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7 things to know about dealing with tow trucks

You have just had an accident and you are stuck on the side of the road.  Thankfully, no one was hurt and you just have to deal with the damage to your vehicle. It is rush hour, traffic is hurtling past you, and you are “that person” who is creating havoc for everyone commuting home. You just want to get out of there. The police have come to the scene and statements have been made. Now you have to move your car but it isn’t drivable. This is not your finest moment. Before having it towed, there are some towing rules you should know:

  1. If a tow truck driver just shows up, you can send them on their merry way. As per City of Ottawa Bylaw, it is illegal for a tow truck driver to approach a driver at a collision without having been called in either by police or the motorist. Tow truck drivers are not allowed within 100 meters of a collision unless they have been formally solicited by police, the driver or the driver’s insurance company.
  2. You are talking to the police, you turn around and your car is being hitched to the tow truck. This is not cool. Tow and storage providers must have permission to tow or store your vehicle. Do not allow a tow truck to hook up your vehicle until you specifically say so.
  3. Always find out the cost up front and get a written estimate. As with most things in life, it is better to know the cost up front than to be shocked later on. Inflated pricing after the fact is one of the biggest issues reported and the concept of “buyer beware” still applies when dealing with tow trucks.
  4. Do not assume your insurance company will cover the tow. Towing is not automatically covered by your policy unless you have the specific coverage (i.e. collision) and an insurance company will not pay above industry standard rates.
  5. Do not accept any tow company’s claim that they are under “police contract”.  Any such contracts only relate to impounded vehicles and not the public.
  6. It is your vehicle and you decide where it should be towed to (within reason…if you are out of town, you can’t have it towed all the way home). Do not allow your car to be taken to the tow company’s compound as this is when exorbitant storage fees could be charged and your insurance company may not cover them.
  7. If you are uncomfortable dealing with the towing firm – call someone else. Your “Spidey Senses” may be a little bit off because you just had an accident (which can be pretty traumatic) but let your common sense prevail. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into a situation you don’t feel comfortable with.

Dealing with tow trucks can be overwhelming, but it’s important to gather as much information as possible. Do you know which critical information are the most important to obtain when dealing with an accident? If not, here’s what to do if you are in a car accident.

I know this day has turned our horrible but no one was hurt and cars can be fixed.  Go home, hug your “people” and contact Rhodes & Williams using the Rhodes & Williams app or by phone at 613-226-6590. I promise tomorrow will be a better day.

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