What You Need to Do Before Getting Your Car Towed

After getting into a car accident, you may need to call a tow truck to help get your vehicle to the repair shop. However, before getting your car towed, make sure to take the following steps.

Move Your Vehicle to a Safe Location

Before anything else, make sure you aren't posing a danger to yourself or those around you. By leaving your car in the middle of the highway or a busy intersection, you run the risk of causing more accidents. Assuming it's safe to do so, park your vehicle as far to the right of the road as possible. Put on your hazard lights and place cones around your car to warn oncoming traffic.

Determine Whether Your Car Is Unsafe to Drive

While your first instinct might be to resort to a tow truck, your car might actually be ok to drive. If your vehicle isn't leaking fluid, the hood closes all the way, the lights and mirrors function correctly, and your steering and braking are in-tact, you might be able to drive yourself to the mechanic. If in doubt, ask a police officer or fireman if they arrive at the site of the collision. Avoiding a tow truck can save you time and money.

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Call Your Car Insurance Company

Car insurance companies are experts in dealing with car accidents. Your insurance representative can give you advice and provide resources like a list of reputable towing companies. Some repair shops might even send someone to pick you up. The more information you can get from your insurer, the better.

Identify Your Exact Location

Before calling a tow truck, make sure you can accurately describe where you are. Look around for street signs, mile markers, or exit signs to help explain your location.

Prepare Your Car for Towing

After a collision, make sure to take detailed photos of all vehicles involved, the scene of the accident, and any other information that may be useful down the road. Afterward, remove any valuables or necessities from your car, such as your phone, purse, or garage door opener.

Read the Fine Print

Once the driver has arrived, make sure the truck is from the company you called. In some cases, tow trucks may prowl the streets looking for new business, opportunistically rushing to the scene of a collision to try to make a few bucks. Once you get the towing agreement from the driver, make sure to review it carefully. You should receive a clear, itemized invoice detailing the costs. Don't be afraid to try another towing company if the price is too high. Look online to find standard towing rates for your region. Some areas have standardized towing rates, which can help guide your decision.

Watch for Scams

According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in Ontario, some tow trucks, called "chasers," recommend repair shops without being asked. In exchange for bringing the mechanic business, the tow truck driver receives a referral fee. In some cases, your insurance company might not do business with the recommended shop, so you'll have to have your car towed yet again, incurring even more fees.

FSRA recommends the following:

  • Ensure the truck is from a reputable company like an automotive roadside assistance group or automobile association.
  • Don't take unsolicited repair shop recommendations.
  • Ask the tow truck to take your car to a secure location where an official from your insurance company can have access.

Does Car Insurance Cover Towing?

While your car insurance may cover the cost of towing, each plan is different—that's why you should call your insurance company before calling a tow truck. To find a car insurance plan that includes towing, shop around today for the best car insurance in Canada.

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