Having your car towed and impounded is never a fun experience. Walking out to where you were parked only to see that your car is not there can cause a ton of instant anxiety. You might feel a little doomed or that you have the worst luck on the planet. On top of your car being taken from you and locked away, you realize you cannot afford to pay for it.
Retrieving your car from impound can be expensive, usually costing hundreds of dollars, and that is not including the Uber you might need to take to get to the impound. While this situation is by no means a positive, you’re not doomed and there are some options you have to get your car back without the necessary money.
Ask About A Payment Plan
The first thing I recommend doing is calling or going to the impound where your car is being held. If you’re not sure where your car was towed, you can call 311 or visit your city’s towed vehicle locator website. Once you’re talking with an employee at the impound, ask if they have any financing options.
Perhaps you can pay the impound fee over the course of a few months rather than all at once. If they do not have any financing plans, explain to them your situation and see if they will create one for you. The impound just wants its money, they do not want the trouble of you not being able to pay either, so they will likely be fine with letting you finance your bill.
Reach Out To Family and Friends
Although asking for help from close ones might cause some awkward conversations or tension, this is still a decent option. Who knows? You might just get lucky and have your problem solved for you. If anyone owes you money or a favor, now is the time to collect that. Make sure to ask very politely and do not beg, if they decline, do not keep asking or get upset, let them know you understand and call someone else.
You do not want to burn any bridges. Do not let this conversation cause any arguments if you can help it, who knows, they might help you the next time you are in a difficult position. Don’t get discouraged from one or two people saying no, make sure you contact as many people as you can.
Helping others out releases serotonin. People like helping their friends and family, eventually someone will help out. You can even ask for just a portion of a bill. Your friends might not have a few hundred dollars handy either, but they might have 20. If you can collect a small amount of money from multiple people, that just might add up.
If you cannot get the money gifted to you by friends or family, let them know that you will pay them back as soon as possible. You can even add a small amount of interest, to give them some incentive to loan you the money. Ultimately, it is no guarantee that anyone will be willing to give or lend you any money, but it is worth a shot.
Just like you can ask friends and family for money, you can also ask complete strangers for your help. Use a platform such as GoFundME and explain that you cannot afford your impound bill. You might be surprised and have your bill paid for by strangers who are sympathetic to your situation, or just any philanthropies searching the site.
If you go this route, you should be posting your GoFundMe link on all your social media platforms. Social media moves fast, and it could get the word out for you pretty efficiently. Maybe that one acquaintance you forgot to call sees the post and wants to help you out. Now, one downside to crowdsourcing is that it may take longer to raise the money than any of the other options.
This is a problem because for starters you want/need your car now, but on top of that, a lot of impounds charge an additional fee if your car is not picked up within 24 hours. That being said, there is no harm to crowdsourcing. It is a legitimate way a lot of people get help.
Look Into Getting Legal Assistance
This does not apply to everyone’s situation, but if you believe your car has been impounded unfairly, you may want to look into how the law can help you. Each case will differ, so you will need to speak with someone within the legal field to understand if this route is an option.
Ask Your Bank or a Commit Action Agency for Help
This should in no way be your go-to option. A personal loan will likely be much more costly than the impound fee. This is a high-risk option and you should only really turn to it when you have exercised all your other options. If you are someone with a job but without the upfront for the impound fee, this might be something you can consider more.
It would be ideal to pay this loan back as soon as possible as the interest rates on these loans are usually extremely high. You might not qualify for a personal loan so this isn’t an option for everyone, and it’s not recommended for anyone. Nonetheless, if you need to get your car and have no other options, consider taking out a personal loan.
If not having your car puts you at risk of getting fired, you should try contacting a community action agency. Non-profit help is rare, but not impossible. nobody wants a member of their community to become unemployed, especially due to such an unfortunate circumstance.
Some community action agencies will provide a grant and pay the impound fee in full. Others may offer a very low-interest loan or a financing plan that would allow you time to pay the bill. Some regional or even national non-profit agencies might be willing to help as well, although this is even rarer.
Asking a community agency for help is no sure thing, but if you are someone who needs their car to get to work, you can probably find some agency willing to help you keep that job.
Ask for a Cash Advance
Go to your employer and tell them you would like your next paycheck now. Now, this won’t make life easier for you later on when you’d normally get your paycheck, but you can figure that out later. Many companies won’t have a problem giving you an advance as it doesn’t really affect them much, especially if it is a larger company.
If you cannot or do not want to ask your employer, you can ask for an advance from your credit card company. Many credit cards currently allow users to take out a cash advance against their credit. If nobody is offering you any money, you might want to consider giving something up for that money.
Put something you don’t use or value much on the Facebook marketplace or another similar resource for selling items. Make sure the item is something worth buying. If you want it to sell quicker, sell it for cheaper than it’s worth.
You Have Options
It’s not good that your car was impounded, and although you have no money, you will find a way to get your car back. You can ask for a financing plan, reach out to family and friends, crowdsource, get legal help, get a personal loan, talk to a community action agency, ask for a cash advance, or sell something. Whatever you end up going with, stay positive, and know that you will get your car back.