Do I need car insurance to pick up a towed car?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Towing coverage is when your insurance company will reimburse the cost of towing your car after an accident.
  • Some insurance companies set certain limitations on towing coverage such as where your car can be towed and how many times it can be towed per year.
  • Know how much it costs to add towing coverage to your overall insurance policy. Sometimes it is best to buy comprehensive coverage as this usually includes towing coverage.

Is car insurance coverage required in order to go pick up a towed vehicle? Car insurance policies are as varied as the people they cover.

When looking for a policy, it is easy to get caught up in all the terms, amounts, and hard to understand vocabulary. It is important to know what coverage you have and how it works before you need the coverage.

Start comparing local coverage options now with free personalized car insurance quotes!

Towing Coverage Defined


Towing coverage is exactly what it sounds like: coverage on a vehicle that needs to be towed. Basically, your insurance company will either reimburse you for the cost of the tow or allow direct billings from the tow company.

Many car insurance companies require that you call them first, and then they dispatch the tow company of their choice to your location. The tow company then bills the insurance company because they have a contract with them.

Generally, you won’t have to speak directly to the towing company at all.

You need to be aware of the rules that go along with your towing coverage. For example, most policies will only cover one tow. That tow is usually from the place of breakdown to the nearest garage or to your home.

If you have a garage that you want your car towed to and it is further than the nearest garage, you may have to pay some of the cost.

You cannot have the car towed to your home and then call another day for a tow to the garage. Policies usually cover one tow per break down.

Another thing to be aware of is maximums. Some policies will have a maximum per tow as well as a maximum per year that can be spent on towing.

Know what these maximums are and keep track of any amount of the coverage that is used so you know what is left. When you call for your tow, be sure to ask for a tow that is under the maximum amount.

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Comprehensive Coverage Needed

The majority of car insurance companies will include towed car coverage in their comprehensive coverage, but not in their collision coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is the most extensive coverage you can get and covers the following:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Natural disaster
  • Vandalism
  • Towing
  • Other insurance needs

You should have comprehensive coverage if you are still paying on your vehicle, it is leased, or if the value of your car is high.

Collision coverage only covers vehicle to vehicle damage and does not include the extras such as towing.

Some insurance companies will let you piece together a policy that meets your needs but the cost you will pay for each piece is typically much higher than a standard comprehensive policy.

Insurance companies will let you know how much it would cost to add towing coverage to a collision only policy.

Therefore, to be sure you have towing coverage through your insurance, you need to get comprehensive coverage and ask your agent if towing is fully covered.

Other Car Towing Options


If you don’t have tow coverage through your insurance company, there are other options. You can pay directly for the tow.

This will cost you $50-$200 depending on where you break down, where you need the car towed, and what type of vehicle is being towed.

It may seem cheaper to just do this instead of pay a monthly fee to add the coverage to your policy, but if you don’t have the money available at the time of the tow, you won’t be able to get your vehicle towed.

Another option is to get an independent roadside assistance plan. These are available through travel clubs, some credit cards, and other types of memberships like AAA.

Each of these will also have their own set of rules regarding how and when your vehicle can be towed.

The most important thing is that if you go without coverage, make sure you have the money to pay for a tow when needed. Leaving you car on a roadside can lead to further damage or even a traffic ticket.

If you aren’t sure if your car insurance policy has tow insurance and you want to compare what different policies have to offer, the best way to do this is online.

By using an online comparison tool, you can see offers side by side as well as costs and coverage amounts.

Get started today. Compare car insurance quotes for FREE now!

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