1. Auto Insurance. Most likely, your car got impounded because you had no insurance or drove with a suspended license. Depending on where you live in Oregon—prices vary by zip code—you can expect to pay between $100 to $250 a month depending on your driving record. Of course, you are in a rush to get the proof of insurance, so you must work with an agent who can provide you with documents instantly. Why the rush? Every day that ticks by, the tow company charges you for storage fees as much as $50 a day. Ask your agent to include SR22. You may not need it now, but you will after the Oregon DMV gets wind of your driving without insurance ticket.
2. Release Certificate. Typically, you pick up the release certificate from the police station closest to where your car was impounded. The officer should tell you at the time of the stop where to pay for the certificate. Be sure to take with you proof of insurance. The driver who will be retrieving the impounded automobile must have a valid license. If yours is suspended, and you’ll be the driver picking it up, you’ll need to do what the DMV requires to reinstate your license or find someone who has an active, valid license. The cost of the release certificate varies from $50 to $300, depending on which city officer stopped you.
3. Tow Bill. This immediate cost might be your biggest. I’ve heard tow companies charge between $200 and $500 or more to tow your car. Much of the expense depends on where you were stopped, the vehicle, and how far to their tow lot.
4. Storage Fees. The towing company must maintain a secured tow yard to keep your car safe from theft, vandalism, and looting. No, you don’t get to empty your car when you get stopped. You can take your personal effects out of the vehicle, and that’s it. So, there your automobile sits, with everything inside, taking up valuable space in their lot. They usually charge between $30 and $50 a day for storage fees. That’s why I said earlier, the faster you can get the insurance and release certificate, the lower the storage fees will be.
5. Ticket. Either you go to court to fight the ticket, or you simply pay the fine and move on. Going to court and pleading your case might at least get the fine reduced. A no insurance ticket usually costs between $150 and $250. Add that to other infractions, and you’ll leave the courthouse having paid as much as $1,000 in fines.
Now, if you had maintained insurance and good credit, your insurance would probably be around $50 to $70 a month. You can expect to pay double that because you had no prior insurance and will now have tickets on your record. Some companies charge even more because you’ll need an SR22 certificate. They charge you to send in the SR22 form to the DMV and an SR26 form if you cancel your policy. The $25 fee per certificate the DMV charges passes on to you.