Check with BBB before choosing a towing company

By John North

There’re roughly 220 million drivers in the U.S. Many have required the assistance of a towing company. Nobody ever plans on having a car breakdown, whether it’s an accident, a flat tire or simply running out of gas. Better Business Bureau offers tips to help you choose a reliable towing company.

To help cut towing costs, roadside assistance coverage helps drivers when their vehicles break down. It’s an option on almost every auto insurance policy. Generally, adding roadside assistance to your policy will get you: towing, battery service, flat tire service, fuel delivery, lockout service and extrication.

Over the last year, BBB recorded more than 450,000 inquiries and almost 3,100 complaints about towing companies in North America. Locally, almost 2,400 inquiries were made to the BBB about this industry.

When looking for a trustworthy towing company, BBB suggests you:

– Check with family and friends. If they’re happy with who they use, most likely you’ll be too.

– Call your insurance company. Ask if your insurance will cover it or if you need to pay upfront. Likewise, if you’re a member of an auto club, such as AAA, see what services are offered as part of your membership.

– Research the towing company. Consider its reputation and years of service.

– Don’t necessarily settle for the lowest price. Consider hook-up fees and price per mile.

– Check with the towing company on how far they’ll tow your vehicle.

– Choose a towing company which offers 24/7 service and roadside assistance.

– Make sure the dispatcher and other employees are knowledgeable, helpful and professional. Bad service over the phone will give you an indication of service you’ll be given on the road.

– Look for a tow operator who is clean and professional. Also, make sure the tow trucks are clean inside and out. This shows dedication to their work and services offered to customers.

– Make sure the company is licensed, bonded and insured as appropriate.

– Look for the BBB logo and/or seal on trucks and Web sites.

– Check online reviews including those on the BBB Web site.

– Inquire about certifications from local, government and state agencies granting them to tow at certain capacities. All tow truck drivers are required to be certified to perform routine maintenance.

-Remember to research the mechanic where your vehicle is being towed to be sure it’s reputable.

– Get all details, including price, services, guarantees and warranties in writing.

Remember, don’t assume all towing companies do the same work. Many of them specialize in car removal services and roadside assistance, while others are purely recovery and heavy transportation.

If you have any questions regarding towing companies, you can always get help from BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited towing companies and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Visit or call 937-222-5825 or 800- 776-5301.

By John North

John North is the President/CEO Better Business Bureau and guest columnist.

John North is the President/CEO Better Business Bureau and guest columnist.