We have all seen them screaming past us on the freeway, leaving behind plumes of rubbery smoke and causing severe hearing loss in those unlucky drivers who got too close to them. In case you have not been able to guess what I am referring to, it is tow-trucks on their way to an accident scene. Beware though because devious tow-truck drivers could crash your car insurance claim!
Those of you lucky enough to have never been in a car accident probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Those of you who have been in an accident probably wonder why five tow-trucks arrived on the scene before an ambulance or police car. Well it comes down to money. Tow-truck drivers make a living out of other people's misery. They pull away the corpses of our beautiful vehicles after their demise on our roads and get paid handsomely for doing so. What you probably do not know is that these tow-truck drivers can put a serious dent into your wallet and trash your insurance.
Most people think that tow-truck drivers make money by towing away crashed vehicles. Unfortunately this is not the case. Unscrupulous tow-truck drivers tow vehicles to their own repair shops. If the owner of the vehicle then refuses to use their repair shop to carry out the repairs then they charge extremely high towing fees as well as exorbitant storage fees. If the repair shop is not authorised by the vehicle owner's car insurance company to carry out the repairs, then the vehicle owner is left with no other choice than to pay the fees being asked.
Fighting these sharks is often futile and expensive. Firstly your insurance claim could be held up for months while trying to get your vehicle back from these repair shops. This leaves you without a vehicle for a long time and if your car insurance policy does not include a car rental option then you will have to foot the bill for your alternative transport. Secondly, taking them to court does not help either because the delay caused by legal action only results in higher storage fees combined with legal fees.
The best thing to do is to avoid this situation entirely! If you have an accident, the first thing that you should do is call your insurance company. You will probably be panicking, but the last thing you should do is allow a tow-truck driver convince you that you have to use their services. Keep your insurance company's telephone number in your car or in your wallet, so that you don't need to search for it after an accident. Once you call your insurer, they will send an authorised towing company to the accident scene. Your vehicle will then be towed directly to a panel-beater who is linked to your insurance company. This means that the towing and storage costs will all be covered by your insurance claim.
When shopping around for insurance it is a good idea to check whether the policy includes towing and storage cover. While you are at it also check if a car rental option is included. Having these items in your insurance policy could save you a lot of money.