Georgia towing laws cover nonconsensual towing and vehicle repossession. Laws regarding nonconsensual towing apply when the owner of the vehicle does not authorize the towing. When a vehicle is repossessed, the legal owner can tow the vehicle to regain possession.
Towing Authorized Vehicles
There is no need to obtain a permit or follow specified regulatory guidelines when towing is consensual. You can contact a towing company and initiate the towing process if your car breaks down, if an accident occurs or if you need to remove your car from a public or private property in Georgia. If you have a complaint about a consensual towing experience, you can contact the Better Business Bureau.
Towing Unauthorized Vehicles
If towing is nonconsensual, Georgia law applies when a car is towed from private property. The towing company must have an agreement with the property owner and a filing with Georgia Public Service Commission to legally engage in nonconsensual towing on private property. The GPSC requires proof of insurance and a copy of a Certificate of Insurance for Public Liability and Property Damage, as well as a Certificate of Insurance for Liability Insurance Coverage.
An unauthorized vehicle can be towed from private property provided there is a conspicuous notice at the place stating that any vehicle not authorized to be at that place may be removed at the expense of the owner of the vehicle. The notice must provide the location where the vehicle can be recovered, the cost of recovery and how recovery can be paid for.
Repossessing a Vehicle
When you finance or lease a car, truck or other vehicle, your creditor or lessor holds important rights on the vehicle until you’ve made the last loan payment or fully paid off your leasing obligation. These rights are established by the signed contract and by state law. For example, if your loan payments are late or you default on your contract in any way, the creditor or lessor may have the right to repossess your car. In cases involving the repossession of a vehicle, the legal owner can rely on Georgia impound laws to tow the vehicle.
Repossessors are not allowed to commit a breach of the peace when they tow your car. A breach of the peace includes towing your car from a closed garage without your permission. However, it is not a breach of the peace to tow a vehicle from an open garage or a public street.
- Georgia Department of Law Consumer Protection Unit: Towing
- FindLaw: Georgia Code Title 44. Property § 44-1-13
- Better Business Bureau: File a Complaint
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information: Vehicle Repossession
- Georgia Department of Banking and Finance: Repossession (Vehicles)
- FindLaw: Georgia Code Title 10. Commerce and Trade § 10-1-36
- Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia: Subject 515-16-15 Non-Consensual Towing
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.