Can I Get My Belongings from My Towed Car

Cars get towed every day with or without the owner’s permission for various reasons. When a car gets towed without the owner’s permission, there will most likely be personal belongings inside the car. If this happens, can one get the belongings back?

You can get your belongings from a towed car but you may be required to pay a certain amount or retrieve it within a number of days, and you must be the owner of the car or have a notarized letter from the owner saying it’s okay to give the belongings to another person.

What is a Towed Car?

A towed car is one that has been taken away from the spot where it was originally parked by a tow vehicle as a result of illegal parking, criminal offense, unpaid tickets, etc.

When a car is towed, it is usually taken to the tow company premises where the owner will be required to pay a certain amount to recover it.

Can I Get My Belongings from My Towed Car?

Yes, you can get your belongings from a towed car but with some exceptions. However, it cannot be released to a third party unless the owner says it’s okay by giving a notarized letter.

The possibility of retrieving belongings from a towed car depends on the conditions given by the state and towing company.

For some states and tow companies, you are only able to retrieve your belongings within a number of days after the car has been towed.

Rather than just retrieving personal belongings from the car, you should promptly pay your fees and get the car out except in cases where you urgently need to use the belonging before getting around to recovering the car.

You may also be required to pay a certain amount to get your belongings out of the car.

For more information, you can listen to Nedim Ramic, a car accident lawyer explain on his YouTube channel Bajric & Ramic Law Office, the possibility of getting your belongings from your towed vehicle without paying the necessary fees.

Can a Tow Company Keep My Personal Belongings?

No, the tow company cannot keep your personal belongings

The tow company does not have a right to keep your personal belongings however, they are within the right to take inventory of the items in the car and present same to you when requested.

If you do not retrieve them after a period of time stipulated by the local ordinance, the tow company can keep your personal belongings and even take ownership of them.

Reasons Why My Car Can be Towed

There are a lot of reasons why a car can be towed that have nothing to do with the fact that the owner violated a rule or did something wrong. You should also bear in mind that a car can be towed with or without the owner’s permission.

Here are some reasons why a car can be towed:

1. If the Car Won’t start

One of the reasons why a car can be towed is if you are unable to get it started. In this case, the car owner will be the one in contact with the tow company. Most times when this happens it is usually because the battery is dead.

2. In Case of an Accident

When a car is involved in an accident the best option is to have it towed. It could be because the driver is not in the right state to drive or the car itself is undrivable.

3. Impedes Traffic Flow

If a car is parked in a way that blocks the flow of traffic, it is considered a traffic hazard and therefore will be towed away without the owner’s permission. This is most likely to happen on public property.

4. Car Not Parked in the Right Place

There are certain areas where cars are not allowed to park even on public property. To ensure adherence, signs are usually put in place in such areas. If your car is parked in such areas, it will be towed because it is considered illegal parking.

Also, as a new car owner, you are not supposed to park an unregistered car on public property for long, else, it can be towed by the police.

5. If it’s on Private Property with Signage

A car can also be towed from private property if there is a sign stating you are not allowed to park there. In cases where there is no sign, the car may be towed after 24hrs for illegal parking or trespassing.

6. Driver not Licensed

Driving with an expired license or invalid license can be a reason why your car gets towed away. It is considered illegal in many states for a driver to go around with an invalid or expired license.

7. Car Registration is Expired

If police officers were to discover that your car’s registration is expired, they are within the right to have it towed without informing you. If this happens, you may be unable to recover the car until proof of registration renewal is provided.

How to Prevent Your Car from Being Towed

Having a car towed is a common occurrence but there are ways you can prevent this from happening to you, some of such ways are as follows;

  • Do not Park Illegally: This seems like the easiest and most logical way to prevent your car from being towed. Cars parked illegally are bound to be towed if found, therefore, if you don’t want your car towed park only in the right places.
  • Have One or Two Tires Removed: You can also opt for removing one or two tires as it will make it impossible for the tow truck to pull. Doing this will most likely draw attention to the car and may even be considered a blemish in the community.
  • Park in Between Other Cars: You can as well try parking in between other cars if you don’t want your car towed. For this method to be effective, you will need to park tightly in between the cars while making sure there is no way the tow truck can get to your car from the back or front. Before doing this, ensure the other cars are not illegally parked else the towing will start from there till it gets to your car.
  • Pay for All Tickets and Fines: If you have gotten a lot of tickets over time, you should ensure to pay them in time as failure to do so will likely cause your car to get towed by parking officials.

Parking officials can pull up your records any time if they find out you have so many tickets and fines unpaid for your car can be towed even when you are not illegally parked.


Rather than looking for ways to get your belongings from a towed car, you should take preventive measures like not parking illegally, paying your tickets and fines in time, etc., to prevent your car from getting towed.