Guide to Towing Insurance

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most auto insurance providers offer their clients the option of purchasing roadside assistance
  • Many people consider roadside assistance insurance to be towing insurance
  • However, there is much  more to towing insurance than just roadside assistance

You are at the side of the road, and steam is pouring out of your engine. You wait several minutes, but no one appears on the road. You are alone. Now, what do you do?

If you are like most people, you are going to have to call a tow truck to take your car to your local mechanic.

The primary purpose of roadside assistance is to provide you with towing assistance.

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The Basics of Towing Insurance


The first thing that you need to realize is that towing insurance, or roadside assistance insurance, is not the same for every company.

In most cases, towing insurance will cover the cost of a tow, up to a certain amount, any time that you have an accident or your vehicle breaks down.

There are some companies, however, that will only offer a tow in the event of an accident, unless you upgrade your towing insurance option.

Another thing you need to be aware of is whether you are reimbursed for the tow that you are getting, or if your insurance company will call a tow for you and allow themselves to be billed directly.

If you are on a tight budget, paying a dollar or two extra a month for a service that allows direct billing can save you a lot if you have an accident or a breakdown.

Towing insurance usually does not cover the breakdown of a rental car.

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Buying Towing Insurance

What you may not realize is that your auto insurance company is not the only source that you have for towing and roadside assistance insurance. There are many companies that specifically offer this service, such as AAA.

The downside to AAA is that it is more expensive than your traditional auto insurance.

AAA is a full-service roadside assistance club, and they do more than offer you a tow. They also offer the following:

  • a ride to where you need to go
  • help you find a hotel if you are in another town
  • help you find a way home

Another possible source for towing insurance is your credit card company. More companies are offering roadside assistance, travel insurance, rental car insurance, often for no charge at all or for a minimal cost.

Do not forget about the possibility that your car manufacturer may be offering you towing insurance as part of your car’s warranty.

If you purchase a new vehicle, your warranty often covers a tow, a rental car, and free or reduced cost maintenance for your vehicle.

The Cost of Towing Insurance


The best part about towing coverage is that it is usually quite affordable, costing between two and four dollars every month.

Someone who has never had a breakdown may not see the point, but if you consider the fact that a tow can cost more than $100 for a car and nearly $200 for a large truck or SUV, it generally costs more to pay out-of-pocket for the tow.

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