Towing coverage is one of the most requested features that auto insurance companies receive from their clients on an annual basis. As a matter of fact, so much interest has been generated that many insurance policies now include some form of towing coverage in the base coverage offering, without it needing to be purchased as an add on. Below we’ll take an in-depth look at towing coverage, how it works, and what you can expect from the towing coverage that you purchase through your auto insurance company.
What does Towing Coverage Typically Cover?
There are three main areas that a towing coverage policy will typically either completely cover the costs or will reimburse you for a certain amount up to a limit.
The first is the cost of the actual towing service. Nearly all towing companies charge some form of flat rate to drive the truck out and perform whatever service it is that you need, whether it’s towing or removing your car from the ditch that it’s now stuck in.
Next, as you probably know if you’ve ever had to use one, towing companies charge for each mile that the driver has to drive the truck to reach you and to return your car to your house or to your chosen repair facility. These per-mile fees can end up being the majority of the bill, especially if your car decides to call it quits somewhere in the middle of the forest while you’re driving up the interstate to see family during a holiday.
Finally, there are other items like battery boosting and fixing flat tires that are usually covered as “roadside assistance”. Most good towing policies will include at least some of these, and we’ll discuss them further below.
How does Towing Coverage Save me Money?
Purchasing a towing coverage policy can save you money in a couple of areas. The first is that you won’t have to pay for repeated instances of towing throughout the year, as nearly all decent towing coverage options will include at least three or more tows in a year. For most drivers, even needing a single tow truck call in a year seems like a stretch, since your car is generally operating just fine. As with all forms of insurance, towing coverage is for those “just in case” scenarios where things go wrong repeatedly, and it’s nice to know that you’re taken care of.
You’ll also save by not having to pay for circumstances when you don’t actually need your car to be towed, but you still need some roadside assistance. Situations like this include dead car batteries, or when you’ve managed to lock your keys in the car and you need the tower to help you get in. Generally most towing coverage packages will include all of this, so you can rest assured that you will not be left hanging when your battery decides to call it quits.
Things to Keep in Mind when Selecting Towing Coverage
When you’re selecting the level of towing coverage that you want to add on or include with your car insurance policy, there are a few questions to keep in mind:
How far do you commute? If you’re commuting a short distance to and from work, say within a couple of miles or so, you might want to go with the most basic towing coverage available. Towing companies tend to charge a flat fee for the actual towing service, and then a per-mile charge that can be range from fair to outrageous. If you generally have your car close to home and you won’t be suffering large per-mile fees, go with the less expensive towing coverage.
How old is your car? If your car is brand new, you can probably get away with a less expensive form of towing coverage for the next couple of years, until it starts to become problematic and starts breaking down. On the other hand, if you drive a car that’s more than a decade old and has a hundred thousand miles on it, you may want to consider picking up a more comprehensive towing option that covers more frequent towing.
Do you normally drive on back roads, or in the city? Similar to figuring out how far you commute, you need to take a look at where you do most of your driving. If you are located rather far out of the city, you’re probably located rather far out of range of the closest towing company that is supported by your towing coverage. Again, being farther away from the towing yard means paying higher per mile fees, and this will drive up your bill and your need for better coverage.
Finally, can you fix your own minor issues like a flat tire? If you are able to handle some of the more frequent problems that drivers run into, such as a flat tire or jump starting your battery, you are far less apt to even need towing coverage in the first place. Unless you own a lemon, total breakdowns are pretty rare; the majority of towing calls are for things like flat tires, which most people should know how to fix on their own.
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