When and How Does Auto Insurance Cover Towing?

Being stranded on the side of the road due to a car breakdown can be a stressful experience. While Vehicle insurance protects against various forms of damage, breakdowns are typically not covered by default. However, it is possible to include towing coverage through roadside assistance in your policy. When and how car insurance covers towing, the significance of roadside assistance coverage, the associated costs, and the circumstances under which towing expenses are covered are discussed below.

The Coverage You Need:

To have access to towing coverage from your automobile insurer, it is important to have the appropriate coverage in place. Liability coverage, which is required in most states, does not typically include towing for your own vehicle. For example, if you have liability insurance only and your car breaks down, your plan won’t include towing coverage for yourself. However, it will cover towing for someone you crash into if you caused the accident. To obtain towing coverage, you will need a full coverage car insurance policy with Collision and Comprehensive coverage plan or add a roadside assistance option to your policy.

What Is Roadside Assistance Coverage:

Roadside assistance is a commonly offered add-on by auto insurance companies, providing support when unexpected car troubles or mechanical breakdowns occur. Let’s say you’re driving and suddenly experience a dead battery. With roadside assistance coverage, you can make a call to your insurer’s designated hotline, and they will dispatch a professional service provider to jump-start your battery, saving you the hassle of finding help on your own. Additionally, roadside assistance can cover the cost of towing your vehicle to the nearest repair shop.

Typically, you need to have collision and comprehensive coverage to add roadside assistance to your car insurance policy. Roadside assistance provides a range of services including towing vehicles within a certain radius or to the nearest qualified repair shop if further, towing electric vehicles to the nearest charging station, winching services for cars stuck in mud, snow, or sand, jump-starting dead batteries, locksmith services in case of lost or locked-in keys, changing flat tires, and fuel delivery. Depending on the company you may get more or less provisions and services.

Exploring Towing Coverage:

When car insurance covers towing, it is usually through the inclusion of roadside assistance in the policy. For example, if you have roadside assistance coverage and your car breaks down on the side of the road, you can contact your insurer’s hotline and they will arrange a tow truck to transport your vehicle to a nearby repair shop. However, it is important to note that the specific towing coverage options can vary among insurance providers. Some insurers will organize the tow and arrange transportation to the repair shop, while others may require you to pay for the tow upfront and then reimburse you, typically up to a predetermined limit.

Limitations of Roadside Assistance Coverage:

While roadside assistance often includes towing services, it is crucial to understand the limitations of this coverage. For example, some insurance providers may have restrictions on the distance that will be covered for towing or the destinations that are eligible for towing services. If you need to tow your vehicle to a preferred repair shop located beyond the covered limit, you may be responsible for covering the additional mileage costs yourself. It’s important to review the terms and conditions of your policy to understand the specific limitations of your towing coverage.

Towing After Accidents:

In the event of an accident, roadside assistance coverage typically does not cover towing expenses. Instead, the insurance of the at-fault driver is usually responsible for covering the towing costs. For example, if another driver rear-ends your car, their liability insurance should cover the towing expenses. However, if the at-fault driver is uninsured, your own policy’s uninsured motorists coverage may come into play, providing coverage for additional costs that your standard coverage wouldn’t cover. If you have collision coverage, your insurer would normally cover towing costs after a traffic accident within the collision coverage regardless of fault.

Towing for Breakdowns:

If you have added roadside assistance to your policy, your vehicle would be towed to a repair shop if it is broken down on the road. Other than that, car insurance policies typically do not cover mechanical breakdowns.

Does Getting Your Car Towed Affect Your Insurance?

Towing claims you make through your insurer does not directly affect your auto insurance premiums. But a significant number of towing claims may draw your carrier’s attention since it is a sign of a poorly maintained vehicle or careless driver and both aren’t good signs. If your car is towed due to parking violations or breakdowns by independent towing companies, it is unlikely to impact your insurance rates.

Roadside assistance coverage that provides towing is usually fairly cheap at about $20 a year and therefore often a good idea to add to your car insurance. Then, you have access to professional towing services and other forms of assistance during breakdowns or unexpected situations. Remember to ask your provider about the specifics of your towing coverage, and consider your individual needs to determine the appropriate level of vehicle insurance coverage.