Calling a tow truck is probably not something you planned to do, and it may not be something you’re particularly happy to do. Your first question might be how much it will cost to repair your car and tow it somewhere. A ballpark average towing fee in the US is around $50-$125 for 5-10 miles and $2-$4 per mile in other cases. Your second question might be how much your comprehensive insurance coverage will pay for the towing and what it will cost you out of pocket. The answer to that second question varies greatly depending on the type of policy you carry and where you live.
You can call a tow truck to take your car to the shop or simply have it towed off the street if it’s giving you trouble. We’ve gutted through the fine print of dozens of policies across the nation and found that different insurance companies all have different rules when it comes to this type of claim. It’s important to understand what your insurance policy covers so you can get the best possible price for your tow.
What all auto insurance companies have in common is that they generally won’t cover the cost of towing a car if it isn’t running. If you call a tow truck because your car breaks down on the side of the road, you typically won’t be covered unless it is 100% off the road and in a place with no other traffic. If you leave your car on the side of the road with its hood up for more than 48 hours, most insurers will consider it abandoned.
If your car is towed because it’s illegally parked, you usually will have to pay for the tow yourself. Most insurance companies cover this type of claim if your vehicle is towed because it’s broken down or needs service. If your car breaks down on the road and you call a tow truck before consulting with your insurer, be sure to let us know that you made that choice so we can provide you with the best possible claim information.
The cost of having a car towed depends on how far you want the car to go, but the average cost of a tow is usually about $110. Costs for a tow can depend on your location and car. Towing your car can cost anywhere from $75 – $125. The more complicated the job, the higher your bill can be. If you need your car towed on a busy highway or over an hour away, the cost may be more.
Tow truck operators are allowed to charge fees for each mile they drive while they are under contract to bring your vehicle to a specific location, so the towing cost per mile is not the only fee you would have to cover. You can ask the truck operator for a written quote before having your car towed, and if you think it is too high, you can try calling another company.
If you need a tow truck, it is important to have the best possible towing rates. We have researched and found the cheapest companies for your area if necessary. If you're going to be towed because of an accident or car breakdown, remember that someone from the auto club should either assist you or give you a list of local tow services.
However, the towing cost per mile may go up if you need your car towed at night, on the weekend, or a holiday.
|5||$35 to $125|
|10||$65 to $125|
|20||$105 to $185|
|50||$165 to $300|
|100||$325 to $450|
People rarely need more than a good 10-mile towing. This type of service is the most common. Be ready to pay $50-$125 for 10 miles of towing. The range is wide because there are so many factors that influence the price:
An average towing cost for 100 miles is around $325-$500, so for a 300 miles tow, you will have to pay up to $1 500. That is quite expensive, especially since shipping a car for less than 500 miles usually costs around $400. So, maybe research your options and evaluate them carefully.
Sometimes people find themselves stranded in the most inconvenient places. And cars like to stop functioning primarily on a busy roads or in the middle of nowhere. Or what if you need to move a car to another city, but driving it is not an option? That is when long-range towing for 300 or 400 miles can be a possibility. Moving cars is expensive as it is, but towing cannot be the best way to do that.
The price varies from one state to another and it also depends on the kind of service you need. For instance, a heavy-duty towing fee would be higher than your regular fee because it requires a bigger tow truck, better equipment, a special license and more fuel. However, there are still some common elements.
Usually, the most popular service is a 5 or 10 miles towing. This is considered a short range. And in 2022, towing companies across the US charge around $50-$125 for this. Whenever you need anything more long-ranged than that, be prepared to pay about $75 for a hook-up and then you will be charged $2-$4 per mile of towing to the destination point.
|Average national towing cost||$109|
|Cheapest towing cost per mile||$2.50|
|Highest towing cost per mile||$7|
|Cheapest hook-up fee||$35|
|Highest hook-up fee||$100|
Usually, working after-hours is not something people are fond of, so employers tend to sweeten the deal by adding extra payment. This means higher prices for you, the customer. The additional cost to tow a car can be anywhere around $5 to $100 from 8 pm to 8 am (sometimes from 9 pm to 9 am). It is important to check what time your towing company considers after-hours and what their rates are.
Towing is not cheap. And it feels even less fun when you think about fixing the reason why your vehicle stops working. So, naturally, you would try to cut the expenses. However compelling as it might seem, it is also a risk.
Small companies that try to win a piece of the market will try to lower the towing cost per mile and their own expenses as much as humanly possible. This is not the best practice for towing. Your car’s safety depends on the equipment of the towing crew. But that is not the only possible issue.
Look very closely at the liabilities section. Does this cheap service guarantee refunds if your car gets damaged in the process? The scope of their customer support and quality of services can also be a way to cut prices. Be very careful with such services.
Tow truck drivers offer a surprising amount of services. Not only do they tow your car, but they often provide roadside assistance. If your vehicle does not start because you ran out of gas, a tow truck company will bring gas to you. Here are some other services they offer:
Jumpstart a battery in a dead car
Unlock the car door
Transport a broken car
Pull out a stuck car
And some more emergency repairs
A versatile towing company can offer much more than just towing your car to the nearest towing lot or repair shop. Just make sure you get a contact of your local service that actually provides these types of work. This will save you some time and money you would otherwise spend on towing.
Towing has its own regulations and must be aware of certain situations when the rules change. For instance, according to the TDLR (Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation), there are two possible types of tows according to how it is handled:
Consent (the driver calls the towing company and gets the service)
Non-Consent (regardless of who is calling, the fee is charged differently if the towing affects normal traffic on a public road)
Some towing companies have specific certificates that allow them to deal with incident management tows. Unfortunately for drivers, this type of towing service is considered a non-consent towing. Almost as if your car was towed without your presence. The state, county or city regulates maximum legal towing fees for such cases. Here is an example from Broward county, Florida: broward.org.
Towing can be dangerous to your vehicle. Faulty equipment and human error often result in small or major damages:
scratches on paint
pierced or slashed tires
cracks on the windshield or windows
And they must be taken care of, so can you get a refund from the towing company and how difficult can it be? This kind of situation is usually considered negligence. Each state has its own way of determining what it is and how to address such issues. So if you are browsing for more information, make sure to include the name of your state in the search query.
Taking pictures of your car is a good thing to do before towing. This way, you will be able to prove that the damage was not there in the beginning. Read the documents thoroughly to make sure the company is liable for unintentional damage.
If you notice damage, don’t rush to the court. First, check if your insurance can cover this expense. We advise against taking any action until you consult your insurance provider. Let the professionals do their job.
Many clubs provide services to their members in exchange for their annual payments. But the scope of technically free services varies significantly among types of membership, clubs and locations.
|Club name||Annual price||Towing miles included without additional fee|
|Good Sam||$49.95||unlimited (to the nearest repair shop, no choice)|
|AAA (classic)||$59.99||5-7 miles|
|AAA (plus)||$94.99||100 miles|
|Allstate (advantage)||$89||10 miles|
|Allstate (elite)||$164||100 miles|
Automobile clubs like AAA (American Automobile Association) often offer different services to their members, including towing. The distance and fees strongly depend on two factors: what your local club can offer and what membership you have. Practically any club can provide at least a 5-6 mile towing to the repair shop without any additional fees.
Premium members can expect to get a 100-mile towing service per cardholder annually, which is a lot. And in addition to that, there are multiple 5-10 mile towing allowed each year.
Towing is not something an average car owner needs every now and then. It is an emergency, after all. And if you already have an automotive club membership, why not use its services and get a reliable tow?
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