How to Get a Car Out of Impound Without Insurance

It is impossible to get a car out of impound without insurance and without the owner. Most lots will not allow you to get your car out of impound until you pay a fine of up to $250 and show proof of insurance. Read through this guide to learn how to get a car out of impound.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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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...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2020

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If your car has been impounded and it doesn’t have auto insurance, then you may be wondering about the next steps to take. What should you do when your car is impounded because you were driving without insurance?

How do you get a car out of impound without auto insurance? Continue reading through this guide to learn how you can get auto insurance before you get to the impound lot.

You can get auto insurance quotes right now by entering your ZIP code in our FREE comparison tool above!

How to Get a Car Out of Impound without Auto Insurance

The quick answer is you can’t get a vehicle out of impound without insurance. If you are insured, bring your proof of insurance to the impound lot. Some drivers have auto insurance through non-owner auto insurance, which says that someone else is the primary policyholder to your auto insurance 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.

There are few exceptions to this rule: in almost every case, you’re going to need valid insurance to get your car out of the impound lot – especially if your vehicle was impounded because you were pulled over without proof of insurance.

If your car has been impounded, then it will be impounded for a day, a week, or a month.

Once that mandatory time is over, you can pick up your car, pay the impound fees, and drive it home, but only after you provide proof of ownership, proof of insurance, valid ID, and other paperwork.

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

Estimate of Impound Release Fees and Towing Fees
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 on towing charges or the maximum penalty of a local ordinance.

It may be cheaper to get auto insurance. You can get auto insurance in less than 15 minutes. Start with our FREE comparison tool! Just enter your ZIP code to get started!

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Step-by-Step Guide to Getting 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 car insurance

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

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. Short-term car 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.

You Are Required to Carry Proof of Insurance At All Times

In 49 states in America (all except New Hampshire), you are required to carry proof of insurance (in the form of a card or certificate) whenever you’re operating a vehicle on public roads. Failing to carry proof of insurance will lead to fines, vehicle impoundment, and more severe consequences.

If you are pulled over by a police officer and are unable to provide proof of insurance, 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 by insurance.

Watch this video on what to expect when your vehicle is impounded.

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Your Car May or May Not Be Impounded

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

According to the Digest of Motor Laws, 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.

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What to Do If You Don’t Have Car Insurance on Your Impounded Vehicle

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

Shop Around for Car Insurance

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

Recognize That You May Be 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.

Bare Minimum Coverage is Fine

If you’re having trouble finding affordable car insurance quotes for your impounded vehicle, then remember that 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. Your rates may vary based on where you live, the vehicle you drive, and the auto insurance company you have.

You May Require 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.

Get Proof of Insurance After Making your First Insurance Down Payment

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


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 car insurance for that vehicle before recovering it from the impound lot.

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

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

How to Get Your Car Out of Impound FAQs

Let’s recap what you’ve learned in the guide. Also, we’ve provided frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the internet.

If you want to get your car out of impound and need proof of insurance, start comparing minimum liability auto insurance quotes with our FREE comparison tool! Enter your ZIP code below to get quotes right now!

#1 – What happens if you can’t afford to get your car out of impound?

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

#2 – Do they impound your car for no insurance?

Yes. Law enforcement can have your vehicle impounded if you’re driving without insurance.

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

You have to show your registration, driver’s license, and proof of insurance. 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 to 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 auto insurance.

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

You won’t be able to get your vehicle 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. What if a vehicle is impounded because the driver didn’t have a valid driver’s license? The impound lot wouldn’t release the car to the owner. Just have them get caught without a license again. No impound lot will contribute to negligence.

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