Towing After an Accident - Roadside Assistance.

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.

Vehicle accident. Front end crashed into parking lot light pole. Tow Truck loding vehicle.

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. Like Tri-State Towing & Recovery, if you are in the Rochester, MN area. 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. More on how to recognize potential towing service scams later.

Totaled Vehicle after accident loaded onto Tri-State Towing & Recovery flatbed tow truck

Of course, you could also call a local towing company directly (and if you’re local to Rochester, MN, perhaps one of the towing companies you would call is Tri-State Towing & Recovery), 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 vehicles, 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.

Recognizing a tow truck scam

Your car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road. As you're fussing with the engine, trying to figure out what went wrong, a tow truck pulls in beside you and offers to help. You breathe a sigh of relief, hand over your keys, sign the paperwork, and thank your lucky stars for this stroke of good luck. But this favorable turn of events could end up costing you a small fortune. Why?

Dishonest towing operators (also known as bandit tow trucks) that materialize "just when you need them" prey on unsuspecting drivers in need of car towing. They offer to help — and then charge exorbitant fees for their services. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, reported cases of inflated towing or storage bills increased by 92 percent during the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.

The moral: be leery of unsolicited help.

7 things to know before you tow

To protect yourself from inflated towing fees and fraud, make sure you know exactly what you're paying for, whom you're working with, and what your insurance company will cover. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Know what your insurance policy covers. See if you have roadside assistance coverage and what the limits are. If you've been in an accident, find out how your car insurance company handles towing and how much your insurer will cover.

  2. If you do need a towing service, don't deal with a towing operator who arrives on the scene unsolicited. Though honest, hardworking towing companies can miraculously appear when you need them most, it's wise to err on the side of caution.

  3. Don't let a towing operator take your vehicle until you receive a printed price or invoice. The price should list towing fees, daily storage fees (if any), and all other miscellaneous charges. You know where your car is being towed to.

  4. Make sure the company name on the truck matches the documentation.

  5. Don't give out any personal information.

  6. Be wary of giving out too much insurance information. Some bandit tow operators use this information for additional scams, like calling the victim and pretending to be their insurer.

  7. If you suspect fraud or if the tow truck driver refuses to leave, call the police.

You can find more relevant information about collision, towing and repair scams by visiting the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) website. At Tri-State Towing & Recovery we pride ourselves on being the top towing company in the Rochester, MN area. By providing an exceptional customer experience. With our fast, friendly and professional tow truck service. Tri-State Towing & Recovery makes every effort possible to be as transparent as possible to our customers and to the city of Rochester, Minnesota.

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Tri-State Towing & Recovery | 2300 32nd Ave. N.W. | Rochester, MN 55901 | 507.272.1176 | tstrmntony@gmail.com | www.tstrmn.com