Towing your car from the scene of an accident is never good. But if your car needs to be towed, you must inform your insurer and they must agree to the tow.

If you don’t and the tow operator takes your car, you may become responsible for towing charges.

The National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 specifies in Section 61(3) that “…no person must remove a vehicle involved in an accident without the permission of the owner, driver, operator or a person who will take lawfully responsibility of that car, unless he or she does so to allow the traffic to pass.”

Mpumelo Tyikwe, managing director for Alexander Forbes Insurance, gave advice for when you need to get your car towed.

– Contact your insurer’s afterhours call centre before you agree to be towed anywhere.

– Follow the process your insurer gives you. Your insurer may tell you something completely different from what you heard from the tow truck driver. And if you do not follow your insurer’s steps, you may be agreeing to an unauthorised tow.

) Also ask your insurer if they cover tow charges.

– If possible, only give your permission to a tow operator who was sent by your insurer.

– Otherwise only use a tow operator who is a member of the South African Towing and Recovery Association or United Towing Association of South Africa as these members agree to follow rules and ethics.

– Ask exactly how much it will cost to tow and store your vehicle.

– Insist that your vehicle is towed to the nearest repairer approved by your insurer.

– If the accident or breakdown happens after hours and your home is nearby, insist it is towed directly to your home.

– Remove ALL valuables from your vehicle before it is towed.

– Do NOT sign anything until you have read the document very carefully – and that includes all the fine print.


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