Towing after an accident – you should involve your insurance company

You’ve been in an accident that will require your car to be towed. You’ve called the police and they are on their way to the scene. You are about to call your auto insurance company and start to wonder, “how am I going to get my car towed, and who’s going to pay for it?” Here’s what you should know.

First off, at this point, it will be impossible to know which party will be considered at fault for the accident (though you’ll have your own opinions on that matter).

As such, you won’t know whether your insurance or the other party’s auto insurance will be covering the towing. You also will not know what kind of coverage the other party has and whether or not their insurance will cover the towing of your vehicle, even if the other party is at fault.

If you eventually are determined to be at fault for the accident, then your insurance will be restricted to whatever your insurance company covers for towing. Most likely, your insurance will cover reasonable costs within a reasonable distance – in other words, if you are out of your home state and are looking to get your car towed back to your home town, most likely the bulk of that expense will be coming out of your pocket. (It’s always a good idea to fully understand your coverage before you get into an accident as well.)

Regardless, at this point it is time to call your insurance company. After you explain the circumstances of the accident, you should bring up this issue of towing and ask your car insurance company to either call a trusted tow company in your area, or to give you the contact information. This is probably the best way to avoid conflicts about coverage later on.

So what happens if you don’t mention towing to your auto insurance company? Well, most likely, one of two things will happen – either a random tow service will hear about the accident on its police scanner and simply show up first to the accident, or a tow company that is on “rotation” for the police will show up.

Of course, you could also call a local towing company directly (and if you’re local, perhaps one that you are familiar with), or if you are a AAA member, you could call their towing service as well, but again, with any of these options your car insurance company may or may not fully cover the towing expense.

Finally, we would be remiss to not point out that some auto insurance companies offer optional towing and labor roadside assistance that generally covers towing, flat tire repair and dead battery issues. Also, this coverage is generally inexpensive (perhaps just a few dollars per month depending on the company and your specific insurance profile). So if your car insurance company offers it, and you do not already have AAA or a similar third-party service, this would be another option.

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4 Comments on "Towing after an accident – you should involve your insurance company"

  1. April Cook July 18, 2016 at 11:52 am · Reply

    I really like this tip to ask your insurance agency about towing. I would have just called one on my own and not thought to consult with my insurance provider. If we cannot determine who is at fault when we need to be towed will the not guilty party be reimbursed? Thanks for sharing this information!

  2. Sean Nelson May 29, 2016 at 4:18 am · Reply

    Great advice on how to save some serious money when you’re in an accident. Not enough people know this or if they do remember to take advantage of this when they are dealing with this crisis. We all are forced to pay for insurance (probably why they are some of the richest companies in the US) and leveraging our service for all it’s benefits can really save the average customer a lot of cash. Thank you for a great article.

  3. Sam Wilkins May 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm · Reply

    Great tip about having your insurance company give you a towing services number. That way you can be sure they accept your insurance and you won’t be stuck covering the whole cost. My sister was in an accident and needs to have her car towed, so I will suggest she gets a referral from her insurance company.

  4. Pancho Cham May 3, 2016 at 9:55 am · Reply

    My sister had to get her car towed from her accident, and she got it covered by her insurance, and after reading I wonder if my tows are covered by insurance. I’ll need to make sure that they are, and if they aren’t, I’ll make sure to get them covered. I would much rather pay a little more for insurance than to pay the costs of a tow.

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