Need to have your car towed? First of all: bummer. Second, here’s what to keep in mind:
1. Before getting your car towed, call your auto insurance company. Often, they’ll reimburse you for the cost of a tow, but they’ll have certain parameters you need to follow.
- For example, if you’re getting your car towed to a mechanic, they may only reimburse you for towing within a 5 mile radius. Or they may not reimburse you if the tow truck passes a mechanic on the way to deliver your car to a different mechanic. Find out what the insurance company’s rules are and what you need to do to get reimbursed.
2. Different towing companies use different pricing systems. Some charge a flat rate; however, it’s doubtful that it will remain flat if your car is towed a long distance. Other towing companies have an initial price and then a rate per mile.
- For example, in Los Angeles, one tow company stated that their rate for a two-mile tow was $90. Another company said they would tow for $60, plus an additional $6 per mile with a minimum of 5 miles, which brought the cost up to the competitor’s price of $90.
3. When talking to the towing company about the price, be specific about the type of difficulty you’re having with your car — it may influence the cost of the tow.
- For example, if your tires won’t move, the company has to use a flatbed to move your car, which requires more work, and so, costs more. In Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon for a flatbed tow to cost $200-plus. Some companies may try to charge you for a flatbed tow when you don’t need one – and insurance companies will be resistant to reimburse for unneeded expenses. That said, flatbed tows are needed more than many realize — they aren’t just for totaled cars or vehicles with flat tires. In some car models, the tires are locked when there’s a problem with the ignition, so the car will require a flatbed to move it.
4. Some people tip towing operators, but it’s not as regular a practice as tipping your server at a restaurant.
5. Keep the receipt from your tow. Some insurance companies require the original before reimbursing.
- Make a copy of the receipt for yourself. If your tow required a flatbed, explain in letter why a flatbed was needed.
- To find a local towing company, look in the Dex Knows listings.