Our cars make it convenient to get wherever we need to go.
You can drive across town to get to work, you can drive across the state to visit family, or you can take a big road trip across the country, stopping at roadside attractions along the way.
Unfortunately, the more time you spend in your car, the more likely it is that you will have to have it towed eventually. When that happens, you want to make sure you get the right tow truck. You don’t want to pay an unreasonable amount of money for the tow, and you don’t want to find yourself in an accident with a tow truck driver because they aren’t fully trained to drive the truck.
Whether you get into an accident or you have broken down on the side of the road, these tips will make sure having your car towed goes as smoothly as possible.
Don’t Automatically Assume Your Car Has to Be Towed
If you get into a car accident, you might need to have your car towed, but you might not! It really depends on the state of your vehicle.
There are important signs you shouldn’t drive your car. Minus the obvious, like your car is on fire, there are a few things to look out for like:
- Leaks under the hood
- Low or damaged tires
- Damaged, broken, or missing rearview mirrors
- If you see steam
- If the car handles differently
- If your temperature or oil light is on
If none of these things seem to be a problem, you may be able to drive your car to the mechanic yourself.
Did you have to pull over because your car broke down? Make sure you, a friend, or a family member can’t make the fix yourself before getting back on the road. It’s a lot cheaper to have someone else change your tire tomorrow than it is to have your car towed right away!
Call Your Insurance
Did you know you can file a claim with your car insurance when you have your car towed? Just don’t make the mistake of filing your claim after the fact. You may discover that they won’t cover the towing company you called.
Instead, call them when you know you need to be towed. Not only can they tell you what your policy covers, but they may also be able to help you find a qualified towing company when you’re having trouble finding one yourself.
Call Roadside Assistance
You can call your insurance when you need to be towed, but you can also call roadside assistance. Don’t think you have a roadside assistance policy? Think again. You may have it and not know it!
AAA is one of the most well-known roadside assistance programs, but your car maker, credit card companies, and other memberships, like AARP, may be able to help you find a reputable towing company, and in some cases, pay for it.
Read the Paperwork Provided by the Tow Truck Driver
Although you may want nothing more than to get going, it is important to stop and take a look at the paperwork provided by the tow truck driver before you sign it and have your car towed. You want to make sure that your car is being towed where you want it, and not to an overpriced mechanic you haven’t approved.
You also want to make sure that the cost is included and it’s not just a blank contract. You never want to sign a contract that isn’t clear about all of these details.
Ask About Payment Options
Whether your insurance sends out a tow truck, roadside assistance comes to your aid, or you call a towing company yourself, it’s important to get the payment options ironed out. That includes knowing exactly how much you need to pay, but it also means knowing how you’re supposed to pay.
Is payment required as soon as the car is towed, or can you pay the invoice later? Do they require cash, or can they take a credit card? Should the payment be billed to your insurance? These are all things you should iron out before you sign the contract to make sure you don’t make any mistakes.
If you were in an accident, you should definitely take the time to snap a few photos before the tow truck takes your car away. Documenting accident damage is important for insurance companies when they process your claim. It’s also important to get witness statements before you take off, if witnesses are available.
If you weren’t in an accident and your car just broke down on the side of the road, you should also take pictures of your vehicle. It ensures that additional damage isn’t done to your car by the tow truck driver as they drive your vehicle to the mechanic.
Remove Valuables From Your Car
Before you relinquish control of your vehicle to the tow truck driver, you should make sure all of your valuables are removed from the car. That includes electronic devices, like portable GPS systems, cell phones, and tablets, but it also includes some other items too.
Other things that frequently get stolen from vehicles include:
- Garage door openers
- Car chargers
You want to trust that the tow truck driver won’t steal your belongings, but you also have to think about the mechanics too, especially if you’re having your car towed to an unfamiliar location. Do yourself a favor and remove everything from your car that has value to you, if for no other reason than to give yourself peace of mind.
Having your car towed isn’t as simple as calling someone to come out and move your car. From accidentally calling an unqualified tow truck driver to paying way more than you thought, a lot of things can go wrong when you have to have your car towed. With the tips on this list you can reduce the chances of having a bad experience so you can get back behind the wheel quickly.