Getting your car towed can be an expensive hassle, costing $50 to $100 or more per tow depending on distance and other factors. This leads many drivers to wonder – will my car insurance cover the cost if I need to get my car towed?
The answer depends on your specific auto insurance policy and coverage. Full coverage insurance is more likely to include towing coverage, but the details can vary between insurers.
Below is a comprehensive overview of towing and full coverage car insurance:
What is Full Coverage Car Insurance?
Full coverage auto insurance refers to a policy that includes more than just basic liability coverage. It bundles together several standard coverages to provide robust protection for your vehicle.
Full coverage insurance typically includes:
- Liability insurance – covers injury/damage you cause others
- Comprehensive – covers damage from theft, vandalism, weather, fire, etc.
- Collision – covers damage from accidents with other vehicles or objects
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist – covers injuries from an at-fault uninsured driver
By bundling these coverages, full coverage provides financial protection when you are at-fault in an accident as well as when others are at fault. This helps cover both damage to your car and any injuries/losses you experience.
Full coverage is more expensive than basic liability-only policies, but provides greater peace of mind.
Does Full Coverage Insurance Include Towing?
Unfortunately there is no simple yes or no answer to this question. Whether full coverage insurance includes towing depends on your specific policy details and coverages.
Here are the key factors that determine if towing is covered:
1. Cause of Towing
Most full coverage policies only cover towing that is directly related to an insured loss, such as:
- Accident damage covered by collision insurance
- Theft covered by comprehensive insurance
- Damage from weather, fire, vandalism, etc if you have those perils included
Towing for mechanical breakdowns, flat tires, or running out of gas is generally NOT covered.
2. Policy Limits
Even for insured losses, towing coverage often has dollar limits, distance limits, or limits on the number of tows per policy term. Make sure to check your policy documentation for any towing restrictions.
For example, a policy might cover up to $100 per tow, or only towing to the nearest approved repair shop within 25 miles. Go beyond the limits and you pay the overage yourself.
3. Roadside Assistance Coverage
Some insurers offer roadside assistance coverage as an add-on to full coverage policies. This provides towing plus other services like jump starts, tire changes, lockout help and fuel delivery.
Roadside assistance broadens towing coverage to include non-accident related tows. But there are still often limits per service call.
If towing coverage is important to you, add roadside assistance to your policy.
4. Rental Car Reimbursement
If your car is undrivable after an accident, rental car reimbursement can indirectly cover transportation costs while it’s being repaired. Check if your policy includes this coverage.
What Full Coverage Insurers Cover Towing?
The top insurers offer different versions of towing and roadside assistance coverage. Here are some details:
- Up to $100 per tow for insured losses
- Can add roadside assistance coverage for $1 per month
- Towing for insured losses to nearest approved shop
- Can add Allstate Roadside Assistance for ~$3 per month
- Limited towing for insured losses only
- Roadside assistance add-on for ~$5 per month
- Towing to nearest shop for covered losses
- Roadside assistance add-on for ~$14 per year
- Towing for covered losses plus mechanical breakdowns
- Adds roadside assistance automatically for members
- Towing with collision coverage
- Or can add Farmers Roadside Assistance package
- Up to $100 per tow for covered losses
- Add 24-hour roadside assistance for $11 per month
- Towing coverage options vary by state
- Can add Travelers Roadside Assistance
What’s Covered by Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance offers peace of mind against towing costs in any situation when you’re stranded on the road.
Typical services covered include:
- Towing services – up to 10-25 miles in most cases
- Flat tire changing – covers cost of service call
- Jump starting a dead battery
- Lockout services if you lose your keys
- Fuel delivery – covers limited cost of fuel
- Winching if your car is stuck – within 100 feet in most cases
Roadside assistance can be added to your existing policy for about $5 to $15 per month on average. Some insurers include it automatically with certain policies.
AAA and auto clubs also offer standalone roadside assistance plans.
Tips for Using Your Towing Coverage
Follow these tips to tap your towing benefits:
Review your policy declaration page to see if towing is covered and any monetary or distance limits.
Save your insurer’s roadside help number in your phone to call for a tow.
Take photos of accident/damage scenes to document the towing need.
Ask the towing company to bill your insurer directly so you don’t have to pay upfront.
Get an itemized invoice showing mileage to verify towing distance limits were not exceeded.
Be prepared to pay any overage charges not covered by insurance.
You can use your own roadside assistance membership (AAA, etc) and then request reimbursement from your insurer after.
Other Ways to Get Affordable Towing
If your insurance excludes towing coverage, here are some other options for affordable towing services:
Join an auto club like AAA that includes towing miles – costs about $50-100 per year on average.
Purchase a standalone roadside assistance plan through your insurer or auto club.
Negotiate discounted towing rates with local providers.
Use your credit card’s included roadside benefits if available.
Join a car brand enthusiast club – some include limited towing services.
Is Towing Coverage Worth It?
Towing coverage provides peace of mind if your vehicle breaks down or is damaged in an accident. But is paying extra for a roadside assistance policy worth it?
Factors to consider include:
How often you drive and your risk of a breakdown.
The cost of roadside assistance through your insurer – often just a few dollars per month.
Your budget flexibility – can you easily afford $75+ for a standard tow if needed?
Any auto club memberships you already have that include towing.
Your mechanical skill – can you change a flat tire yourself?
For most drivers, the small monthly investment in expanded towing coverage through roadside assistance is worth it for the convenience and security. But evaluate your specific driving habits and budget to decide if paying extra makes sense.
The Bottom Line
Standard full coverage insurance may reimburse you for towing after an accident. But coverage is limited. For more comprehensive protection, add roadside assistance.
Review your policy specifics and exclusions carefully. And compare options from leading insurers to find the towing coverage that best fits your needs and budget.
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