What to Do When Your Car Was Towed After a Chicago Crash

Man sits on side of road holding his head with his hands next to wrecked car after car accident

A person who is involved in a car accident may have his or her vehicle towed. As a result, steps to reduce the potential hazards and expenses of towing need to be taken. The following are some things to keep in mind if a vehicle is towed following a crash in Chicago.

The Cost of Towing a Vehicle in Chicago

Towing is often expensive. In many cases, people don’t have the chance to decide whether or not to have a vehicle towed. The police are likely to have a vehicle towed to the nearest yard if the owner is unable to move the car for any reason. The owner will be responsible for paying the fees involved. Towing can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances.

Determining Who Covers the Towing Expenses

In some cases, an insurance policy may cover towing. Which insurance company covers the cost depends on who is determined to be at fault for the car accident. If the vehicle owner is at fault, either the owner or the owner’s insurer will cover the fees. However, if the other driver was at fault, the other driver or his or her insurer will need to pay. Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear who was at fault for an accident, particularly in the moments immediately after a crash.

Check Policies to Determine What Is Covered

Whether the insurance company is able to cover the costs of towing will also depend on the policy. If the vehicle owner has collision coverage, towing costs are normally included regardless of who was at fault. On the other hand, collision coverage will require the vehicle owner to pay the specified deductible.

If a policy includes roadside assistance and towing coverage, the owner may need to pay an additional smaller fee. This type of coverage may also cover other types of incidents that require towing, such as a blown-out tire. Depending on the policy, the insurance company may either pay the towing fee directly or require the individual to pay before reimbursing the costs later.

Tracking the Vehicle Once Towed

Following an accident, it’s common practice for police to contact tow truck companies to move the vehicle if the driver is incapacitated or if the vehicle is otherwise immovable. Although the police may have a preferred company, the vehicle owner can call a different company. This may be ideal if an insurer has recommended a specific company that falls under the individual’s auto coverage.

To avoid potential scams involving unsolicited tow trucks that charge enormous fees, individuals should contact a trusted towing company as recommended through an insurance company if possible. Vehicle owners also have the ability to decide where the vehicle will go once towed, which can help prevent the accumulation of unnecessary costs. This is especially helpful if the owner has a trusted mechanic to which the tow truck driver may be directed. 

Once the tow truck driver has arrived after the vehicle accident, the owner should request all relevant information about the towing company if it’s unfamiliar. Information to collect will include the business name and contact details, along with the name of the tow truck driver, and the tow truck’s license plate number. If the owner is unable to obtain this information directly at the scene of the accident, the police may be able to provide it at a later date.

When to Retrieve the Vehicle from a Salvage Yard

If a vehicle is towed to a salvage yard, it is important to retrieve the vehicle at the right time. Owners will need to give the other driver’s insurance company some time to look at the vehicle. After this assessment, it is best to pick up the vehicle as soon as possible.

It is important to give insurance companies enough time to assess a vehicle, as retrieving a vehicle too soon could lead to insurers to doubt the damages the vehicle owner claims resulted from the accident. Also, an assessment may uncover a defective component that might otherwise remain undiscovered and could lead to future accidents. Defective products could lead to a product liability claim.

In some instances, it may take a while for the other driver’s insurance company to assess a vehicle. If the insurer is taking too long and the vehicle owner would like to expedite the process and pick up the vehicle sooner, it may be possible to contact the owner’s insurance company. This can help to speed up the investigation. 

Taking all of these steps can help vehicle owners avoid steep costs and many other complications that may otherwise develop if a vehicle is towed following a car crash.