What To Do if Your Car is Towed

Steps to take

  1. If your vehicle is in the process of being towed, you have the right to recover your vehicle on site by paying the tow truck driver no more than half the standard towing fee.
  2. If your car is missing, look for a towing sign and call the number on the sign to see if your car was towed from private property. The tow company must return your call within one hour, no matter the time of day.
  3. If you can’t find a towing sign, contact the local law enforcement non-emergency line. They can also help determine whether your vehicle has been towed.
  4. Ask the tow company for information on every document and the exact charges required to retrieve your vehicle. 
  5. Ensure you have proper documentation. Tow companies will not release the vehicle if you are not the registered owner, unless you have an original notarized affidavit signed by the registered vehicle owner.
  6. Retrieve your vehicle as soon as possible to avoid additional charges. The storage yard must be within a 10-mile radius from where your vehicle was removed and the company must allow you to retrieve the vehicle within one hour of your request.
  7. You can retrieve your personal property from your vehicle, even if you haven’t paid.
  8. Check the prices provided with prices posted at the pay location. Companies can only charge specific amounts approved by County government.
  9. Prepare to pay by cash, money order, cashier’s check, credit card, or debit card. The storage yard does not have to accept credit cards. You may take additional action in court to have your vehicle released if the company is holding it for moving/storage fees.
  10. Inspect your vehicle before accepting its return, but the company cannot require a release or waiver of liability in order to return your vehicle.
  11. Keep the written receipt for your records.



Additional useful information

If a company has towed your vehicle without your permission and is holding it for moving/storage fees, you may take additional action in court. You can find information about how to have a vehicle released when a lien is in place on the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court’s website.

Not the registered vehicle owner?

If your vehicle is in someone else's name, such as a parent, getting your name added to the vehicle registration and title will make it easier to recover the vehicle. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you will need to provide an original, notarized affidavit signed by the registered vehicle owner that explains you are an authorized representative acting on their behalf in all matters concerning the vehicle. Make sure to include a description of the vehicle in the affidavit (i.e. make, model, year, color and VIN). Keep the original affidavit and a copy of the vehicle registration to help you retrieve your vehicle.



For questions or if you need further information email RegComp@HCFLGov.net or call (813) 274-6600.