In most cases, you can drive your vehicle away from the scene of an
accident, even with damage to you and the car. However, if you are taken to
the hospital or if your car is severely damaged, the police will usually
call a towing company. The vehicle may be towed to a wrecking yard or
storage yard. If you are lucky, it will be towed to an auto body shop. In
most jurisdictions, a flat hourly rate is approved for clean-up and towing
The wrecking yard or storage yard runs up charges at an amazing rate. A
person could probably find a motel room in the area for the same daily rate
they are charging to store your car! Guess what? You are going to have
to pay all of the towing and storage charges in full and in cash or with a
credit card - before you can get your car back. You may look to an
insurance company for reimbursement - either the other driver's company or
your own, if you had the foresight to purchase towing insurance.
Incidentally, towing insurance is an inexpensive addition to your
auto insurance. If you have not already done so, consider adding it to your
policy as soon as practicable.
Get your car out of storage quickly to avoid running up even higher total
charges. This is not the time to be arguing with any insurance company over
who is at fault while the storage charges grow with each day. If you have
to borrow the money from somebody, do so immediately and remove your car.
Take it to your own home or to an auto body shop.
There are many strange stories about vehicles in storage yards, including
the refusal of the yard owner to allow the car owner access to his own
vehicle! Sometimes you may have left valuables in the vehicle and not be
allowed access to them. Even if you are arguing about coverage with the
adjuster, he may be able to call and negotiate access for you. If you do
seek access to your car at a storage area, always be prepared to show proof
that you are the owner of the car. Also, make a detailed receipt showing
each item you remove. Finally, take photos of your car in the storage yard.
Be aware, however, that some storage yards have rules against photographs
of any vehicles - including your own - in their yard. If your car is
totaled by the insurance company, you may never see it again, so this might
be your only opportunity to get photographs of the damages.