Question: My truck was run off the road and damaged when I hit a tree. It was towed to a repair shop. I have collision coverage, but my car insurance adjuster told me that I didn’t buy towing and labor coverage so the insurance company won’t pay the towing bill. It seems to me this should be part of the collision claim. Is it normally?
Answer: In general, physical damage coverages (collision and comprehensive) will usually cover reasonable towing fees when the tow was required due to damages sustained in a covered loss that you’re claiming.
Often there are constraints on how far a vehicle can be towed for the whole towing bill reimbursed by your physical damage coverage.
If your towing bill is unreasonable or the length of the tow was unreasonable then many times insurance companies will only pay a portion of it, the part they find is reasonable. These limitations should be noted in your policy.
For an example, if your accident took place out of state and you had the wrecker tow your vehicle hundreds of miles back to your home state, instead of to a repair shop within close proximity to where the accident occurred, this would be considered unreasonable.
Separate towing and labor coverage is typically used for towing when your vehicle is disabled due to mechanical issues (which are never covered by your auto policy) or after an accident if you don’t have physical damage coverage.
While the majority of car insurance policies will pay for incidental fees -- such as towing and storage fees that one may incur after an auto accident -- under collision and comprehensive coverages, not all do. Every policy has its own terms, exclusions, restrictions and limitations.
Some cheaper policies have you give up certain benefits to receive a lower premium. Towing coverage under collision and comprehensive may be one such benefit. (See “7 gotchas of cheap insurance”)
To find out if your car insurance adjuster is correct, you need to review the terms of your policy and specifically what is covered, and excluded, from your collision coverage. If you can’t determine if towing is covered by your collision coverage, then contact your agent to discuss the situation.
If you find that towing fees should be covered by your collision coverage in this situation, then contact your claims department to have the charge reconsidered for payment (or reimbursement if you already paid it).
If you find that your policy truly doesn’t cover towing under your collision coverage, then it may be time to look for a policy that has better benefits. By comparison shopping, you should be able to find a car insurance policy that has not only great rates, but great coverage.