Important things to remember if your car needs to be towed

If your car needs to be towed, it’s important to know what to do because that’s what happens to most of us at some point in our driving career. Whether due to an accident or mechanical failure, being stuck on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle can be a stressful and unpleasant experience.

Aside from your personal safety, your priority must be to get help or arrange to move your car to a safe place until it can be repaired.

“If you have insurance, there’s a good chance your insurance company will offer free towing services from select authorized providers as part of your insurance. You can usually call your insurance provider’s call center for assistance, or get help from the app connected to their emergency assistance,” said Ernest North, co-founder of digital insurance platform Naked.

Also read: These grievance complaints highlight what to look out for when buying a used car

mechanical or electrical failure

Getting 24/7 emergency assistance is one of the benefits of having comprehensive car insurance, emergency benefits often include sending someone out to see and help you with your car, such as starting your car or bringing you a litre of gas and possibly towing you Go to the nearest service center or panel mixer.

“However, when it comes to breakdowns caused by mechanical failure, it’s important to check your insurance company’s policy. Most policies have a cap on coverage: the cost of a trailer, e.g. R500, or the kilometers per trailer, e.g. 25 kilometer.”

You can also contact your car dealer if your car is under warranty and they should send you a tow truck driver. When it comes to mechanical issues, insurance companies typically don’t cover the cost of repairs or replacements, North said.

after the accident

If you’re unable to drive after an accident, North says you must contact your insurance company through their app, or call their toll-free 24/7 emergency helpline immediately for assistance to arrange for a tow truck to pick up the vehicle as soon as they have all the vehicles detail.

The call center agent will provide trailer details and estimated time of arrival. “Even if you can start your car, it’s usually wise to avoid additional damage and arrange for a tow truck if you can pick up any internal or external damage after a collision,” North said.

Also read: Top Tips for Insuring Your Used Car

Dealing with towing companies

A tow truck driver cannot tow a vehicle without your permission, which you usually give by signing a form, North said. Before you sign, make sure the tow truck driver is from your insurance company. The only way to make sure your car doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to contact your insurance company and arrange a tow with them directly.

“However, if you are seriously injured in an accident, there is a good chance your car will be removed by the first tow truck driver who arrives at the scene. Therefore, it is best to have an insurance company sticker on your car.”

Maybe someone will help by contacting your insurance company and arranging one of their approved towing services. Alternatively, the tow truck driver should call your insurance company and let them know. If the tow truck driver doesn’t have your or your insurance company’s details, he will usually track the owner through eNatis.

What to do if your car is towed without your permission

If your car is towed without your permission, be sure not to pay for any towing services directly. “It’s better to contact your insurance company and let them handle it. If you can, it’s better to call your insurance company yourself.”

If a tow truck driver asks for a tow fee, get an invoice showing the tow cost and the location of the car and give it to your insurance company to sort it out, but keep in mind that your insurance company may restrict if You will be charged if you do not use a designated service provider.

Also read: Follow these rules to make sure your insurance doesn’t deny your Fender Bender claim

Arrange a tow truck for others involved in the accident

While it may seem like a sweet thing to do, North’s suggestion is to let the third party take care of the towing arrangements themselves.

“Before you leave the scene of the accident, please obtain details (name, car registration, contact details, insurance information) from the other drivers involved in the accident, as well as the contact details of any witnesses.”

He said you can’t offer to pay a third party for towing, as that could be interpreted as accepting liability, which would make it harder for your insurance company to fight in your corner.

10 things to do and avoid at the scene of a car accident

  1. Stop, stay calm, keep your head clear, and take a few deep breaths. This is the most important thing you can do, as emotions are often high at the scene of an accident, and staying calm, composed and composed can actually save lives.
  2. Stay on site, look around and assess the situation. Do not move the injured person at the scene, as this may put them at greater risk. Instead, wait until professional help arrives, so get an ambulance to the scene as soon as possible. Emergency roadside assistance from your insurance company can help. Remember, do not move your vehicle unless the police ask you to do so, or it could be a safety hazard to others on the road.
  3. Call the police if anyone is injured, and also if there is a violation of the law or damage to state vehicles or property. Stay there until the police say you can go.
  4. Make sure your car is still safe to drive. Check the status of your car. Is it safe to drive? Will it get you home or go to the nearest police station? Sometimes the answer is obvious, but if you’re not entirely sure, it’s better to contact your insurance company’s towing service.
  5. If your car is not drivable, call your insurance company’s towing service. When numerous tow truck drivers arrive on the scene within minutes, you will soon find yourself with aggressive tow truck drivers. Knowing who to deal with can be intimidating, but remember the most important thing: don’t use the first service provider that shows up on the scene, even if he claims to be from your insurance company. Call your insurance company’s emergency roadside assistance line directly for towing assistance, and make sure they tell you exactly how to identify the tow truck you should be using.
  6. Now is the perfect time to pull out your phone and take a few pictures. Take as many photos of your own car and any other vehicles or property involved as possible, including license plates, license plates, street names, or any other nearby landmarks. Ask any other driver involved for a photo of their driver’s license. Once the initial shock subsides, your memory of the event may become a little fuzzy, but your phone will remember important details weeks after the event.
  7. It is important to capture every detail. Write down the names and contact details of any and all witnesses and other parties involved in the incident. This will really help you if you think the accident was someone else’s fault and you want your insurance company to help you recover the excess.
  8. Check to see if any cameras are pointed at the scene. Random CCTV cameras covering the accident scene may also help.
  9. If anyone is injured or involves a third party or their property, please report the incident to the police within 24 hours as this is required by road traffic laws. Make sure to note the case number and take a photo of the completed report. It is a legal requirement to report incidents in which people or animals have been injured or other people’s property has been damaged. As a bonus, it will also help you get a possible recovery from a responsible third party later in the process.
  10. Let your insurance company know about the accident immediately. Trailer reporting can take time, and speaking directly with your insurance company will help expedite the process. Share all the information and pictures you’ve gathered from the field and give them all the information to help them move the process forward as quickly and easily as possible.

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