Everything You Need to Know About Massachusetts Towing Laws

Educate yourself on Massachusetts’ towing laws and avoid becoming the victim of a predatory tow.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Aug 08, 2022
Massachusetts towing laws allow police and private property owners to have vehicles towed if they are illegally parked or abandoned, but there’s a lot more to the law than just that. You often have to pay high towing and storage fees to get your vehicle back after it’s been towed, so you need to know your rights.
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When can police tow a vehicle in Massachusetts? 

The towing law in Massachusetts is a complicated subject—you could sink endless hours into it and still not know all the ins and outs. We’re keeping it simple with three of the most important towing laws in Massachusetts, starting with when the police can tow your vehicle.
The police in Massachusetts may tow your vehicle when:
  • The vehicle was stolen 
  • The vehicle is disabled and obstructing traffic and/or is an obvious hazard
  • The operator of the vehicle is arrested and the vehicle would be left unattended on a public way
  • The vehicle is improperly parked or standing in violation of a state or municipal law or regulation
  • The vehicle is not validly registered or insured
  • The vehicle, in its current condition, is too hazardous or dangerous to be driven
  • Adverse weather conditions or other emergency reasons require the removal of the vehicle 
There might be more reasons why the police might tow your vehicle, but these are the big ones. If your vehicle is towed by the police, it will be taken to an impound lot.
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How to get your car out of an impound lot in Massachusetts

If your vehicle is taken to an impound lot, make sure you recover it within 30 calendar days. After this, the vehicle will go to auction and you won’t be able to get it back. 
Unfortunately, the police can’t hold your vehicle indefinitely. Call the impound lot as soon as you can after your vehicle is towed to get instructions for recovery. If you’re the owner of the vehicle, you should be able to easily get the vehicle back by showing up during normal business hours and providing:
  • Any fees that might be due
  • The vehicle’s license plate number
  • The vehicle’s insurance information
  • Your driver’s license
If you’re not the vehicle’s owner, you should still be able to easily recover the vehicle with the above items. 
It should be simple to get your car back from the impound lot—should be. More often than not, fees complicate the recovery of a vehicle and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Fees include:
  • Towing fees
  • Daily storage fees
  • Administrative fees
  • Transfer charge fees
  • After-hours fees, lien charges, and auction fees (when applicable) 

When can private property owners tow a vehicle in Massachusetts?

Now that we’ve covered when the police can tow your vehicle in Massachusetts, let’s talk about when private property owners, like businesses and landlords, can tow your vehicle. 
Private property towing laws are covered by
Section 120D
of Massachusetts law. One important aspect of this law is that a property owner or their agent must provide written notice to the chief of police or their designee that they are going to tow a vehicle. The property owner must also expressly forbid you from parking there, either verbally or by sign.
If a property owner doesn’t follow the above criteria, they are subject to a fine of up to $100
Once your vehicle is towed, it must be stored in a convenient location—that means you won’t have to travel 20 miles, for example, to get your car back.
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When can your car be towed from a parking lot in Massachusetts?

Parking lot tows follow the same laws as those that govern tows from private property. Your vehicle can also be towed from a parking lot if:
  • The vehicle is illegally parked
  • The vehicle has five or more overdue parking tickets

What are my rights if my car is towed in Massachusetts?

If your car is towed in Massachusetts for any reason, you have certain rights. Your rights include:
  • A walk-in hearing within five days of your tow
  • The right to have your car taken off the tow truck if you show up before the tow is completed
If your vehicle has been towed, call the wrecking service right away for more details and instructions. You can find this information on a sign posted on the private property your vehicle was towed from, or from the local police department if the police had your vehicle towed.  

How to save on car insurance in Massachusetts

You might not think a tow could contribute to high car insurance rates, but it’s possible depending on the reason for the tow. If you illegally parked at a coffee shop and got a tow, that won’t affect your rates. But if you got a tow after a traffic violation, a DUI arrest, or an accident, any of those factors can raise your rates. 
You could benefit from the help of an expert insurance broker in this case—that’s why
is here. Jerry combines the convenience of modern technology with the old-school savvy of an insurance broker. With Jerry’s help and a network of over 55 insurance companies, you’ll find the best
Massachusetts car insurance
rates available in less than a minute—even if your record isn’t perfect. 
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