Tips to Get Your Car Out Of Impound in Canada

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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated on April 20, 2024

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated April 20, 2024

Visit author page

3 minute read

Article Contents

Having your car impounded is a situation nobody wants to face, and yes, it can significantly affect your car insurance rates. Yet, it’s essential to know the right steps to take if you find yourself in this predicament. The procedures can vary significantly across different regions, so understanding the local laws is crucial.

What to Do if Your Vehicle is Impounded?

Key Things You Should Know

  • Check Local Regulations: The process for getting your car out of impound can vary by province, each with its own triggers for impoundment, notification processes, impoundment periods, and fees. Familiarize yourself with the specific steps and requirements in your area.
  • Understand Impoundment Triggers: Common reasons for vehicle impoundment include suspended driver’s licenses, Criminal Code convictions, and serious traffic offences like stunt driving. Knowing these can help avoid future impoundments.
  • Notification and Process: Typically, you’ll receive an impoundment notice when your vehicle is towed. It’s crucial to promptly follow up with the local police service for details on retrieving your car.
  • Settle All Fees: Before you can get your vehicle back, you’ll need to show a valid driver’s license and pay all related fees, which may include towing and storage costs.
  • Explore Appeal Options: Certain impoundments, especially those lasting 45 days, may have an appeal option. Knowing the conditions and timelines for appeals can be beneficial.

The infographic below outlines the steps one should take if their car has been impounded by the police:

What to do if police impound your vehicle

Navigating Provincial Differences for Vehicle Impoundment

Our comparative analysis of vehicle impoundment procedures across Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta highlights the importance of understanding regional nuances. From impoundment triggers and notification processes to appeal options, each province has its own set of rules that can influence both the impoundment experience and its impact on your insurance.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of vehicle impoundment procedures in Ontario, as outlined by the local government.

  • Impoundment Triggers:
  • Notification & Process:
    • Police issue an impoundment notice.
    • The vehicle was immediately towed away.
  • Impoundment Periods:
    • 45 days for Criminal Code convictions
    • 14 days for stunt driving
    • Seven days for other offences
  • Fees:
    • Towing and storage fees are payable at the end.
  • Getting Vehicle Back:
    • Check with the police service
    • The owner must show a valid driver’s license and pay all costs.
  • Appeals:
    • Appeals are possible for 45-day impoundments under specific conditions.

Below are the essential details on vehicle impoundment in British Columbia.

  • Impoundment Triggers:
    • Prohibited and suspended drivers
    • Street racers and stunt drivers
    • Excessive speeders
    • Certain motorcycle offenders
    • Unlicensed and under-licensed drivers
    • Many alcohol-affected drivers
  • Notification & Process:
    • Police give a Notice of Impoundment to the driver.
    • The owner sent a copy; if not, the driver.
  • Impoundment Periods:
    • 7 to 60 days based on the offence and previous infractions
    • Specific durations for BAC levels
  • Fees:
    • The owner pays towing and impoundment costs.
    • Detailed towing and storage costs are provided
  • Getting Vehicle Back:
    • The owner must go to the impound lot after the impoundment period ends, show a valid driver’s license, and pay all costs.
  • Appeals:
    • Reviews available for impoundments over seven days for reasons like absence of consent, compassionate grounds, stolen vehicles, unlicensed drivers, and driving prohibition

The government of Quebec provides the following key points on what you should do if your vehicle is impounded.

  • Impoundment Triggers:
    • Offences under the Highway Safety Code
  • Notification & Process:
    • Driver must inform the vehicle’s owner of the seizure without delay.
  • Impoundment Periods:
    • 7, 30, or 90 days based on the offence
  • Fees:
    • Towing and impoundment fees payable by the owner
  • Getting Vehicle Back:
    • Make an appointment with the pound’s representative
    • Pay the towing and impoundment fees.
  • Appeals:
    • Application for vehicle release from seizure can be filed with the SAAQ or the Court of Québec for specific cases.

According to Alberta’s vehicle seizure program, here’s what you need to know if your vehicle is impounded in Alberta:

  • Impoundment Triggers:
    • Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program for impaired driving
    • Suspended Driver Vehicle Seizure Program
  • Notification & Process:
    • Seizure Notice provided by law enforcement
  • Impoundment Periods:
    • Varies: 30 days for IRS: FAIL
    • 3 to 7 days for IRS: WARN based on occurrence
    • Seven days for IRS ZERO: Novice
    • 24 hours for IRS: 24-HOUR
  • Fees:
    • Registered owner responsible for all costs involved in the vehicle seizure
  • Appeals:
    • File a review with SafeRoads Alberta.

Main Reasons Your Car Might Be Impounded (Infographic)

The below infographic provides an informative overview of the common reasons your car might be impounded in Canada.

Reasons your car might be impounded

Are you interested in knowing how unpaid parking tickets may impact your insurance rates? Visit our article to learn more.

Key Advice from MyChoice

At MyChoice, we understand vehicle impoundment’s complexities and its implications on your insurance rates. Drawing from years of expertise, we emphasize the importance of proactive measures and informed decisions to safeguard against the potential fallout. Here’s our distilled advice to guide you through these challenges:

Proactive Prevention:

The best defence against impoundment and its potential insurance repercussions is a clean driving record. Adherence to traffic laws not only ensures safety but also keeps insurance premiums in check.

Understanding Consequences:

Serious traffic violations categorize you as a high-risk driver, leading to increased premiums. Recognizing the gravity of these offences is crucial.

Navigating License Suspension:

A suspended license signals risk to insurers, affecting your rates. Prompt legal resolution can mitigate long-term insurance impacts.

Coverage Loss Management:

If impoundment-related violations jeopardize your coverage, transitioning to a high-risk insurance provider may be necessary. Demonstrating a commitment to safe driving can gradually improve your rates.

Broker Communication:

An open dialogue with your insurance broker is essential, especially if impoundment threatens to increase your rates. They can offer personalized advice and explore options to lessen the financial impact.

The Bottom Line

Vehicle impoundment can be a stressful and costly experience. However, by understanding the reasons behind “police impound vehicles,” the steps to retrieve your car, and the associated costs, you can navigate the process more smoothly. Always remember that responsible vehicle ownership and adherence to traffic laws are the keys to avoiding impoundment.

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