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How To Know When It’s Time To Call A Tow
Thinking of calling your insurance company when you’re broken down on the side of the road? Think again.
You should call a towing company vs. insurance in many situations. For the most part, you should only use roadside in an emergency. Why? Well, if you purchase roadside assistance from your insurance provider and call multiple times a year, this shows you as a risky customer. Be cautious and wise about when and how to use roadside assistance.
However, depending on the roadside insurance provider you have, your rates will not always increase.
It’s also important to note that roadside assistance pertains to the owner of the vehicle only. In other words, if you’re driving with your friend, and they get a flat tire, roadside assistance would not cover them simply because you’re present.
What to Do if Your Car Breaks Down on the Road
Nobody wants to experience a breakdown. However, most people will find themselves in this situation at some point or another.
Your vehicle breaking down in the middle of the road sounds frustrating and scary. If you know what to do and how to stay safe while waiting for a tow truck, you’ll handle the situation better.
Here are a few suggestions:
- If possible, get your car to the righthand shoulder of the road
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Engage the emergency breaks
- Stay inside your vehicle while calling a towing company for assistance
- Contact family and friends to keep them updated
Another thing to keep in mind is that if anyone stops to help, politely refuse (unless you feel out the situation and they seem like they’re offering genuine assistance). In some cases, unfortunately, you just never know when someone appears to want to help but is actually a danger to you, so, sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
By following these recommendations, you will remain safe until help arrives.
When to Call a Towing Company
There are many breakdown situations in which you won’t need to call a tow truck. For example, if you or someone you’re with knows enough about cars and you have the right tools on hand to solve the problem.
But there are also many situations in which you will need to call for towing services. Let’s go into more details about some of these situations so you can see how a tow truck would get you out of them.
1. Your Vehicle Doesn’t Start
If you’ve already done everything you know to do and your car just doesn’t want to turn over, it may be time to call a towing company to come help.
Sometimes, it may be something as simple as a dead battery and all you need is a jump. Other times, there are bigger issues that even the tow truck driver can’t fix.
When it is something bigger than a battery, it’ll be good to have the truck already there to take you to the mechanic.
2. Run Out of Gas
Running out of gas could happen to anyone. Although you may be tempted to walk to a gas station, leaving your car on the side of the road unattended is not a good idea.
This is especially true if you’re in a dangerous area or a long distance from the nearest gas station. So, rather than risking your car or yourself, just give a tow service a call.
3. Flat Tire
While this is something many people know how to do, it’s not always possible to do on your own. Sometimes the lug nuts are too tight for your hand tool. Sometimes you don’t have a jack on hand.
Save yourself and avoid doing more damage to your car by calling a tow truck company instead.
4. Car Accident
We hope you never get into a car accident. However, if you do, let an experienced tow company take you to a repair shop so you can get an estimate on damages to present to your insurance company.
What to Do Before Calling a Towing Service
If you’re involved in a car accident, there are a few things you’ll want to do before you call a towing company. There are also ways to prepare before the tow truck arrives.
1. Take Pictures of the Damage
Your insurance company will probably send someone out to take pictures of your car at some point, but you’ll want to have your own as well. Take as many as possible from every angle to show the full extent of the damage.
This documentation will also help you on the off chance that unexpected damage occurs while your vehicle is being towed. You can then contact the towing company if necessary.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
One of the biggest mistakes people make is contracting services without knowing if their insurance will cover the costs.
So, before you contact a towing company you have to make sure you know what your insurance company covers. They may only work with certain companies, so this could affect who you call.
3. Ask for a Towing Estimate
If your insurance company won’t cover the cost of towing, you’ll want to ask the tow company for a cost estimate before you have them send out a truck.
Tow truck pricing differs depending on the company. Some companies have a flat rates based on the vehicle whereas others charge by the mile, as well as the type of vehicle being towed. It’s always important to ask in advance to avoid surprises later on.
4. Ask About Towing Method
There are two ways your vehicle may be towed:
- Hook and chain
Flatbed is when your car is hoisted onto the back of the truck. This method is far safer for your car and less likely to damage it in transit. Always select this option if possible.
The hook and chain method is when your car’s front end is lifted from the ground and that is how your vehicle is transported to wherever you need to go. As you can imagine, this is harder on your car and should be avoided.
5. Keep All Receipts
This is actually something you’ll do after the towing and throughout the accident process, but it’s worth mentioning.
Most insurance companies will reimburse you for at least part of the cost of towing, but you have to provide them with the original receipts to get your money back.
You’ll want to make sure you have both the original receipts for everything, and copies on hand.
Need a Tow?
Now you know some situations in which you’ll need to call a towing service and what to do before you make that call. Following these suggestions can help you avoid frustration and may save you some money.
If you’re in need of a tow, contact us now. We’d be more than happy to provide an estimate for you and come solve your problem as quickly as possible.