How does car insurance cover towing?

Car insurance covers towing if you're involved in an accident or other insured event.

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If you have a car insurance policy, you should be covered for towing at no extra cost if you're in an accident, but there can be limits on where or how far they'll take your car.

Who offers cover for towing?

ProviderWhat is towing included in?How is it covered?Limits
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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
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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
Coles car insurance

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
NRMA Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$0
Nationwide
From $9.99 per month. 24/7, nationwide coverage available.
Budget Direct Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$125
Nationwide
15% discount on first year's premium when you buy online and use the code SOLVED15. T&Cs apply.
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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 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, 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.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could 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 your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2021 Finder Awards for Best Car Insurance - Value in VIC, QLD, SA, WA and TAS, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats.

⭐ Current offer: Save 10% when you pay your premium annually. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

⭐ Current offer: Get a 15% COVID-19 temporary cashback on the monthly premium paid until 3 October 2021. Applies to all existing or new customers in NSW and VIC. Eligibility criteria, terms, and conditions apply.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
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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

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