If you get into an accident and your vehicle is deemed unsafe to drive, you have no choice but to call a tow truck. But how much will that cost and will your auto insurance policy cover it? These are the questions we’ll be answering today.
Keep reading to learn more about towing after an accident, including how to assess whether your vehicle needs to be towed and our top tips for dealing with tow trucks during a car accident.
Does my car insurance cover towing after an accident?
Not necessarily. Depending on your policy, it may cover towing after an accident but it isn’t a standard inclusion. For your insurance provider to cover the cost of a tow truck following a collision, you will need to have purchased collision coverage or all perils insurance coverage.
Collision coverage is a type of optional car insurance coverage in Canada. It protects the policyholder if they get into a collision with another vehicle or object on the road, regardless of whether they are at fault for the accident.
Under the collision coverage portion of your policy, you can be compensated for the cost of property damage caused by the collision, such as a damaged car. Some collision insurance also covers the cost of towing after an accident, regardless of fault. Please note that some insurance companies have a preferred tow truck service.
Find out if your insurance provider has one and try to use that towing company if possible.
All perils coverage
All perils coverage is another optional coverage type that aims to protect your vehicle against all losses, except any exclusions mentioned in your policy. All perils coverage may cover loss or damage in the event your vehicle is stolen or damaged, even if it is when an additional driver or someone else in your household was driving.
All perils coverage combines elements of collision and comprehensive coverage, protecting drivers from a specific set of perils, like theft, fires, water damage, and damage caused by severe weather (lightning, wind, hail, etc.). Depending on the specifics of your policy, all perils coverage may pay for the cost of a tow truck if the accident was caused by an insured peril.
Does my car need to be towed?
After a car accident, adrenaline is running high and you may even be panicking a little bit. Do your best to remain calm. From there, assuming you are relatively unharmed, assess whether you will need to assess whether your vehicle is safe enough to drive. We recommend performing a brief audit of the situation, asking yourself questions like:
- Is my vehicle free of fluid leaks?
- Are my headlights and taillights still working correctly?
- Are all of my mirrors intact?
- Do steering and braking feel normal?
- Is my hood still able to close securely?
Ultimately, the answers to these questions can help you determine whether you need to call a tow truck company. If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, or you have any other reasons to believe your vehicle may be unsafe to drive, it’s best not to risk it and call a tow truck company.
Before conducting a Google search and calling the first company you find, contact your insurance company to find out if they have any recommendations for towing companies.
What to do when your car gets towed after an accident
If you get into a car accident and your vehicle needs to be towed, try not to panic. Ideally, you should not let your car be towed before police arrive on the scene, as they will need to see the state of your vehicle to include it in the police report.
Once the tow truck arrives, they will transport your vehicle to a mechanic, auto body shop, or salvage yard, and you may not get it back for days. Below is a step-by-step guide on what to do when your car gets towed after an accident.
In any stressful situation, but especially after a car accident, do your best to stay calm. If it is safe to do so, manoeuvre your vehicle to the side of the road, out of the way of ongoing traffic. Assess the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved, and address any imminent dangers (fires, cars, etc.). If anyone is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are injured, remain in your vehicle until emergency services arrive. If you are not injured, safely remove yourself from the vehicle to check on the others involved.
Seek medical attention
Your safety is the top priority. Before worrying about the damage to your vehicle, seek medical attention. A medical professional will assess your condition and confirm if you have suffered any injuries. It’s not uncommon for car accident injuries to present themselves at a later date, so even if you don’t think you suffered any injuries, it’s still recommended to be checked out by a doctor.
Report the accident to the police
If the police haven’t already been called, you might have to call them to report the accident. In Canada, drivers are legally required to report a car accident to the police if the damage to all vehicles involved exceeds $2,000 or if anyone was injured in the accident. It is best to contact the police within 24 hours of the accident.
Exchange information with the other driver(s)
If you plan on filing an insurance claim, you will need to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident. Drivers should exchange their names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, insurance company names, and insurance company numbers. You should also note the contact information (names and phone numbers) of any passengers or witnesses.
Assess the state of your vehicle
As mentioned above, following the accident you will need to determine whether your vehicle is safe to drive. If it is unfit to drive, you should call a tow truck company as soon as possible.
Call a trusted tow truck company
Find out if your insurance company has a preferred towing service. If they do not, use your smartphone to research some other reputable tow truck companies in your area or ask a police officer for help. Keep in mind that tow truck scams exist, so you must be careful when calling a company you’ve never hired before. A couple of red flags are if the tow truck company asks for your credit card information over the phone or if they show up at the accident without being called.
Prepare your vehicle for towing
After being towed, you might not see your car again for several days. Therefore, you should prepare your vehicle for towing in a few key ways. First, remove any valuables or necessities from your vehicle (wallet, cell phone, etc.).
Next, you should collect as much information as possible, which means taking photos and videos of the external and internal damage to your car. In addition, take photos of any personal items in your vehicle that were damaged in the collision, such as a laptop or car seat.
Before cleanup crews arrive, snap photos of the scene, including traffic lights and road signs, and note the date, time, location, road and weather conditions, and your speed at the time of the accident.
The more evidence you have, the more information you can give to your insurance company when filing a claim.
Obtain documentation from the tow truck company
The tow truck company has arrived on the scene, but before they drive off with your car, be sure to obtain important documentation from them. The tow truck company will give you paperwork detailing the service they are providing.
Read it carefully before signing it or making payment. Keep a copy of the receipt and any other paperwork given to you as a record. Take a photo of your vehicle once it has been loaded onto the tow truck. Make sure you find out exactly where the tow truck is delivering your vehicle and how soon you can pick it up.
Secure a way home
Once the tow truck company has picked up your vehicle and the police have permitted you to leave the scene (if applicable), you will need to secure a way home. Call a friend or family member or consider public transit or rideshare options like Lyft or Uber. If you’re having trouble finding a way home, ask the police for help.
Contact your insurance company
The final step after getting into a car accident is contacting your insurance provider to notify them of the incident. At this point, you may have already contacted them to ask if they have a preferred tow truck company. But if not, you have seven days from the date of the accident to contact your provider. Contacting your provider is also the best way to confirm whether the cost of the tow truck is covered by insurance.
We also recommend reporting the accident to your local insurance brokerage, as a broker can provide you with key information your insurance provider may not, such as how the collision can influence your auto insurance rates. An insurance broker can also answer your questions about the claims process and review your policy to determine whether the cost of a tow truck will be covered.
Contact BrokerLink for information about towing after an accident
Getting into a car accident is nothing short of stressful, especially if your vehicle is damaged and needs to be towed. Understanding whether your insurance policy covers towing after an accident can help you navigate the situation. To learn more about the cost of a tow truck after an accident, or whether your insurance provider will cover it, contact BrokerLink.
As the leading insurance brokerage in Canada, we can answer any car insurance questions you may have. We can also help you find a policy that has the coverage you want and need, such as tow truck coverage.
Get in touch today to speak with a BrokerLink insurance advisor, or use our online quote tool to request a free car insurance quote now.