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Towing Coverage - Reimbursement

Towing Insurance and AAA
Towing Costs and Reimbursement
Towing Options
Where Should I Have My Car Towed?
What Policy Covers Damage to My Car From the Tow Truck or Repair Shop?
Can I Use Towing Insurance When I Have Car Trouble?
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1. Towing Insurance and AAA
Many people believe it is not necessary to carry towing insurance or related insurance coverage if you have AAA or belong to a similar roadside assistance club. Before you decide to cancel your towing insurance, compare the benefits and features of your insurance coverage with that of AAA membership. How do the costs compare? Are the services similar? You may find the price of the insurance coverage competitive with a roadside assistance club. Be sure to read the fine print in both agreements. If you have a vehicle still under warranty, you may not need towing insurance or a AAA membership. Your warranty may provide for roadside assistance as part of the coverage, making both expenses unnecessary. Top

2. Towing Costs and Reimbursement
It's important to know the terms of optional insurance coverage such as towing and labor coverage. How much are you reimbursed for these services? When you need to be towed after an accident, you may be charged mileage or other fees depending on where you need to have the vehicle towed and how much work is involved. In a simple fender-bender where your car needs minor repairs and tire replacement, you may only be charged the base fee. In a severe accident where the car is more difficult to attach and transport the wrecked car, you may incur labor fees in addition to your towing charges. It's best to know how much you will be reimbursed ahead of time -- you may need to set aside money to cover excess towing costs depending on the terms of your policy.

Be sure to check your policy's declarations page for an overview of towing coverage, including how much is reimbursed. But for more in-depth information do not hesitate to call your car insurance company and ask a representative to explain to you exactly how this coverage operates. Top

3. Towing Options
When you need to have your vehicle towed from the scene of an accident, you may be offered a choice of towing services. Your towing insurance should cover the majority of your towing costs, but if your car is only lightly damaged and needs tire repair, consider paying extra for the flatbed towing option. The flatbed towing method is less damaging to the vehicle -- it is placed on the bed of the tow truck and secured with chains as opposed to the more traditional method of attaching a hook or clamp to your car and pulling it behind the truck. If your car is not badly damaged, the extra towing costs of a flatbed is worth the investment since you avoid further damage to your suspension and alignment with flatbed towing. Read the terms of your towing insurance carefully and know the reimbursement limits so you can budget accordingly. Top

4. Where Should I Have My Car Towed?
Many towing insurance policies offer coverage specifying reimbursement for towing and labor charges if your car is towed to the nearest repair facility. It's important to know your coverage well in cases where you want the car taken to a trusted mechanic who is farther away. Some policies may not provide full payment to a facility outside the range of the nearest garage. In these cases you'll be required to note the additional mileage and prepare to pay accordingly. Does your policy exclude payment for all towing rates if it doesn't go to the nearest garage? Know before you call -- it could affect your towing choices. Top

5. What Policy Covers Damage to My Car From the Tow Truck or Repair Shop?
Many people don't realize that towing companies and repair shops must carry their own insurance to protect them if a car is damaged while it is in their care. If your car is damaged while being transported by a tow truck, your towing insurance doesn't cover the costs. Instead, the towing company's "on-hook" insurance handles the damages. If your car is taken to a towing company's impound lot or a repair shop, a different type of policy called garage keeper's insurance covers your car. Towing insurance is only meant for covering the expense of moving a vehicle. If it is badly handled in someone else's care, their insurance coverage should pay for the damages. You will need to get your insurance agent involved in the claims process as with any other type of damage to your vehicle where you need compensation. Top

6. Can I Use Towing Insurance When I Have Car Trouble?
Your policy will list which circumstances are appropriate for reimbursement for towing services, but towing insurance is usually meant for use after an accident. Roadside assistance may not be covered by your towing insurance, but if your car is under warranty you may have free help available. Your credit card company may also offer roadside assistance programs for its preferred customers.

For those without such options, you can pay a few dollars a year for towing insurance on your auto policy combined with a the fees of a club such as AAA. If you travel country roads and in out-of-the-way places this extra protection is a good investment. If you live in the city and can get affordable help quickly without paying extra for a membership with AAA, you may not need the extra coverage. Some insurance companies may offer you additional roadside coverage; check with your agent for full details. Top

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