If car was towed, you still may owe


If your stranded car is damaged …

You are likely to have to pay a deductible to your insurance carrier. How that will work, according to the Georgia Department of Insurance Consumer Division.

  • Collision insurance will probably cover the damage if your unoccupied, stranded vehicle was damaged.
  • Under some scenarios uninsured motorist coverage could cover damages.
  • Under any damage scenario, drivers can expect to pay their deductibles.
  • In rare cases where a stranded vehicle may have been hit by multiple cars, multiple accident claims could be required. Under that scenario a vehicle owner would have to pay multiple deductibles.

If you have questions or need help negotiating with an insurer, call the Georgia Department of Insurance Consumer Division for assistance at (404) 656-2070 or visit the website at www.oci.ga.gov/ConsumerService/AutoInsurance.aspx.

Towing fee waiver

For a waiver to let them recover their costs of cars being towed, vehicle owners should get a form from the state Department of Public Safety website — http://dps.georgia.gov.

Who’s eligible

McDonough said the drivers who will be eligible for waived fees are one whose cars were towed from Tuesday until Friday morning in these locations:

on I-285;

the interstates inside I-285;

Ga. 400 to Forsyth County;

I-75 to I-575;

I-575 to Cherokee County;

I-20 to Six Flags

Towing fee waiver

For a waiver to let them recover their costs of cars being towed, vehicle owners should get a form from the state Department of Public Safety website — http://dps.georgia.gov.

Who’s eligible

McDonough said the drivers who will be eligible for waived fees are one whose cars were towed from Tuesday until Friday morning in these locations:

on I-285;

the interstates inside I-285;

Ga. 400 to Forsyth County;

I-75 to I-575;

I-575 to Cherokee County;

I-20 to Six Flags

Stranded motorists recovering impounded cars Friday learned that, despite promises from law enforcement and government officials this week, they could still be on the hook for towing costs.

Taxpayers will be footing a bill of at least $50,000 to reimburse companies that did the towing, according to Col. Mark McDonough, the state commissioner of public safety.

Some car owners already got a bill.

Wanda Kindle said she got the runaround from Atlanta police Friday when she asked for a voucher to waive her towing fee. Her car was towed from Joseph Lowery Boulevard where she had gotten stuck Tuesday after picking up her son at Washington High School.

She said the APD directed her to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. Police and deputies declined to give her a waiver, Kindle said, and consequently she was hit with a $150 bill from A Tow, which officials described as one of the largest towing companies doing business with the state and the City of Atlanta.

Suburban municipalities, including Marietta, Cobb, DeKalb, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs, are not charging for cars they had towed unless the vehicle was involved in an accident. Deadlines to retrieve vehicles vary from Friday midnight to Sunday.

Spillane said Kindle’s car must have been towed on orders by a Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy.

“If it is one our impounds, we will issue a credit if a citizen got charged by mistake,” he said. “If it was a Fulton County sheriff deputy, it doesn’t have anything to do with Atlanta Police.”

Mark Dixon, who lives in Fairburn, had a similar experience with A-Tow after being sent there by the Georgia State Patrol after his car was towed off the Connector just north of Langford Parkway Thursday. His bill: $135.

“This is ridiculous,” said Dixon, 40, who said he and his wife were stuck in their car for 25 hours after he fetched her from work Tuesday. “This was nobody’s fault — it was a state of emergency.”

A clerk at A Tow told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that she could not waive the paperwork without proper verification from the law enforcement agencies.

Shortly after Dixon and Kindle were charged, McDonough said at a press conference that A Tow and other towing agencies had agreed to hold charges to $100 per ordinary vehicle for the approximately 500 that were moved.

However, that cost includes just moving the vehicles off the roadways — not towing to an impound lot — which McDonough said constituted most of the cost. Storage fees also increase the bill.

He said Dixon would be able recover his towing costs by getting a form from the state Department of Public Safety website — http://dps.georgia.gov— although he said the motorist would still be responsible for any storage fees, which A-Tow said ran $20 a day.

McDonough said the state was requesting, but not requiring, that tow companies waive storage fees. He said the state was monitoring anything that appeared to be price gouging and had one towing company lower a bill that had been $230.

Spillane said the city would cover the towing costs and storage fees up until Sunday at noon for the handful of storm-related tows directed by APD. He estimated those were fewer than 25 vehicles.

McDonough said the drivers who will be eligible for waived fees are one whose cars were towed from Tuesday until Friday morning on I-285, the interestates inside I-285, Ga. 400 to Forsyth County, I-75 to I-575, I-575 to Cherokee County and I-20 to Six Flags, which is where the emergency towing took place, including the 147 towed Thursday night.