Can you tow a car without insurance?

You can tow a car without insurance if it is unregistered and inoperable. If you have filed the vehicle with the DMV as non-operational, you are exempt from your state's liability insurance requirements. If you tow a car that has no insurance and get it repaired, you must register it and carry coverage to legally drive it. AAA will tow a car without insurance if the vehicle is inoperable and you have a AAA membership.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you should know...

If you own a vehicle that’s not currently operable, you don’t necessarily have to insure it. By law, you’re only required to carry personal auto insurance on a vehicle when that vehicle is registered to be operated on public roadways.

Inoperable vehicles aren’t always just sitting in your driveway or your backyard. If you finally decide that it’s time to repair the vehicle or sell it to someone who will, you might have to arrange a tow to get the car from point A to point B.

Even when the vehicle is in tow, you don’t necessarily need insurance.

Compare car insurance rates today using our free search tool above! Enter your zip code above to get started!

Does a parked vehicle legally have to be insured?

Car being towed away after breakdown

If you have no intentions of driving your car, you might be tempted to forgo paying the insurance premiums. Before you cancel your insurance, it’s important that you know when you have a legal duty to maintain state-mandated insurance coverage.

If you cancel your policy too early, you’ll be left paying some hefty penalties.

By law, in a state with compulsory auto insurance requirements, any vehicle that has a valid registration must have insurance at all times.

If you have filed the vehicle with the DMV as non-operational, you are exempt from having to comply with liability insurance requirements.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do you have to purchase insurance when you’re towing an inoperable car?

If the vehicle is filed as a planned non-operational vehicle, you can choose to tow the vehicle without any type of insurance.

As long as the vehicle that’s towing the car has insurance, the liability coverage will extend to pay for third-party damages sustained if the trailer jackknifes and the vehicle in tow damages another car.

Some carriers will only extend liability coverage to a vehicle that’s being towed if both vehicles are owned by the same individual.

It’s important to check with your insurer to see if your personal auto coverage will pay for losses while you’re towing the vehicle that’s not insured.

Will physical damage coverage extend to the vehicle being towed?

AdobeStock_77466490-1600x1600 (3)

Full coverage won’t extend to the car hitched to the lead car, even if the lead car is fully insured. Physical damage coverage only pays for claims made when the listed vehicle or a temporary substitute vehicle is involved in a loss.

Trailer or vehicles that are being towed do not qualify for the comprehensive and collision coverage extension.

Can you get physical damage coverage for a vehicle being towed?

If you’re worried about the vehicle getting damaged while it’s being towed, you might want to consider buying coverage on the car before you hitch it up.

You also should buy comprehensive and collision if you want your insurer to pay for repairs if you’re involved in an accident.

You’ll still have to pay the deductible that you’re carrying before the insurer pays.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What happens if you hire a towing company to tow your vehicle?


If you hire a towing company to take your vehicle to its final destination, you may be able to purchase extra insurance through the company. The company will be responsible for carrying the liability coverage and paying liability claims made against the driver.

If the driver is responsible for the damage to your car while it’s in their possession, the company will be liable for repairing it.

Unfortunately, if you don’t buy protection that’s offered to you, it might be difficult to prove the company’s negligence.

As far as the law is concerned, you can tow your car without insurance as long as it’s not insured.

If you want to keep your registration valid to make getting your car back on the road easier, you need to get insurance today.

Don’t worry about the price of towing with a full coverage insurance policy; compare rates today by entering your ZIP into the search box below!

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State