Citrus Heights, CA asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for California

Q: My vehicle was stolen from my apartment complex on 1-31-23.

On 2-14-24 CHP called to notify me that the vehicle had been located and was at a towing yard in Folsom California. As the tow yard office was closed, I called them the next morning and was told to retrieve the vehicle I must pay in tow fees and storage fees nearly $600. Everyday this fee has risen by $65 and I am unable to come up with the funds (nearly $1,500 now) to get this vehicle and I am just beside myself. I have looked everywhere for some sort of rule which allows me to get this vehicle out without being charged fees but I can find nothing. Is there anything I can do it seems so unfair that I should be paying fees to get my vehicle that was stolen from my residence-I lose out twice.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, when a stolen vehicle is recovered and towed, the vehicle owner is typically responsible for the towing and storage fees. This situation can indeed be frustrating, especially after the distress of having your vehicle stolen. However, there are a few steps you might take to address this issue.

Firstly, check with your auto insurance provider to see if your policy covers towing and storage fees for stolen vehicles. Some policies include coverage for these expenses, which could significantly reduce your financial burden. If you haven't already, report the theft to your insurance company and inquire about any available assistance or reimbursement for the recovery of your vehicle.

Additionally, it's worth reaching out to local law enforcement or the agency that recovered your vehicle to explain your situation. While the law generally requires payment of these fees, they might be able to offer guidance or assist in negotiating with the tow yard for a reduction or extended payment terms. Remember, clear communication and prompt action are key in resolving such matters and potentially mitigating the costs involved.

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