It happens. You come out of a restaurant or return to your car from shopping and…no car. Your first thought is that it’s been stolen. Then you see the “No Parking” sign and realize that your vehicle has been towed. What to do?
While having your car towed is aggravating and expensive, your first action is to stay calm and examine the situation.
The first question to asks is, why was your car towed? In our example above, it is obvious; you were in a no parking zone. But it could be for other reasons like your license has been suspended. If your car is left unattended on private property the property owner can have it removed. If your parked car is hit by another car during an accident and damaged, it may be ordered towed by the police since the car cannot be moved. These are just a few reasons why your car could be towed.
So, you return to where you parked your car and it is not there, has in fact been towed? Do not call 911 yet. First, if you were parked on private property, check for a sign with the phone number of a towing company. They are probably the ones that the property owner called. If your were in a no parking zone, call the regular police number and ask—politely—to be connected to the person in charge of towing vehicles. They will have a record of which company towed the vehicle and the procedure for getting it back. You may need to provide your license plate number or VIN. If the tow was very recent, the wrecker may not have arrived back at the lot, which means the record of the tow isn’t in the system yet.
Once you’ve gone through these steps and you haven’t found your car, now you can start pursuing the stolen car theory and call the police.
But if it’s a regular towing situation, check to see if your auto policy covers towing and any damage that may occur during the process. Normally, there is an extra premium to have towing covered. Be advised that most towing services will not bill your insurance company directly. You must pay the bill and then submit the paperwork necessary to get reimbursed by your insurance company.
So keep your vehicle year, make, model, color and license number written down in your purse or wallet along with your insurance information. Be wary of parking spaces in congested areas that seem too easy. They might be posted and ignorance is no excuse when your car is on the tow truck.
For more information on towing issues or for help in avoiding the need for a tow, check out Conway Hauling Services blog at Towing-Service.MyConwaySC.com.