Towing is usually not covered by liability-only insurance plans. You should expect to pay upfront for any towing, including after an accident. However, if another driver was deemed at fault for the accident, their insurance should cover damages to your vehicle and may cover any towing expenses.
Towing Coverage Options
Most auto insurance providers offer some type of towing insurance. Each company is unique in how it goes about towing coverage. You will want to check with your insurance company to understand exactly how they handle towing. Many insurers can dispatch a truck to your location regardless of where you happen to be and bring you to the closest repair shop. Some companies will only offer a reimbursement option, meaning you will have to pay for the tow and file a claim to get your money back from the insurance company. Most reimbursement clauses have a limit typically around $50.
Towing coverage isn’t typically included in regular full coverage plans, so you must ask for it if you want it to be a part of your policy.
When you are purchasing towing coverage, make sure to ask about the limitations of the plan and whether it is a reimbursement policy. If your insurance provider does not offer roadside assistance that can be used anytime, anywhere, it may be worth finding coverage somewhere else.
Roadside assistance can help get your broken down car on the road again or to a mechanic close by. This plan is cheap and offered by many insurers. No matter how reliable your car is, you may find yourself stuck on the side of the road. Though roadside assistance isn’t free, it’s often very cheap and can save you money in the long run.
Here are the most common events covered by roadside assistance per Coverage.com:
- Tire Change: Whether you are uncomfortable changing a tire yourself or don’t have the tools to do it roadside, this coverage will send a technician out that will change your flat with a spare or fix the leak altogether.
- Dead Battery: If your battery dies or has run its course and needs to be replaced, a tech will come by to jump-start your car or replace the battery to get you on your way.
- Refueling: If you’ve run out of gas and can’t reach a nearby gas station, a specialist will deliver fuel straight to your vehicle.
- Locksmith: This coverage allows the use of a locksmith if you’ve locked yourself out of your car. Some companies will charge extra for the use of a locksmith.
- Towing: If a specialist can’t get your car driving again, not to worry, with roadside assistance you will be covered for towing up to a limit. After you have reached your mileage limit for the tow, you will need to pay out of pocket.
Filing a claim is simple and easy with roadside assistance. Using your provider’s app or by giving them a call, you’ll receive help right away.
What if I Am Not at Fault?
According to CarInsurance101, if you aren’t covered by towing and labor or roadside assistance, your insurance probably won’t pay for a tow after your car breaks down. Although if you’re in a traffic accident that is caused by another motorist and your vehicle is unable to be driven, your towing expenses will most likely be paid for by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
So because another driver caused an accident that caused damage to your car, their insurance will cover your tow to the nearest body shop. You will need to pick your vehicle up as soon as possible to circumvent any fees from a longer than necessary stay at the tow yard. The at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the first tow, but that coverage does not apply to these types of fees.
How Do I Find My Vehicle That Has Been Towed?
There are two ways your car can be towed away. The most common way is when the car’s owner specifically requests a tow truck to move the vehicle with the expectation of retrieval at a later date. The other way is when a police officer decides a vehicle at the scene of an accident needs to be towed, either to move it off the roadway or to protect others from the vehicle.
If you contacted the towing company, you should ask for their address and any stored vehicles’ information. If an officer towed the vehicle instead, you would need to contact the local police department for any information regarding your damaged vehicle. If you were transported to a hospital or medical facility when the vehicle was being towed, you should contact the police department of the city in which the accident took place, per MAAFirm.
What Happens to My Vehicle if I Can’t Pay the Fees?
Though holding time varies between companies, according to Siegfried and Jensen, most tow yards will hold onto a vehicle between 20 days and three months before they try to impound the vehicle. The tow yard will contact the city for permission to take ownership of the vehicle. Eventually, the city will award the company the vehicle’s title, and the car will be salvaged. The car then gets weighed and is taken to a scrap metal yard. In some cases, the vehicle is auctioned off.
If you cannot pay the towing price, the towing company won’t be allowed to return your vehicle by law. In most instances, you’ll have plenty of time to come up with enough money to pay the fees. That being said, it is always better to take care of the towing fees rather than have your car auctioned or turned into scrap.
Throughout the country, every major insurance provider offers towing coverages. Roadside assistance is an inexpensive option that could save you money in the end. Quotes are instant, easy, and free, so head online and ask your insurance company about their towing and roadside assistance options today.
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