What to Do When Your Car Gets Towed After an Accident

What to Do When Your Car Gets Towed After an Accident

After an accident, your car may be towed from the scene. If your car is not drivable, the police will have a tow truck tow the vehicle to location of your choice, or to a law enforcement authorized vehicle storage facility licensed by State of Texas. Otherwise, you’ll be allowed to drive your car away from the scene. If the police decide it’s unsafe for you to continue driving your car, there are a few things you should get before the tow truck tows your vehicle away from the accident scene.

  1. Photograph the accident scene. Make sure to take pictures (with your phone, for instance) of the outside of your vehicle from multiple angles, the other vehicles from multiple angles, and the inside of your car. These photos can be used as evidence in your insurance claim, and possible lawsuit, later.
  2. Gather insurance information and statements. Don’t forget to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s). If possible, collect statements about what happened from them and any other eyewitnesses. You could use your phone to record them. Law enforcement on the scene assist with information exchange most of the time
  3. Remove anything of importance from the vehicle. Remember: It may be several days before you have access to your car again. Don’t leave valuables or important documents behind.
  4. Get documentation from the tow truck driver. Find out where they’re taking your car, how much they’re charging for the tow, what vehicle storage facility they are taking your vehicle to, and their contact information or business card. Make sure you get a copy of the police tow slip if law enforcement provides it.
  5. Consider your immediate transportation needs
    After your car is towed, you’ll need to find another method of transportation to get you from the accident scene or hospital to your home or rental car location. If you’re close to your home, you can ask the tow truck driver to take you there if it’s not out of their way, but they aren’t obligated to take you. They have limited cab space, too, so if there are more than two people who need a ride, you’ll need other arrangements.
    You could call a taxi, ride-sharing service, or a friend or family member to pick you up. If you’re not sure who to call, the police may be able to point you in the right direction. Make sure to save your receipts for any rides you take as well as for any rentals, especially if the other driver was at fault. You might be able to get reimbursed for them.

Note: Only give your car to a tow truck driver who has been called to the scene by law enforcement. Anyone who shows up before that may be trying to scam you and charge more than allowed by local or state laws. Many trucks may arrive on scene that are already supposed to be there, such as the Tow and Go freeways in Houston. They must still wait for law enforcement to order the vehicle towed, regardless. It is against Texas state law for a tow operator to solicit you at the scene into bringing a vehicle directly to a repair facility, rather than a vehicle storage facility!

How much does it cost to tow a car?

The following is the maximum amount that wreckers can charge in Houston, TX, as well as Harris County, to tow light duty vehicles (most cars):

City of Houston Jurisdiction:

  • $190.00 for the hookup, and
  • Over 20 Miles loaded distance rate— $3.80 per mile

 

Harris County Jurisdiction:

  • $145.50 for the hookup, and
  • Within Reason loaded mileage – $3.80 per mile

 

Medium Duty and Heavy Duty vehicle tows are much higher rates.

Where will the car get towed after an accident?

If your car has to be stored at the tow yard or impound yard, there will be additional fees as well, starting at a maximum of $21.03 per day, plus tax, for vehicle over 25 feet, the daily storage rate is $36.80 per day, plus tax. If a vehicle has been in a licensed vehicle storage facility (VSF) for more than 24 hours, the vehicle storage facility may charge a onetime $50 notification fee, as they are required to send out certified notifications to all owners and lienholders on registration, including temporary plates still valid. There also may be a onetime Impoundment fee of $21.03 as well, that covers preservation and inventory purposes performed by the VSF.

Does car insurance cover towing and storage fees after an accident?

Your auto insurance may cover towing and storage after an accident, depending on your policy. Most full liability insurance policies will cover all fees, except the deductible amount you have in place. Some plans, if you do not have comprehensive or collision insurance, as well as uninsured motorist insurance, may only cover it if you also have a roadside assistance plan. Texas is an “at-fault” state, so if the other driver was at fault in the accident, then they or their insurance company should pay for towing and storage.

You should arrange to have your vehicle moved from the vehicle storage facility to a repair facility as soon as possible. The state of Texas is a right to choose state, meaning you can pick wherever you desire to have your vehicle repaired, and that decision cannot be dictated by the insurance company.

In the state of Texas, an insurance company that pays a claim of total loss on a vehicle in a vehicle storage facility is liable to the operator of the facility for any money owed to the operator in relation to delivery (towing) of the vehicle to or storage of the vehicle in the facility regardless of whether an amount accrued before the insurance company paid the claim.

Getting a rental car after an accident

Who pays for your rental car after an accident in Texas? If you have rental reimbursement coverage as part of your insurance policy, your insurer will typically pay for a rental car until your damaged car is repaired, it’s declared a total loss, or you hit the maximum number of days in your policy. There will likely be both daily and total maximums.

If you were blameless in the traffic accident, does the at-fault driver pay for your rental car? According to Texas law, you could seek rental fees from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Of course, determining who is at fault can take several days, even weeks, and they may not pay until that happens. Or, if fault is in dispute, the insurance company can deny your accident claim. In that case, if you have no rental reimbursement coverage, you’ll have to pay out of pocket and try to get reimbursed later.

If you have already had your vehicle brought to a collision center, you can possibly arrange getting a Loaner vehicle from them that may offset any upfront fees until your vehicle is repaired. Ask them, it never hurts to ask.

As Always, if you have any questions, or need a free quote on towing services, please call me anytime!

Jess Horton
(713)260-2599
jess@carkingtowing.com