Consider this, you’ve just been involved in a minor accident and your car can’t move anymore despite the fact that it isn’t wrecked. Fortunately, a tow truck appears from nowhere and you’re feel relieved to have your car towed to a shop. No more worries because you are now sure you’ll be back on the road. Things take a new turn when the truck driver hands over the bill and you realize you have to pay thousands of dollars for that simple tow.
While such a scenario may seem unrealistic, it actually happens to many people every day. Of course there are trustworthy tow professionals, scammers are part of this industry. Whether you’re out of options or you have a great need, it is important to be careful with the tow ‘professional’ who just shows up to help even before asking for it. Otherwise you might end up paying $1,600 instead of $160. Here are some tips that can help you stay away from towing scams.
- Verify the person and company helping you
If the deal looks “too good to be true” stay away. Scammers are always looking for police alerts to identify any breakdowns or real-time accidents. That explains why a tow truck will appear right after the accident. Funny enough, the driver will tell you they ‘happened to be passing by.’ Although you really need help such a statement should raise a red flag. Don’t be quick to sign the authorization document because you might have to pay an extremely high and unwarranted price. Find out about the person and verify the company that’s towing your vehicle.
- Don’t share your insurance information
A tow truck might appear at the scene of the accident to help, that’s fine. However, if the tow-man starts asking about your insurance information, that’s a red flag. Sharing your insurance information will enable the tow-man to scam you some other time. You might receive a call some other time from the same people pretending to be your insurer so that they can get additional information from you. You can guess how things might end up. Note that any information they might need is already with your insurance provider.
- Double Check to be sure what your auto insurance covers
Don’t agree or give in to any towing service after a roadside emergency or accident before double checking your coverage. You might assume the towing service is covered in your insurance only to find out that’s not the case. Many insurance companies offer coverage for roadside assistance jobs such as battery services, gas delivery, and flat tire changes but they might not always cover towing service for your car.
- Get it in writing
Never allow anyone service or tow your vehicle before agreeing on the cost of the service. Once you’ve agreed, make sure the price is put in writing. You never know of when the tow company can change their mind. A written document will also help you pay exactly what you agreed upon.
- Don’t sign before reading the fine print
Although you’re in a hurry or you really want your car taken away from the accident scene, it is important to read what you’re signing. You don’t want to end up regretting your actions. Make sure the documents you’re signing match the identification of the tow company offering the service. The agreed price should also be highlighted.
- Communicate and insist on your towing destination
Inform the tow company your car’s final destination. Unless the car manufacturer or your insurance provider has restrictions on where your car should be repaired, it is important for you to choose the destination yourself. Some tow companies will take your vehicle to their own shop so that they can get more cash out of your pockets. Just remember that towing prices are usually charged based on the number of miles covered.