The towing laws in
Georgia authorize police and private property owners to have vehicles towed if they are illegally parked or abandoned—with a lot of asterisks. You’ll often have to pay high towing and storage fees to get your towed vehicle back, so you need to know your rights in this situation.
Jerry isn’t just a
super app for car owners—we are also well-versed on all towing laws in Georgia: who can do it, what the circumstances are, and how to get your vehicle back if it has been towed. We even have great tips on how to save on
car insurance after a tow.
When can police tow a vehicle in Georgia?
The towing laws in Georgia are extensive, but we’re going to keep things simple by looking at the three most important and most relevant towing laws in Georgia. This starts with
Georgia Code 40-6-206, which legislates when the police are authorized to tow a vehicle.
The police can tow your car in Georgia when:
The vehicle is abandoned and left illegally standing on a bridge, tunnel, or highway
The vehicle has been reported stolen
If the person in charge of the vehicle has been arrested
The vehicle is left unattended for 24 hours
The driver admits there is no insurance on the vehicle
There are a few instances not covered in this list, too—if your vehicle is illegally parked, abandoned, or obstructing traffic, the police can tow it. Vehicles towed by the police end up in an impound lot.
How to get your car out of an impound lot in Georgia
If your vehicle is towed to an impound lot, make sure you recover it within 30 calendar days or it’ll go to auction.
The police usually can't hold your car indefinitely, so it's important to act fast in this situation. Call the impound lot as soon as you can to find out where your vehicle is being stowed and how you can get it back.
If you’re the owner of the car, you should be able to recover the vehicle at the impound lot during normal business hours after you pay the relevant fees. These can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars and include:
You'll also need to show:
Proof of ownership (like a bill of sale)
A state-issued driver’s license or ID
If you’re not the owner or you can’t make it to the lot, someone else will have to claim the vehicle. You’ll need all the above documents plus a letter of authorization from the owner.
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When can private property owners tow a vehicle in Georgia?
Now that we’ve gone over the reasons police can tow your car in Georgia, it’s time to cover the private sector: business owners, landlords, and other owners of private property.
Georgia’s private property towing laws are outlined in
Georgia Code 44-1-13. Tow companies must hold a non-consensual towing permit to tow a vehicle off private property without your express permission. The tow company must also have a written agreement with the owner of the property.
Your vehicle can be towed from private property if:
You parked there without authorization AND
A notice was conspicuously posted for at least 24 hours informing you the vehicle may be removed at your expense
The notice can be a conspicuously posted sign or even a note on your windshield. Regardless of the form of the notice, it must contain the following information:
Where you can recover your vehicle
The cost to recover your vehicle (i.e., towing fees and storage costs)
What types of payment are accepted (cannot be cash only)
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When can your car be towed from a parking lot in Georgia?
The laws that apply to towing from parking lots are the same laws that apply to towing from private property in Georgia.
The tow company must have a written agreement with the property owner
There must be a conspicuously placed notice informing you of the policy
Tow companies must hold a non-consensual tow permit
What are my rights if my car is towed in Georgia?
If your car is towed in Georgia for any reason, don’t forget that you have rights.
If you return to the private property, your vehicle cannot be towed away. The wrecker must return your vehicle to you. They can charge a fee (usually $75) if your vehicle has already been hooked and loaded, but if you can produce a key and immediately remove the vehicle from the private property, you’re not subject to any fees or a tow.
The property owner or authorized agent must be present for your vehicle to be towed—it is illegal for property owners and tow companies to use automatic surveillance to monitor their property.
You also have the right to know where your vehicle has been towed. The property owner should be able to provide this information if there isn’t a conspicuously placed notice—but there should be!
You don’t have to pay storage fees for the first 24 hours after your vehicle has been towed. You also can’t accumulate storage fees for any day the business is unavailable for you to pick up your vehicle.
While this isn’t codified in law, you should be allowed at least one trip to your vehicle to recover personal items even if you can’t pay to have your vehicle released.
How to save on car insurance in Georgia
It’s not nice to hear, but sometimes a tow means your insurance rate is going up. This is especially true if you’re guilty of multiple traffic violations, don’t carry insurance, have been arrested for a DUI, or you’ve been in an accident. Any of these causes can cause your rates to skyrocket.
It helps to have an expert insurance broker on your side if you find your
Georgia car insurance rates are going up. The
Jerry app combines the convenience of modern technology with the savvy know-how of an old-school broker to find you quotes from over 55 insurers in less than a minute. You’ll be reviewing multiple, competitive quotes that can save you serious cash on your premiums every year—even if your record isn’t squeaky clean.
“I don’t regret using
Jerry at all! Jerry was quick and easy to use, and they found me a super affordable quote with Nationwide.” —CJ P.