All You Know About Tennessee Towing Laws

The best way to avoid getting your car towed in Tennessee is by knowing the law. Click here to learn more.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Aug 08, 2022
In Tennessee, the law gives police and property owners the right to tow vehicles that are parked illegally or have been abandoned—but that’s not the full story. Retrieving your vehicle after it’s been impounded will also require paying pricey fees, so it’s crucial to be aware of the laws surrounding towing in the state.
To take you through the ins and outs of Tennessee’s towing laws,
trustworthy super app
created to make life easier for car owners—made this guide so you don’t have to parse all the legalese yourself. We’ll cover who can tow your car, as well as when and how to get your car back if it gets towed. We have a few tips on how to get the perfect
Tennessee car insurance
, too!

When can police tow a vehicle in Tennessee? 

In Tennessee, the towing laws are comparatively straightforward, but we’ll just hit the top three most pertinent towing laws to make it even simpler. To start things off, let’s look at the circumstances that could lead to police towing a vehicle in the Volunteer State.
Law 55-16-111
outlines that an immobile vehicle cannot legally be towed without authorization from the owner until it’s been
immobile or unattended
for 12 hours. The exceptions to this include if the vehicle is:
  • Creating a hazard
  • Preventing access to public or private property
  • Being illegally parked
For legal purposes, a vehicle is considered “immobile” if it cannot be moved due to a breakdown, weather, accident, or another emergency. Be sure to note that this law means your car can be towed in less than 12 hours if it’s parked illegally. 
According to
Tennessee Law 55-5-129
, police can also tow and impound a vehicle if the car is thought to be stolen or unregistered. However, if the car is on private property, the police must gain permission from the property owner before proceeding. 
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How to get your car out of an impound lot in Tennessee

So your car got towed, and now it’s in an impound lot—what do you do next? The process will differ depending on what city you’re in. To get your vehicle back, the first step you’ll need to take is to call your local impound lot to locate your car, or call the local police department to find out where your vehicle was taken.
When you go to retrieve your vehicle, you’ll need to bring the following items with you:
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of insurance 
  • Driver’s license or photo ID
You’ll also be expected to pay a fee to get your car back, which can cost up to $200 for average vehicles—but it can vary depending on the city and circumstances.

When can private property owners tow a vehicle in Tennessee?

Now we know all the scenarios that could cause you to be towed by police in Tennessee, but private property owners can also legally have your car towed. 
Law 66-28-518
lays out all the circumstances when a landlord can have a vehicle towed from their property—they just have to give ten days written notice posted on the vehicle first. The landlord doesn’t have to provide notice, however, if the vehicle has violated a posted parking policy. This could also include violating posted parking signage regarding traffic lanes, fire hydrants, or accessible parking areas.

When can your car be towed from a parking lot in Tennessee?

Under Tennessee
Law Code 55-8-160
, a car can be towed from a parking lot if it fits the criteria from the previous two sections. A vehicle can also be towed if it is parked in a spot reserved for disabled parking without a proper permit. 
To avoid being towed, be sure to look out for any posted signage—no matter where you’re parking. 

How to save on car insurance in Tennessee

If your vehicle was towed in Tennessee, not only will you have to deal with the hassle of getting your car back and paying hefty fees, but if your tow was the result of an at-fault accident, DUI, or a traffic violation, you can expect your
car insurance
premium to increase by quite a bit.  
You’re not locked into sky-high premiums, though—not when you have a handy insurance expert in your literal back pocket. The
app is always there to help you find the cheapest rates on car insurance in the quickest way possible. Jerry works like magic: just sign up, and you’ll see competitive rates sourced from over 55 insurance providers in less than two minutes—no matter what your record looks like. 
brought my insurance deductible down from $2.5k to $1k without me having to switch companies. I even had a ticket on my record. If it can help me, Jerry will definitely help you save money.” —Maxwell N.
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