Tips for dealing with tow trucks during a car accident
You’ve been in an accident. If you believe your vehicle is not safe to drive – or aren’t really sure – you might need a tow truck. Consider these suggestions for proactively protecting your vehicle and personal property.
Determine whether your vehicle actually needs to be towed
Chances are you’re going to be a bit flustered after the accident. The most important thing is to ensure your safety, the safety of any passengers and assess the severity of anyone’s injuries (if there are any). From there, you need to determine whether or not your vehicle is safe enough to drive.
This five-point checklist will help you determine whether a tow truck needs to be called or not.
- Is your vehicle free of fluid leaks?
- Are your headlights and taillights working properly?
- Does the steering and braking feel normal?
- Can you close the hood of your vehicle properly?
- Are all of your mirrors intact?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, or you believe that your vehicle is unsafe to drive for another reason, you’re going to want to your roadside assistance service if you have one, or consider using an independent towing company. You might even want to contact your insurance company who can refer you to one of their preferred towing services.
How to prepare your vehicle for towing
If you end up using an independent towing company, follow this list to prepare your vehicle.
- 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.
- Record the date, time, location, your speed, road and weather conditions.
- Snap photos of the scene, in particular the’ position and direction of all cars involved, and nearby traffic signs.
- Remove all valuables and necessities from your car.
- Obtain the tow truck company’s details.
The tow truck has arrived. Now what?
Before you sign any documentation or allow your vehicle to be towed, collect as many details about the towing company as possible including the name, address and phone number, the 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.
- Let the driver know exactly where you want your vehicle dropped off.
- Take the time to review the paperwork provided by the tow truck operator before you sign anything or make a payment. Stay involved, even if the operator offers to take care of everything for you.
- Call your insurance provider to determine if the cost is covered under your policy.
- Know you are not in any way obligated to pay in cash.
- Keep the receipt and any paperwork provided by the driver. Paper trails provide proof if there is a dispute later.
- Take a photo once the driver or operator lifts your car onto the tow truck.
- Taking the time 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 wary of tow truck scams. Most towing companies are legitimate, but some individuals engage in fraudulent activity.
If you haven’t already, 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.
The insurance company will notify your broker about the accident and claim. At DPM Insurance Group, our professional brokers and CSRs are here to help our clients navigate each step in the claims process to ensure it is progressing as it is supposed to.
Some Towing 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, 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.
Source: Broker Link