What happens if you find yourself involved in an accident and a towing company has been dispatched before you can get involved and arrange the tow yourself? This is considered a non-consensual tow.
What are Non-Consensual Tows?
A non-consensual tow transpires when a vehicle is removed from a roadway or property at the request of law enforcement, without the consent or authorization of the vehicle owner or operator. For example, when an accident has occurred and the vehicle needs to be removed because it is blocking the roadway, the law enforcement agency on the scene will contact a towing company to remove the vehicle. Oftentimes, the law enforcement agency has prearranged agreements and an approved list of towing companies and will contact the next one in rotation.
Fees Associated with Non-Consensual Tows
When a vehicle owner does not have control over who tows their vehicle, they also lose control of the costs associated with the tow. These costs can include any or all of the following:
- Unnecessary equipment was brought to the scene
- Additional personnel were brought to the scene
- Cargo transfer fees
- Storage fees
Before signing the towing contract, review it in its entirety. The contract is a legal and binding agreement and once it is signed, it is difficult to contend with any charges you may not agree with. Typically, a price list will be attached to the contract, so it is advisable to look for that list. If you do not see one attached, ask the towing company to provide that list to you.
How Do You Avoid Non-Consensual Tows?
Be prepared. Avoiding an accident or breakdown may not always be possible; however, you can have some control over the situation if you are prepared. One way to be prepared is to research tow companies ahead of time and keep an active list of companies that you trust. Also, understand your state’s laws regarding towing procedures and the maximum allowed costs associated with a tow. If you request to contact a towing company of your choice, most of the time the law enforcement agency will honor that request; however, their acceptance of the request is dependent upon the specific state’s laws.
If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have any control over which towing company is used, it is best to contact your insurance company and provide them with the information about the situation. That way, if the towing charges turn out to be questionable, your insurance company will have the resources to investigate the situation.
Not every accident or breakdown results in a non-consensual tow, but if you find yourself in an unwelcomed situation it is best to be prepared and equipped with resources that will guide you to a favorable resolution.
Veritas Administrators has a dedicated and experienced team of towing and storage experts ready to assist. To learn more about our ability to partner with you on your towing and storage claims, see our “Learn More” button, or feel free to request a phone call.