Don’t Let Your Vehicle Get Taken for a Ride
Getting into a vehicular accident is already stressful that leaves emotions high and drivers disoriented. While the tow truck operator may appear to be a knight in shining armour, their intentions may not be as noble as they appear.
If you are fortunate, a reputable tow truck operator will be in the vicinity and charge a reasonable rate to get you and your vehicle where you want it to go. However, many Ontarians are finding themselves at the mercy of dishonourable operators who hold your vehicle hostage until you pay an exorbitant ransom- they call a fee. The highways seem to have a seedy underbelly, with padded bills, under-the-table referrals, and city border evasions to barbed wire impound.
Since the tow truck operators are often the first to arrive at the scene, it is important to be armed with ways to protect yourself so you and your vehicle aren’t taken for a ride. Read on for some helpful tips to be cognisant of.
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Do not allow just any tow truck to hook up your vehicle without your consent. Your Insurance Provider should have an emergency claims hotline that is readily available to arrange a tow with one of their preferred operators. Give them a call immediately and let their professionals sort out the details.
2. Tow to a Collision Reporting Centre (CRC)
If your Insurance Provider does not have an emergency claims hotline and you are not a member of a reputable roadside assistance program, ensure your vehicle is to be towed to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre. Confirm this before they hook your vehicle up. The directory for all centres in Ontario can be found HERE.
3. Last Resort
If the two tips listed above are not options, request your vehicle be towed to your home where possible. Most insurance companies will pay for the second tow to a repair facility of your choosing. However, it is wise to confirm this with your personal Lawrie Insurance Group Broker beforehand. Call us today to discuss what is available to you.
4. Know Your Rights!
The Ontario Government has taken notice of these highway bandits and made some clear-cut amendments to the Towing & Storage Safety & Enforcement Act that will come into force July 1, 2023.
Noteworthy amendments are:
i) All operators must hold a tow certificate in order to provide services.
ii) Tow and storage operators must get permission from you, or someone acting on your behalf, before towing or storing your vehicle.
iii) The vehicle is to be towed to the location the service user specified.
iv) The towing company must provide an invoice before requesting payment, and offer credit card payment not just cash.
Full details of these regulations coming into force next summer can be found HERE.
However, it may be helpful to practice these expectations now; the reputable tow operators on the roads at this time will offer these services already and you have always had the right to choose your tow service provider.
Written by: Laura Ferri and Devon Bestard
*All the above information is a courtesy to our Lawrie Insurance Group customers. It should not be taken as a replacement for current information found on the Ontario Government website.
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