You’ve been in an accident. Your vehicle is rendered unsafe to drive and you definitely need a tow truck. What are your next steps?
In this article, we’ll provide you with concrete tips for using a towing company and proactively protecting your vehicle and personal property.
Determine whether your vehicle actually needs to be towed
Your mind is reeling from the accident; you’re in shock and feeling flustered. It is paramount to first ensure your own safety and assess the severity of your injuries (if any). From there, you will need to decide whether your vehicle is safe enough to drive.
Perform a quick audit of your situation by asking the following questions. This will help you determine whether a tow truck is required.
- Is your vehicle free of fluid leaks?
- Are your headlights and taillights still working properly?
- Are all of your mirrors intact?
- Does steering and braking feel right?
- Is your hood still able to close securely?
If you answered “no” to one or more of the above questions, or you believe that your vehicle is unsafe to drive, it’s time to consider calling your roadside assistance service* or using an independent towing company.
Note: if you don’t subscribe to a roadside assistance service, you may contact your insurance company who can refer one of their preferred towing services.
How to prepare your vehicle for towing
If an independent towing company is the right option for your situation, here is a list for how to prepare your vehicle for towing.
- Before anyone moves your vehicle, take detailed photos of any external damage.
- Photograph the inside of your vehicle, especially if there has been damage to personal property like laptops, phones, and car seats.
- Collect evidence of the collision scene to help further build a case for your claim:
- Remove all valuables and necessities from your car.
Obtain the tow truck company’s details
The tow truck has arrived at the scene. Now what?
Before you sign any documentation or allow your vehicle to be towed, it’s imperative that you collect as many details about the towing company as possible, such as name, address and phone number, driver’s name and the registration number of the tow truck.
Here are a few other things you should do once the tow truck arrives:
- Ensure the tow truck you call is the one that shows up.
- Tell the driver or operator exactly where you want your vehicle dropped off.
- Carefully read the paperwork provided by the tow truck operator before you sign or make a payment. Stay involved throughout the towing process, even if the operator tells you they’ll take care of everything for you.
- Call your insurance provider to determine if the cost is covered under your policy (see FAQ section below).
- Understand you aren’t obligated to pay in cash (see FAQ section below).
- Keep the receipt and any paperwork provided by the driver. Paper trails provide proof if there is a dispute.
- Take a photo once the driver or operator lifts your car onto the tow truck.
Doing your due diligence to collect this information and document the scene could save you time and money down the road, should a claim arise as a result of a negligent towing company or operator.
Be cautious of tow truck scams. Most towing companies are legitimate, but some individuals engage in fraudulent activity. The Government of Ontario has an article that highlights some of the scams you should watch out for.
Call your car insurance company
A car accident can be an extremely upsetting and disruptive situation for anyone. Being able to recall each step of the process does not come naturally, especially if you’re in a state of shock. In addition to dialing 911 for emergency situations, call your insurance company as soon as you can.
Your insurance company will have someone ready to assist you in its claims department. Along with telling you whether towing is covered under your policy, they can also help you navigate the rental car process and collect the information of the body shop or car dealership where your vehicle will be towed, to ensure an appraiser can assess the damages.
Seek consultation with professional brokers
The insurance company will notify your broker about the accident and claim. At BrokerLink, our professional brokers are here to help our clients navigate each step in the claims process to ensure it is progressing as it should. We’re also here to provide proactive risk advice to help clients prevent future claims.
There is a lot of information when it comes to insurance. BrokerLink’s professional insurance brokers are passionate about helping you understand it better; whether for your business, your personal property, or dealing with a towing company after a car accident – we’re here for you!
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.
Tips for Dealing with Tow Trucks During a Car Accident FAQs
Does all car insurance cover towing after an accident?
Not necessarily. Your coverage is dependent on what you purchased on your policy. For your insurance company to cover the cost of a tow due to an accident, you’ll need to have collision or an all perils coverage on your policy. Check your car insurance policy and call your broker if you wish to make a change or have questions.
Is it mandatory for me to pay in cash before a tow truck shows up?
No. In fact, in some provinces, tow truck operators cannot insist on cash payments. Accepting payment by credit card is encouraged because it creates a paper trail, which can help settle payment disagreements between you and the towing company.