How does car insurance cover towing?

Make sure you have a tow when you need it.

Updated

Fact checked
Car towed

Getting stranded without your car is a highly stressful situation, but knowing you have a tow available in case of an accident can be a big relief. If you have a car insurance policy, you should be covered for it at no extra cost in the event of a covered accident, fire or theft, but there may be limits on where or how far they'll take your car. We've put together this guide to help you find out if you're already covered for towing or, if not, how to get it.

Who offers cover for towing?

ProviderWhat is towing included in?How is it covered?Limits
Picture not described

Budget Direct

Comprehensive and third party fire or theft car insurance policyRecovery of the car

Towing to nearest approved repairer or secure storage

Storage costs if the car can't be driven

Youi Logo

Youi

Comprehensive and third party fire or theft car insurance policy

Youi Road Assist

Towing to and storage of car in a nearby safe placeRoad Assist: max 20km in metro areas and 50km in regional ones
NRMA Logo

NRMA

Two types of comprehensive cover

Third party property, fire and theft and third party property damage policies

Towing of car to nearest repairer or safe placeCover is limited to a single tow

For third party property damage only policy, you will only be covered for towing if the other driver was at fault

AAMI logo

AAMI

Comprehensive car insurance policy

Third party property, fire and theft policy

Towing of car to nearest repairer, safe place or somewhere else nominated by AAMI

Storage costs if necessary

Only covers the cost of one tow
Picture not described

Suncorp

All three levels of comprehensive car cover

Third party property, fire and theft policy

Towing your car to Suncorp's nearest repairer or somewhere else it names

Storage costs if your car can't be driven

Only covers the cost of a single tow
Picture not described

Coles

Comprehensive and third party property, fire and theft car insurance policyTowing your vehicle to the nearest partner repairer or safe place

Reasonable storage costs

No cover for any costs racked up before you've lodged your claim

If the repair process ends up costing more than the sum insured, your car will be treated as a total loss and not returned

Virgin money logo

Virgin Money

Comprehensive and third party property, fire and theft car insurance policy

Virgin Money roadside assistance

Recovery of the car

Towing of the car to the nearest repairer or safe storage

Storage costs if the car can't be driven

Roadside assistance: max 15km in metro areas, 50km round trip in rural ones
real insurance

Real Insurance

Comprehensive and Pay As You Drive policies

Third party property, fire and theft car insurance

Towing of the car to the nearest safe place
Woolworths logo

Woolworths

Comprehensive and Drive Less Pay Less policies

Third party property, fire and theft car insurance

Towing of the car to the nearest safe place
RAA Logo

RAA

Comprehensive and third party property, fire and theft car insurance policyTowing to the nearest repairer, safe place or somewhere nominated by RAA
RAC logo

RAC

Comprehensive and third party fire and theft insurance

Third party property damage

Towing of car to the nearest repairer or safe placeFor third party property damage, towing is only covered if the other driver is at fault

Get roadside assistance from $7 a month

Name Product Call-outs (Unlimited/4 per year) Joining Fee Fuel Replacement Locksmith States Available
Budget Direct Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$125
Nationwide
From $6.70 per month.
NRMA Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$0
Nationwide
From $9.99 per month. 24/7, nationwide coverage available.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. They'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. They offer higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (they'll cover men too!).
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service. Plus, get a $100 e-Gift card when you purchase a new policy by 30 November 2020 (T&Cs apply).

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include but you'll also be entitled to some benefits on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Is towing included in my car insurance?

Many comprehensive car insurance policies will automatically include towing to the nearest repairer or safe location if an incident occurs. Some plans will even include complimentary roadside assistance, which may result in a tow depending on the state of your car and the particulars of the roadside assistance.

Apart from comprehensive policies, certain insurers like Youi, Budget Direct and Coles offer third party fire and theft policies which have towing costs included. Always check your policy documents to make sure you know what you're covered for.

How am I covered for towing?

For comprehensive policies, you'll likely be covered for towing in the case of any incident included in your policy (such as accidents or attempted theft) if it leaves your car in an undriveable state or far away. For third party fire and theft policies with included towing, your car will probably only be towed if the incident was a fire or attempted theft.

When you've been in an accident or your car needs a tow, you should always call up your provider first. As part of lodging your claim, they may arrange a tow on your behalf. In the event that they leave it up to you to arrange, it's still important that you've called them up to get their advice on what they may or may not cover, and also so that they can assist you in finding an accredited tower near your location so you can be reimbursed.

Most insurers do not provide a distance limit on towing, but do specify that they will only take you as far as the nearest repairer they approve or secure place of storage, like your house. But once again, make sure to check your policy details. For example, Suncorp will only cover you for a single tow, even if your vehicle doesn't end up at a repairer.

Does roadside assistance cover towing?

Yes, in some circumstances. If you obtain roadside assistance, whether it's from your insurer or a dedicated roadside assistance provider, towing should be included as part of the service.

However, unlike towing provided after an incident on an insurance policy, free towing as part of roadside assistance is usually subject to a couple of restrictions:

  • Distance limits. Budget Direct's roadside assistance will only tow your vehicle for free up to 15km in a metropolitan area or 50km in a country area. Standalone roadside assistance from RAC offers free towing anywhere from 10km to 300km, depending on whether you're in a metro or country area and which tier you sign up to.
  • Size limits. Your vehicle has to be under a certain weight and height, usually less than about 3.5-4 tonnes and no more than 3 or so metres high.

Whether roadside assistance is worth it depends on how likely you think your car is to face routine mechanical issues, since it won't help with a tow in the event of an accident or fire – you'll need car insurance to be covered for that. Also, roadside assistance tends to have a limited service area. While you might be covered for accidents Australia-wide, you simply may not be able to get roadside assistance in some parts of the country.

Picture: GettyImages

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site