How Much are Impound Fees in California?
Every California city's police commission and local government are the regulators of the impound and storage fees in their respective jurisdictions. Several factors determine the impound costs, such as the type of vehicle, mileage rate, and payment method for the expenses.
All impounded vehicles get sent to one of the official police garages (OPGs) of the state. The OPG does not set the impound fees, though. They work as partners with local city government agencies. You must visit the official police garage and pay these fees before your car gets released back to you.
According to California Civil Code Section 1748.1(a), you can receive a discount on the towing and storage fees if you DO NOT use a credit card to pay them. You can receive a cheaper rate if you use other payment methods, such as cash or a check. The discounts are not significant, but you can save a few dollars that way.
The standard impound fee was previously $135.00. However, on January 1st, 2021, the impound fee increased to $136.50. If the police impounded an upright heavy-duty vehicle, it would cost you $262.00. Sometimes specialized equipment is required to move these larger vehicles. That would cost you $395.50 in this case. And if the tow truck operators need to remove hazardous cargo beforehand, the impound fee is as high as $592.
The daily storage rates at the OPGs can add up quickly. You can expect to pay $42.50 for each day your vehicle is in storage. Motorcycle storage only costs $11.50 per day. But if you have a truck weighing over 2,000 pounds, the daily storage rate will cost you anywhere from $47.00 to $74.50. The exact rate depends on the height of the truck. And finally, all storage fees are subjected to a 10% city parking occupancy tax.
Other miscellaneous rates could get added to the impound fees as well. For example, the mileage rate of $7.50 could increase your overall bill if the towing operator has to drive far to retrieve and transport the vehicle. You'll also have to pay an extra $77.00 if the police had to remove stolen parts from the car.
Your expenses don't end with the impound and storage fees. If you want the city to release the vehicle back to you, there is an additional $115.00 release fee that you must pay. Failure to pay these fees will result in a lien getting placed on the title of your vehicle. That means the city will conduct a lien-sale to retrieve the fees they're owed.