Car insurance towing and labor coverage is an al a carte option for your car insurance policy. It covers the cost of towing your car to your mechanic or local car lot, and the labor costs for repairing your car on the side of the road.
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The towing part of a towing and labor addition to your policy is pretty straight forward. One of two things happen in this situation:
- First of all, some car insurance companies will calls a towing company for you and pay them directly for their services. Companies like Progressive offer this service and it can make a break down a lot easier than you can imagine.
- The other way this works is that you call a tow company and pay them for their services. After you are done, you submit your receipts to the insurance company and they write you a check for the amount covered under your policy.
The labor part of your coverage is a little more complex. Many people are under the impression that a mechanic can come to their vehicle and do the work that needs to be done and they won’t have to pay anything.
The truth is far different.
Labor coverage covers the cost of the labor involved in a repair job on the side of the road.
For example, if you blow a tire and you don’t have a spare then a company can come out with a new tire and change it for you. The insurance company will pay for the labor of changing your tire, but you are going to have to pay for the tire itself on your own.
Under what circumstances do my towing and labor coverage become available?
Many people think that towing and/or labor coverage is only available if you have a car accident. The good news is that this just isn’t true; you can use this coverage anytime you need it.
A good example of how useful this coverage is relates to this true story:
A woman, we’ll call her Deb, was having trouble with the starter on her car. She took it to the mechanic but he couldn’t find the trouble and said she would have to wait until the car wouldn’t start to get it fixed because of her warranty restrictions.
One day Deb went to her vehicle and it wouldn’t start. She called her insurance company, unsure if they would provide a tow since the car was in her driveway. Not only did the insurance company cover the tow truck, but they also provided her with a rental car until the vehicle was repaired.
It doesn’t matter if your car just up and stops moving or if you are in a major accident and your car is smashed up; you have access to the same service in either situation!
You do need to be aware that filing a claim for towing and repair is the same as filing any other claim.
Although most insurance companies won’t increase your rates if you use this service a couple of times, if you have a problem vehicle that constantly breaks down, then you can expect a rate increase.
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Can I add towing and labor coverage to an existing policy?
Yes! You can add towing and labor coverage any time that you want to. In fact, you can change any part of your policy at any time. If you find that you are driving less or that you need more or less coverage, your insurance company will accommodate you.
The good news is that your insurance company doesn’t have the same luxury. If you have an accident, for example, your insurance company cannot raise your rates until you come to the end of your current contract with them. In rare cases an insurance company may have you sign a waiver in advance of an accident. If they do present you with one, don’t sign it – just go with a different insurance company!
What roadside assistance plan should I have?
There is a lot of information available today about what is the right roadside assistance to have. In fact, a Consumer Reports article titled “Roadside Assistance: Beware the gaps” gives a lot of valuable information that can help you choose.
As an example, mothers and fathers with young children might choose to have the extra coverage in case there is a breakdown or issue with their car while the children are with them. Additionally, older people may choose to have the coverage as a safety net in case they need a tire changed and they are unable to perform the work themselves.
Individuals who live in small towns where the houses are not close together and there are limited gas stations and repair shops nearby may choose to have the towing and labor coverage, while people who live in more populated areas may feel comfortable that they would be able to get assistance quicker and not necessarily need the towing service.
How much does towing and labor coverage cost?
Here is the best part about this coverage, it is super cheap! You will find that with most insurance companies it won’t cost more than a couple dollars a month. Of course, this cost will depend on things like the type of vehicle that you have. If you drive an old clunker there is an increased risk of breakdown.
The low cost of towing and labor coverage makes it easy for most people to afford this option; however, it will still benefit you to shop around for the best prices.
Does the type of car I drive affect my labor and towing rates?
All the factors that are taken into consideration when calculating your premium come into play when your labor and towing rate is added. For example, if you are driving a brand new car with many safety features, it is less likely that it will break down and require towing.
In addition, many new cars have features that allow the car to be unlocked from a satellite rather than physically having to break into the car. This would make the need for a lock-out service less likely.
Taking all these factors into account, insurance companies consider the likelihood that you will need towing and labor service and calculate the rate from there. If you are driving an older car with a lot of miles, your towing and labor rate will be higher because there is a higher probability that you will need assistance.
It is best to speak to either your insurance agent or the main customer service department at your insurance company to ensure that you are taking advantage of all of your available discounts while making sure you are covered in case you need additional protection.
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