Does car insurance cover towing?

Not all car insurance providers offer exactly the same coverage, but many policies do include towing as a covered benefit. Does yours?

If you drive a car in the USA today and haven’t yet needed to call a tow truck, consider yourself lucky. An estimated 55,000 vehicles are towed every day in America, and this number is only going to continue to go up, given that the average age of a car in the US is over 12 years old!

Towing services are called for a variety of reasons, mostly accidents, breakdowns, mechanical failures, and — increasingly — computer and electrical malfunctions. It’s a common experience for many drivers at some point in their car ownership. 

What’s not so common is knowing whether or not your auto insurance policy will cover towing your car if it breaks down.

Does car insurance typically cover towing?

It bears repeating: not all auto insurance policies cover towing as a benefit. It all depends on your policy, premium and provider. Some common types of insurance coverage that may include towing are:

  • Collision Coverage is designed to cover damage to your vehicle resulting from collisions with other vehicles or objects. While collision coverage primarily focuses on repairing or replacing your car after an accident, some policies may also include towing your car to the garage for repair. 
  • Comprehensive Coverage typically covers damage to your vehicle caused by incidents other than collisions, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Depending on your policy, towing may be included to get your car to a garage for repair or return an inoperable car to the owner.
  • Roadside Assistance Coverage may be offered by some insurance companies as an optional add-on or as part of a comprehensive insurance package. Roadside assistance typically includes towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, and locksmith assistance. (More on that later.)
  • Endorsements or Riders can be added to some insurance policies to provide additional coverage, including towing services. These endorsements may have specific limits and conditions, so read the fine print.

Before automatically assuming towing is included in your coverage, review your policy documents or contact your insurance provider to see if they cover towing and if there are any limitations or restrictions.

Does full coverage car insurance cover towing?

While full coverage insurance is not a specific type of policy, it generally refers to a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage, along with liability insurance. It provides extensive protection for your vehicle, but it doesn’t always automatically include towing services.

Whether towing is covered under your full coverage policy depends on the specific terms and conditions of your insurance contract. If towing is not included as a standard feature of your full coverage policy, you may have the option to add roadside assistance coverage or towing coverage to it for an additional premium.

Tow truck operator fixing car on platform

How much does towing cost?

The cost of towing a car ultimately depends on how far it needs to be towed. As a rough estimate, towing costs typically range from $2.50 to $7.00 per mile, and the average tow in the US is between 10 and 40 miles. Do the math, and it adds up. According to Quicktow, the average towing cost in the US is $109.

But those are just averages. There are a lot of other factors that can influence towing costs, including:

  • Distance: Longer distances typically result in higher towing fees due to increased fuel and time required for the tow truck operator.
  • Type of Vehicle: The size, weight, and condition of your car also play a role. Larger vehicles, like pickup trucks or SUVs, may require specialized equipment or additional effort to tow, leading to higher fees. 
  • Time of Day: Emergency, overnight, or after-hour towing services may mean higher fees. 
  • Location: It’s not just how far away your vehicle is; towing in urban areas or high-traffic zones may be more expensive due to increased demand and logistical challenges. 
  • Predicament: If your vehicle is immobile or difficult to access — like down a ditch, in mud or ice, or in an off-road location — winching may be necessary, which can cause towing costs to skyrocket.
  • Additional Services: Some towing companies may bundle roadside assistance, lockout assistance, and tire changes with a tow. Others will offer these services separately at an additional cost.

Tips for managing towing costs

If your car insurance policy includes towing coverage, they may have a list of preferred towing providers with pre-negotiated rates that can help reduce towing costs. 

Additionally, your insurer may partially or fully cover the cost of towing. However, coverage limits and deductibles may apply, so it’s a good idea to call your insurance company before engaging with a towing company. 

Here are some other tips for managing automobile towing costs:

  • Compare Local Towing Companies: Obviously, you want to do this before you need a tow. If you normally drive locally, get general quotes and contact information for towing services you can depend on. Ask for the per-mile rate and service area limitations. Look for reputable companies with transparent pricing and good customer reviews.
  • Request Quotes: Before agreeing to tow services, request quotes from several towing companies. This is why it’s smart to tackle the step above before you need it. Researching ahead of time can save you from price gouging and being taken advantage of when you need immediate assistance.
  • Communicate Clearly: When requesting towing services, provide accurate information about your precise location, including cross-streets or mile markers, the condition of your car, whether the car starts, etc. Clear communication can help avoid misunderstandings, pick-up delays, and unnecessary charges.
  • Be Prepared: Keep emergency roadside assistance kits in your vehicle, including jumper cables, a spare tire, and a basic toolkit. Regular maintenance can also help reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and the need for towing.
  • Know Your Rights: If you believe you’ve been overcharged or treated unfairly by a towing company, don’t hesitate to file a complaint with the appropriate channels. Your city or state’s Department of Consumer Affairs is a good place to start.

What about roadside assistance plans?

It’s estimated that over 88 million roadside assistance rescues were made in America last year and that, on average, 80% of roadside assistance calls are resolved without a tow. 

Many insurance packages include roadside assistance coverage, but some limit the number of calls or tows you can have to three or four a year. Having this information in the back of your mind may come in handy, regardless of whether you’re facing a minor inconvenience or a major roadside emergency.

If your insurance doesn’t offer roadside assistance and you want it, consider a membership program. Some, such as AAA, offer towing services as part of their membership benefits. They actually serviced over 32 million vehicles roadside in the US in 2023.

Besides 24/7 towing services, roadside assistance plans typically offer:

  • Jump-starts, especially on cold days and with older batteries
  • Battery Replacement or charging for an EV
  • Flat Tire Assistance to replace, repair, or switch to your spare
  • Lockout Assistance when you leave your keys in the locked car
  • Fuel Delivery of just enough gas to get you to the nearest gas station

Some roadside assistance options include minor mechanical repairs on-site and can address common issues such as overheating, minor engine repairs, or belt replacements without needing to tow your car.

It’s best to be prepared! 

None of us expect car troubles, but they can happen anytime. Knowing your insurance coverage, having contact info for a local towing company, and keeping emergency gear in your vehicle — like a kit, spare tire, jumper cables, and flashlight — can help a lot.

If you’re looking for expert guidance about towing or roadside assistance or considering updating your coverage to better suit your needs and budget, Guided Solutions has you covered.

Visit the Guided Solutions auto insurance page or call us at (833) 791-4719 to speak with a knowledgeable advisor.

Or, for a fast and hassle-free online quote on car insurance, start here.


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