You probably didn’t have it in your plans, and you might not be exactly thrilled to have to call a tow truck. But it does happen, and when it does, perhaps the first thing on your mind is how much it will cost. The second thing is how much it would cost to tow your car. There are a lot of variables at play here, so it’s hard to say. So here’s the lowdown on what you need to know about car towing costs and how you might be able to cut costs along the way.
While we’d love to think that car maintenance would never require more than a weekly wash and regular maintenance checks, we know that’s not likely. Even if you meticulously maintain your vehicle and pay your auto insurance premiums on time, you will, at some point, need to spend some extra money on it.
Even though keeping up with regular maintenance helps lessen the likelihood of a breakdown, having your vehicle towed in the event of an emergency is still a reality. Of course, there’ll be times when towing your car will cost you less than $100, but sometimes, it can cost a whole lot more.
How to get free towing for your car
Towing may be entirely free if your auto insurance coverage covers roadside assistance.
Roadside Assistance is also a part of the Way+ subscription, which starts at less than $1/month.
As a result, when calculating our auto insurance estimates, our specialists always recommend roadside assistance as a general practice. In the end, including this type of coverage in your policy can save you time and money in an emergency. Here’s an idea of how much a tow should cost, how much it should cost each mile, and why towing is priced the way it is.
How much do you need to pay for towing a car?
The final bill will depend on several things, but the average cost to tow a car in the U.S. is around $100.
But your cost could be higher if you’ve been in an accident, if your car is stuck in mud or snow, or if you drive an oversized vehicle.
Average towing costs based on distances are:
|5 miles or less||$35-$130|
|100 miles||$350 to $600|
If you have a roadside assistance policy, you might be able to save some money, but how much depends on the plan you choose and your situation.
Does auto insurance cover towing?
If you choose to include towing as part of your coverage, your auto insurance policy might cover it.
Towing may be included in your collision and comprehensive coverage, or you may be able to purchase additional coverage for towing and labor as a separate policy rider from your insurance provider. However, if your insurance has a deductible, you might still be responsible for some of the costs.
The at-fault driver’s liability insurance might cover the cost of towing your vehicle if it was damaged in an accident. Keep all receipts, whether your insurance or the other driver will pay the charge.
Do any credit cards come with roadside assistance?
As a cardholder benefit, some credit cards also offer free or low-cost roadside assistance.
For example, Visa’s Roadside Dispatch service comes with some Visa credit cards. They will charge you around $70 for a standard service call that includes towing for up to 5 miles. After that, the cardholder pays the difference. A standard service call also includes jump-starting, changing a flat tire, helping you get in when you’re locked out, and delivering fuel.
American Express Premium Roadside Assistance and MasterCard’s Master RoadAssist Roadside Service offer free roadside assistance.
Have you registered with an Auto Club or Roadside Assistance subscription program?
You can further reduce towing costs by enrolling in a roadside assistance program or joining an organization like the Automobile Association of America (AAA). For instance, the price of a AAA membership can range from free to several hundred dollars per year, depending on the membership level and the region. Still, it is almost always less expensive than having a car towed.
Moreover, you can join AAA online or over the phone, and you may start enjoying its benefits immediately. Therefore, if you need a tow and it is not an emergency, you should join AAA before dialing for a tow truck.
Breakdown of car towing costs
Standard towing costs
Most towing companies charge a flat cost to hook up your vehicle to the tow truck. This amount can range from $35 to $100 and does not include the cost of towing your vehicle.
You’ll also have to pay a per-mile fee, which varies from towing company to towing business. Expect to spend between $2 and $7 each mile. Certain services may include the first few miles in their base fee to avoid asking for a per-mile price for a short tow.
Additional towing costs
There are other ways that hiring a towing service can cost you more money. These include:
- It can cost you more if you need towing at night, on the weekend, or on holidays, i.e., outside of normal days and hours.
- Towing rates can be up to 25% more for bigger, heavier, or oversized vehicles.
- If you’ve been hit by something and your car is broken and needs to be towed by a flatbed truck, your rate could be higher.
- If a tow service sends a tow truck out during bad weather, like flooding or a snowstorm, you should expect to pay more.
- You may have to pay up to $250 more if your car needs to be unlocked before it can be towed.
- If you are in a hard-to-reach place, like on a mountain road, and the truck has to drive further to get to you, or if the terrain is dangerous, you’ll have to pay more.
Other services offered by towing companies
Some of the services a towing company offers are:
- Gas delivery
- Tire changing
- Transportation of a car that cannot move
- Pulling out stuck cars
What questions to ask when hiring a tow truck
If you’re in a hurry or in a dangerous position, you’ll probably want to employ whichever firm can get your car towed quickly. However, if you have the time to phone more than one towing agency, check their rates and inquire about the following to prevent expensive costs.
How much will it cost to tow your car, depending on the distance?
A towing service should be able to provide you with an estimate of how much it will cost for one of its drivers to tow your vehicle to its destination. Make a note of the price to compare with other companies.
How long will it take for them to arrive?
This is especially crucial in inclement weather. If getting towed ASAP is crucial, a greater price may be worth it.
How much are the hook-up and per-mile fees?
These fees are the cornerstone of towing expenses, and the more these fees, the more you’re likely to pay if the driver has to haul your car farther than you expected.
Will they be charging you any additional fees?
Additional fees may apply depending on your condition. Inquire whether you will be charged any additional fees or higher rates due to your condition, such as needing to utilize a flatbed or being hauled from a ditch, and how much those expenses would be.
Note: If a company can’t or won’t offer you the price upfront, you might want to look elsewhere. If you need a tow, be sure you pick someone who will assist you rather than overcharging you.
More information about towing costs
What if I have an accident and need to be towed?
Following an automobile accident, most insurance companies will pay for a car tow as part of the insurance claim. The services provided by an automobile insurance company following an accident vary depending on the company and coverage level. Call your auto insurance agent if you have any inquiries about specific costs.
How much does towing cost per day?
If your car gets towed away, you’ll probably have to pay between $30 and $80 per day to keep it at the impound lot. Most of the time, if they bring your car in during the day, you’ll only pay a small part of this daily price. This isn’t always the case, though, so make sure to check your city’s rules.
How much does it cost to tow a boat?
Towing a boat costs between $200 and $500 per hour. Another alternative is a sea towing membership, which costs approximately $150 to $250 per year for unlimited towing.
How much does it cost to tow a camper, RV, or semi-truck?
Towing a camper, RV, or semi often costs $4 to $7 for each mile. For example, an 80-mile RV tow will cost between $450 and $600.
How much does it cost to tow a car 5 miles?
Towing a car 5 miles can cost you as low as $35 but could also go up to as high as $130.
How much does it cost to tow a car 50 miles?
It costs between $125 and $350 to tow a car 50 miles, but the price depends on the towing company, the reason for the tow, and the weather or traffic. Plus, you might have to pay extra if your car needs to be winched.
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