Having your car towed is frustrating, having your car towed while you’re away is more frustrating because of the inconveniences it may cause. It’s not easy to drive out and come back in a taxi.
When your car is towed while you’re away, you won’t have the chance to collect your personal belongings stored inside the car. Since towing companies can tow a car with everything in it, can a tow company keep my personal belongings?
Yes, a tow company can keep your personal belongings if they tow your car while you are away because they are required by law to safely keep all personal belongings in every car they tow.
Can a Tow Company Keep My Personal Belongings?
Yes, a towing company is going to keep your personal belongings safe when they tow your car with or without your consent. They are however mandated by law to ensure the safety of the belongings inside the car until you come to collect them.
Meanwhile, A tow company cannot legally keep your belongings as collateral. They don’t have the right to do so except the law permits them.
Therefore depending on the laws of your state of residence, anytime your car is towed with your belongings inside, you can easily contact the towing company and have your items back.
For example, if your car is up for repossession and the repo man tows your car while parked in a grocery store parking lot, chances are that you may have some personal belongings inside the car that are needed at the house, such as your house key, etc. You can contact the repossession company that towed your car for the items.
The repo man cannot refuse to give you your belongings simply because the car is no longer yours. Even though it has been repossessed, you are still entitled to your belongings.
If for example, your medication is inside the car before it was towed, they can’t prevent you from taking your drugs just because the car has been repossessed.
Therefore, your personal belongings are safe with the towing company when your car is towed without your permission or consent.
There are exceptions to this. If you live in a state where according to the law, you may need to pay the towing fees before getting your belongings, then you will not get your belongings until you make the necessary payment but this is usually not the case.
Nevertheless, if there’s any fee incurred in the process of safeguarding your personal belongings, the towing company will request you first make the payments before the items will be given to you.
If for example, they find precious materials inside your car that are not safe in their office. They may decide to store it somewhere safe. Therefore, you will be the one to pay whatever fees that come from the storage.
What to Do if a Towing Company Deny Access to Personal Belongings
If your car was towed with your personal belongings inside and while trying to retrieve it, they denied you access to them, here are what to do:
1. Check the Towing Laws of the State
Your state of residence has a lot to play when it comes to towing laws. In some states, a towing company cannot legally deny you access to the personal belongings in your towed car.
In some states, the towing company may deny access to the belongings till you make certain payments before it can be released to you.
Verifying the towing laws of your state of residence will go a long way in understanding what your action will be.
2. Seek Legal Advice
If you have tried to pick up your personal belongings from your towed car and it was denied, seek legal advice and have the lawyer explain what you should do.
Peradventure the towing company doesn’t have the right to deny you access to your personal belongings, the lawyer should be able to tell you what to do next.
3. Hire a Lawyer
If after getting legal advice, it becomes obvious that the towing company does not have any right to deny you access to your belongings, you can hire a lawyer and have him/her take up the case.
If you live in a state where it is illegal for them to do so, it will be a violation of them, therefore, they can be sued.
However,, before hiring a lawyer, ensure that the reason why you’re denied access is not because you refused to pay for the storage bills of your personal items.
As reiterated, if it costs the company some funds to save your belongings for you, you will be mandated to pay the storage fees before picking them up. This does not have anything to do with the towing and the car storage fee.
Towing companies are mandated by law to ensure that all items inside a towed car are safely kept. Therefore, your properties inside the car are safe.
However, in some states, a towing company cannot hold the items as collateral until you pay your storage and towing fee.
But in some states, the towing company is required by law to secure the car by not allowing anything to be removed from the car until the car is picked up.
Therefore, the laws of your state will determine whether you are getting your personal belongings from your towed car or not.