How to Get a Car Out of Impound Without Insurance

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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: Mar 13, 2020

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If your car has been impounded and it doesn’t have insurance, then you may be wondering about the next steps to take. What should you do when your car is impounded without insurance? How can you get your vehicle out of the impound lot with no car insurance? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about solving this problem.

You Cannot Get Your Car Out of Impound Without Car Insurance

car impounded without insurance

To get your car out of the impound lot, you will first need to provide proof of insurance.

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 car was impounded because you were pulled over without proof of insurance.

Typically, if your car has been impounded, then it will be impounded for a mandatory period of time – say, 24 hours, a week, or a month.

Once that mandatory period of 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.

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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 car needs to be impounded for a mandatory period of time before you retrieve it

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

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

Step 4) Bring proof of car 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 serious 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.

You 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.

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 serious 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.

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 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.

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