How much can a tow truck driver charge? If there is no agreement on fee, the tow truck driver/company cannot charge beyond what is fair, reasonable, and customary in the tow truck industry. How much that is will vary upon the jurisdiction, distance, the difficulty of the tow, and a lot of other factors. But, certainly, tow truck companies cannot set any price they like, and lawfully require payment.
Tow Truck Fees After a Car Accident
Tow truck fees after a car accident can vary depending on several factors, including location, the tow company’s policies, the distance the vehicle needs to be towed, and the type of services required. Here are some key points to understand about tow truck fees after an accident:
- Base Tow Fee: Most towing companies charge a base fee for the initial tow, which typically covers a certain distance (e.g., the first 5 miles). This fee can range from $50 to $150 or more, depending on the location and the company.
- Mileage: If the accident scene is farther from the tow company’s storage facility or the destination of your choice, you may be charged an additional fee per mile beyond the included distance. This mileage fee can vary but is often in the range of $2 to $5 per mile. So if you are towing the car 100 miles, you may be looking at around $500. But a short distance could be under $100.
- Storage Fees: If your vehicle needs to be stored at the tow company’s impound lot or storage facility, you will likely incur daily storage fees. These fees can range from $20 to $50 or more per day and can add up quickly if you don’t retrieve your vehicle promptly.
- Additional Services: If your vehicle is severely damaged or in a precarious location, additional services like winching or extraction may be needed. These services can come with extra charges, which vary based on the complexity of the situation.
- Special Equipment: In some cases, special equipment like a flatbed truck may be required to tow your vehicle safely, and this can result in higher fees compared to a standard tow.
- Time of Day: Towing companies may charge higher rates for services during non-business hours, weekends, or holidays.
- Administrative Fees: Some towing companies may charge administrative or paperwork fees in addition to the basic towing fees.
You need to understand the fees and pricing structure of the towing company you choose. In many cases, your insurance policy may cover some or all of the towing costs, depending on your coverage and the circumstances of the accident. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and reimbursement options.
- More thoughts on the cost of towing after a crash
Tips to Keep Towing Costs Down
To minimize tow truck fees after an accident, consider the following tips:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and discuss towing and recovery options.
- If you have roadside assistance coverage, use it to arrange for a tow.
- Choose a reputable towing company with transparent pricing and clear billing practices.
- Be aware of your vehicle’s location and condition, as these factors can impact the cost of towing and recovery services.
- Retrieve your vehicle promptly from the storage facility to avoid accumulating storage fees.
Always prioritize safety when dealing with accidents and rely on professional towing services to ensure the safe removal of your vehicle from the accident scene.
Who Covers Towing and Storage Costs After an Accident?
The party responsible for covering these costs hinges on the fault in the accident. If you were at fault, you or your insurance company will be responsible for the towing and storage fees if they provide coverage for such expenses.
If another driver is to blame for the accident, their insurance company should foot the bill for towing and storage. Should is the operative word. And do what you can to make sure to keep the cost down the best that you can, including being reasonable about how long the car is in storage. Towing and storage expenses can quickly accumulate, and the longer your vehicle remains in storage, the higher the cost will become.
What If the Other At-Fault Driver Was Uninsured?
In cases where the at-fault driver lacks insurance, you should get in touch with your own insurance company to handle the costs. Your insurance policy may include uninsured/underinsured coverage, which covers vehicle damages and expenses when you’re involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver. Once your uninsured/underinsured coverage is exhausted, you’ll be responsible for your vehicle’s towing and storage fees.