impounded because you were driving without insurance to begin with?

Can you get a car out of impound without auto insurance?

The short answer is no, you can’t. You will need auto insurance to get your vehicle out of impound.

Understanding auto insurance basics and the requirements in your area can help you figure out your next steps. Continue reading through this guide to learn how you can get auto insurance before you get to the impound lot.

To make sure you have the coverage you need to get your vehicle out of impound, you can enter your ZIP code in our free comparison tool to get a free quote today.

What happens when my car is impounded?

When your car is impounded, it will be towed to an impound lot. This is usually the lot closest to wherever your car was located at the time of the impoundment, but be sure to call ahead to be sure before you show up.

Once at the lot, your impounded car will have to stay there for a mandatory impoundment period. This could just be one day, but it could also be a week, or even a whole month.

Once that mandatory time is over, you can pick up your car. You’ll most likely have to pay the impound fees to drive it home, but only after you provide proof of ownershipproof of insurance, valid ID, and other paperwork.

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

As we already noted, the answer is yes, you do need coverage. You can’t get a vehicle out of impound if its uninsured. If you are insured, bring your proof of insurance to the impound lot.

How do I get my car back if it was impounded for no auto insurance?

Let’s say your car is impounded for no coverage. What do you do? Can you get your car back? If so, what steps do you need to take? How much will it cost? 

Regardless of the reason your car was impounded, you’re going to need valid insurance to get your car out of the impound lot – but especially if your vehicle was impounded because you were pulled over without proof of insurance.

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What if I don’t have proof of coverage?

If you don’t have proof of coverage, you most likely won’t be able to get your vehicle out of impound. Your best bet is to purchase a basic policy so the lot will release your vehicle, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.

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Will I have to pay a fee to get my car out of impound?

You’re probably wondering, how to get my car out of impound for free? Unfortunately, payment of impound fees is almost always required before a lot will release your vehicle.

So how much are impound fees? Here’s a rough estimate of how much money you can expect to pay for impound and towing fees.

Estimate of Impound Release Fees and Towing Fees
Impound Fee TypeEstimated Fee Cost
Impound/Vehicle Release Fee$90 - $250+
Towing Charges$80 - $100+
Flatbed or Dolly Fee $40 - $150+
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Impound release fees can vary by city. You could pay more or less based on the distance your car had to be towed or the maximum penalty of a local ordinance.

It may be cheaper (and easier) to get coverage. You can even get it in less than 15 minutes. Start with your ZIP code and our free comparison tool to get a quote.

What about non-owner auto insurance?

Some drivers have a policy through non-owner auto insurance, which says that someone else is the primary policyholder to your policy.

But how do you get a car out of impound without the owner? The short answer is you can’t. The vehicle owner has to be the person to pick up the vehicle.

Am I required to carry proof of insurance?

In 49 states in America (all except New Hampshire), you are required to carry proof of coverage in the form of a card or certificate whenever you’re operating a vehicle on public roads.

Failure to carry proof of coverage will lead to fines, vehicle impoundment, and potentially even more severe consequences.

If you are pulled over by a police officer and are unable to provide proof of coverage, then the officer may choose to impound your vehicle.

This is the reason the impound lot will not release your vehicle without proof of insurance. You need to drive your vehicle off the lot, but you cannot legally drive your vehicle until it’s covered.

Even if your vehicle is impounded for something that isn’t your fault, like if it was stolen, you’ll often still have to pay fines, provide proof of insurance, etc. to get your vehicle off the lot.

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What are my options if my car was impounded and uninsured?

As we noted earlier and promised we’d discuss in more detail later, if you don’t have coverage, you probably won’t be able to get your car out of the impound lot. So what’s next? Keep reading to find out.

How can I get insurance for an impounded car?

So your vehicle has been impounded. You don’t have auto insurance on the impounded vehicle, but you need auto insurance to recover your vehicle. What do you do now? Here’s what you need to do.

Should I shop around for auto insurance?

First, collect a few auto insurance quotes online using your vehicle’s make and model and your demographic information. Get a minimum of three insurance quotes from local companies.

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What if I am considered a high-risk driver?

Remember that you may be considered a high-risk driver after being caught driving without insurance— especially if it was a severe incident. Some insurers may even deny your quote request entirely.

Or, at the very least, you could face much higher car insurance quotes, because auto insurance for high-risk drivers is typically more expensive than for average drivers.

Is bare minimum coverage fine?

While there are a number of auto insurance coverage types, if you’re having trouble finding affordable car insurance quotes for your impounded vehicle, remember you don’t need comprehensive or collision coverage. You just need your state’s bare minimum coverage.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the national average for liability auto insurance $555 per year or $46 per month. You can search for your state in this table to see the minimum liability requirements and average rate where you live.

Minimum Insurance Requirements and Average Liability Rates by State
StateInsurance Required in the StateMinimum Liability LimitsAverage Cost of Liability Insurance per YearAverage Cost of Liability Insurance per Month
AlabamaBI & PD Liab25/50/25$372.57$31.05
AlaskaBI & PD Liab50/100/25$547.34$45.61
ArizonaBI & PD Liab15/30/10$488.59$40.72
ArkansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25$381.14$31.76
CaliforniaBI & PD Liab15/30/5$462.95$38.58
ColoradoBI & PD Liab25/50/15$477.10$39.76
ConnecticutBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20$633.95$52.83
DelawareBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10$776.50$64.71
District of ColumbiaBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10$628.09$52.34
South DakotaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25$289.04$24.09
FloridaPD Liab, PIP10/20/10$845.05$70.42
GeorgiaBI & PD Liab25/50/25$490.64$40.89
HawaiiBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10$458.49$38.21
IdahoBI & PD Liab25/50/15$337.17$28.10
IllinoisBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20$430.54$35.88
IndianaBI & PD Liab25/50/25$372.44$31.04
IowaBI & PD Liab20/40/15$293.34$24.45
KansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25$342.33$28.53
KentuckyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25$518.91$43.24
LouisianaBI & PD Liab15/30/25$727.15$60.60
MaineBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25$333.92$27.83
MarylandBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15$599.48$49.96
MassachusettsBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5$587.75$48.98
MichiganBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10$722.04$60.17
MinnesotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10$439.58$36.63
MississippiBI & PD Liab25/50/25$437.38$36.45
MissouriBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25$399.41$33.28
MontanaBI & PD Liab25/50/20$387.77$32.31
NebraskaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25$349.07$29.09
NevadaBI & PD Liab25/50/20$647.07$53.92
New HampshireFR only25/50/25$393.24$32.77
New JerseyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5$865.55$72.13
New MexicoBI & PD Liab25/50/10$462.21$38.52
New YorkBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10$784.98$65.42
North CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25$357.59$29.80
North DakotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25$282.55$23.55
OhioBI & PD Liab25/50/25$376.16$31.35
OklahomaBI & PD Liab25/50/25$441.57$36.80
OregonBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20$553.43$46.12
PennsylvaniaBI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5$495.02$41.25
Rhode IslandBI & PD Liab25/50/25$720.06$60.01
South CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25$497.50$41.46
TennesseeBI & PD Liab25/50/15$397.73$33.14
TexasBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25$498.44$41.54
UtahBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15$471.26$39.27
VermontBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10$340.98$28.42
VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20$413.12$34.43
WashingtonBI & PD Liab25/50/10$568.92$47.41
West VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25$501.44$41.79
WisconsinBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10$359.84$29.99
WyomingBI & PD Liab25/50/20$323.38$26.95
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Keep in mind these numbers are average, and your rates may vary based on your ZIP code, the vehicle you drive, your auto insurance company, and more.

What if I need an SR-22 form?

SR-22 forms are required for high-risk drivers in many states. If you’re considered a high-risk driver, then you may need to file an SR-22 form with your state’s DMV. An SR-22 form typically costs about $50 for six months and allows you to buy car insurance as a high-risk driver.

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How do I get proof of insurance after making my first insurance down payment?

All you need to recover your car from the impound lot is valid proof of insurance. You can get that valid proof of insurance as soon as you make your first insurance down payment.

Many auto insurance companies let you print off this proof at home. Or, your insurance agent can fax it over. Once you have proof of insurance, you’re almost ready to pick up your car. Keep reading for exactly what documentation you’ll need.

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Step-by-Step Guide: How to Get Your Car Out of Impound

Here are the steps you need to follow if you want to get your car out of the impound lot:

Step 1) Check if your vehicle needs to be impounded for a mandatory time before you retrieve it

Step 2) Get the release document for your car signed off

Step 3) Get your ID and proof of ownership papers (i.e., the title for the vehicle)

Step 4) Bring proof of auto insurance or buy new auto insurance

Step 5) Bring enough money to pay for the towing fees, impound fees, and other costs

As we’ve already described. you cannot get your car out of impound if you do not have insurance. If you have not yet bought a car insurance policy, then you need to go shopping.

Recall that we’ve already spent some time discussing the ways you can get the best coverage for your situation.

Short-term auto insurance policies are available, and you can cancel your auto insurance policy after you recover your vehicle if you don’t want to keep it long-term (though if you don’t have coverage, you won’t legally be able to drive your vehicle).

Why are cars impounded?

Why are vehicles impounded? Does failure to have insurance automatically mean a vehicle is impounded? What other reasons, besides lack of insurance, might a vehicle be impounded? Keep reading for more.

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Can my vehicle be impounded for not having insurance?

If you’re caught driving uninsured, your vehicle can be impounded.

Police officers have some leeway in deciding whether or not to impound your vehicle after you fail to provide proof of insurance.

Different states have different rules regarding proof of insurance requirements. If you were caught with a minor infraction like a broken taillight then the police officer might allow you to drive directly home, even after you’re caught with no proof of insurance.

If you’re involved in a serious collision or violation, however, and fail to provide proof of insurance, then you will likely face more severe consequences.

Ultimately, it’s up to the law enforcement officer to decide whether or not to impound your vehicle after you’re caught driving without insurance.

What other reasons might my car be impounded?

Besides driving without insurance, your vehicle could be impounded for a number of other reasons.

Theoretically, any time you are breaking the law in your vehicle, if you’re caught, it could result in vehicle impoundment. This includes driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, driving a stolen car, excessive speeding, driving under the influence, etc.

As we noted earlier, however, these don’t necessarily mean your vehicle will be impounded, because the police do have some ability to decide whether or not to impound a vehicle or choose some other consequence.

Additionally, things like having your vehicle stolen could mean it is impounded on recovery.

What’s the bottom line?

In almost every case, you will need to provide proof of insurance to recover your vehicle from an impound lot. This is especially true when your vehicle has been impounded due to a lack of insurance.

If you were pulled over and unable to provide proof of insurance, for example, then your car may be impounded. You will need to purchase auto insurance for that vehicle before recovering it from the impound lot.

The longer you wait to buy auto insurance, the more you’re going to pay in the long run for impound fees.

If you want to recover your car as soon as possible, you need to buy auto insurance for your impounded vehicle before going to retrieve it from the impound lot.

How can I get my car out of impound without insurance? Now you know. But if you still have questions?

Keep reading for a quick recap of what you’ve learned in the guide. We’ve also provided answers to some frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the internet.

#1 – I can’t afford to get my car out of impound. What will happen to it?

The impound lot will sell your vehicle to pay for the fees accumulated from towing and storing your vehicle.

#2 – Can they impound my car because I don’t have coverage?

Yes. Law enforcement can have your vehicle impounded if you’re driving while uninsured.

#3 – How do I get my car out of the tow yard?

You have to show your registration, driver’s license, and proof of coverage. After your identity is verified, you’ll have to pay the tow yard fee.

#4 – How do I get my car out of impound on GTA 5?

We don’t usually answer questions about video games, but we’ll provide an answer. Open up the map in the pause menu and use your GPS to search for what impound lot has your car. You can pay a $250 fee to get into the lot.

#5 – How much does it cost to get a car out of police impound?

Impound fees can cost at least $90 and more than $250 to release to the owner. Cost varies by city.

#6 – How do I get a car out of impound without title and registration?

Although you can get your vehicle out of impound without a title, you will need registration. You can’t get your car out of impound without registration or proof of coverage.

#7 – How do I get a car out of impound without registration in California?

You won’t be able to get your vehicle out of impound with the registration in California. It’s safer to update your registration and return to the impound with all the necessary documents.

#8 – Can I get my car out of impound without a license?

No. Why? First, you’ll need to provide proof of identity that supports the documentation that indicates you own the vehicle. Secondly, what if the reason the vehicle was impounded is that the driver didn’t have a valid driver’s license?

The impound lot wouldn’t release the car to the owner, because they won’t contribute to negligence.

#9 – Does auto insurance cover damage from towing?

It depends on the amount of coverage you have. If you only have liability coverage, the answer is no. However, you can purchase roadside assistance, which may cover the cost of the tow, but it probably won’t cover any associated damages.

Full coverage (comprehensive and collision coverage) may cover damages that occur during towing.

#10 – What do I do with my policy after repossession?

If your vehicle is repossessed, you should consider canceling your insurance policy until you recover your vehicle.

Once you need to repurchase insurance, however, your auto insurance rates will likely be higher than they were before, because a vehicle repossession will have a negative effect on your credit score.

Many insurance companies look at credit scores when adjusting your rates because they are an indicator of responsibility.

Higher credit scores are often equated with safer, more responsible driving, while lower credit scores may be considered an indicator that you’ll be a higher risk driver, so your rates will be higher as a result.

If you want to get your car out of impound and need proof of coverage, start comparing minimum liability quotes with our free tool. For affordable coverage, enter your ZIP code below to get multiple quotes now. 

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