No one plans to abandon their car on the roadway, but sometimes it's necessary. Perhaps you have car trouble late in the evening, so instead of calling for a tow, you have a friend or relative come and get you. Maybe you are short on money and simply can't afford a tow and repair expenses for a bit. Although leaving your car for a short period of time may not be disastrous, you should be aware of what may happen and how to avoid it.

Law Enforcement

Although laws and general practices vary in different areas, you should not leave your car by the road for over 48 hours. Law enforcement officers may come by and tag your car with a bright sticker. After that sticker is applied, you will have a day or two to retrieve your vehicle. If you do not, it will be towed at your expense and stored at a facility. They will track you by your registration, and notify you of your vehicle's whereabouts. If you do not retrieve it quickly, the fees could become quite steep.


In 2012, over 700,000 vehicles were stolen in the United States. Abandoning your car for even a short period of time makes it a prime target for thieves. Even if it's broken down, organized criminals can easily have it towed away in the middle of the night. If they do not want the entire car, they may strip it for parts, leaving you with a skeleton of a vehicle when you finally return for it. Your car, if not safely away from the road, could be the cause of an accident, opening you up to liability issues as well.

Towing Insurance

The best protection against this problem is to carry towing insurance through your agent. Usually, adding this protection only costs you a few extra dollars a month and, in many instances, it provides you with a towing allowance that should cover moving your car to a nearby shop or even your home. Adding this protection to your policy can save you money and protect your car.

Abandoning your car even for a short period of time can be disastrous to your vehicle and your finances. You need to understand the ramifications of leaving your car by the road or some other public place. To avoid the problems that stem from this practice, consider purchasing towing insurance from a firm like Graber Insurance.