I’ve been in this situation more than a few times. I’m in the middle of nowhere, my car is broken down, and I need to get it towed to a shop for repairs. The problem is that I am nowhere, and the tow truck company says it will cost hundreds of dollars to get it there. So the question: does car insurance cover the cost of towing my vehicle to a shop?
Why would we want the insurance company to pay for the towing? So that we don’t have to, of course! Even a short tow across town to the dealership can get pretty expensive. Naturally, most of us would love to not have to pay for it out of pocket.
The truth of the matter is that you are really paying for the service, whether you pay for it to the towing company, or the insurance company. If you pay for this type of policy with the insurance company, you are paying a small amount every month. At the end of the day, it’s not free, and you will be bearing the expense, one way or another. The difference is that by having a towing policy you can spread that cost out over time with small monthly payments.
The type of policy that covers towing is usually included with what is known as “roadside assistance”. The cost of this varies company to company, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 to roughly $10 a month for it.
Most roadside assistance policies will cover various expenses such as towing, pop-a-lock for when you lock your keys in the car, assistance in changing a tire or charging the battery, etc.
With most companies/policies, they will only tow you a certain distance. If you go over that distance, you will have to pay out of pocket for the excess mileage. An example of this that I can relate to is dealing with Geico.
Under my Geico roadside assistance policy, if I break down and need a tow truck, I just call them. They will ask why I need a tow, if everything is ok, where I am, and where I need it towed to. They will cover the tow truck hook up fee, and the amount of mileage it takes to bring my car to the nearest dealership.
If I am fine with having it towed to the dealership, then there is no excess mileage for me to pay. If I want it brought to another car repair shop that I use, there may be extra mileage that I will have to cover.
For instance, let’s say that I break down in New Orleans, LA. The nearest dealership is just 10 miles away. Using Geico’s roadside assistance, they will pay the tow company’s fee to hook up my car and bring it 10 miles. As long as that’s where I want it brought to, I won’t pay an additional penny.
But, let’s say that I want it brought to a mechanic that I use in Baton Rouge (where I live). Let’s say that the mechanic is 70 miles away. In this case, Geico would pay the hook up fee and the first 10 miles. I would be responsible for the extra 60 miles.
Does that make sense?
I think we have answered the question “does car insurance cover towing?” The short answer is “yes”, as long as you have roadside assistance with towing coverage. Even still, it may not cover all of the towing fees (as we have discussed).