If your car has broken down on the side of the road, chances are good you don’t want to waste time choosing a towing service with a good Better Business Bureau rating. Choosing the first towing service available can have serious consequences, though; companies who don’t know what they’re doing can damage your vehicle, and unscrupulous companies can deliberately overcharge you.
Here are some tips on choosing a towing service that will keep your wallet and your car safe.
1. Find one that specializes in your reason for getting a tow.
Repossession towing companies treat tows very differently from those who typically do mechanical failure tows or collision tows. The tow truck and operators should be experienced in towing cars in similar situations that might need care to avoid additional body or repair work.
2. Get a clear idea of what’s wrong.
Often, tow truck companies receive phone calls from hysterical drivers stranded by the roadside. This doesn’t help anyone figure out what’s going on! Remain calm, figure out what exactly is wrong with the car, and explain it in as clear a manner as possible when you call the tow truck or speak to the operator. Don’t try to fix it yourself once the tow truck is on its way; you’ll still be charged and you may damage your car even more.
3. Ask about their fees and how far they will tow.
Some companies will try to charge you fees for crossing country lines, special types of tows, or your type of vehicle. You should ask upfront what their fee will be, how far they will tow, and whether they help with insurance company paperwork. They may demand upfront payment or they might go through your insurance company; either way, you should be prepared.
4. Ask your auto insurance company.
If you’re going to need your insurance company to get involved anyway, ask them which towing companies they prefer. Using these towing services will make it easier to get reimbursed if the auto insurance agency already has agreements set up with them.
Whether due to mechanical failure, running out of gas, or getting into an accident, getting a tow isn’t fun. Take an extra few minutes to choose a towing company ahead of time and you can save money and frustration later.