What do I do if an at-fault driver’s insurance companyis tryingto reduce my claim by towing company fees that were incurred?

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What do I do if an at-fault driver’s insurance companyis tryingto reduce my claim by towing company fees that were incurred?

My daughter was in an accident and the other driver was at fault. We had liability on her car. The car was not drivable from the scene so the policeman called a wrecker service and had the car towed. The wrecker service stored the car in their lot pending the adjuster assessing the damage. The insurance company is not saying that I am responsible for a portion of the tow bill and that they are reducing my claim by the amount they feel I am responsible for. I don’t feel that I should be responsible for any cost charged by the towing company.

Asked on August 25, 2011 Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may indeed be responsible if it is your insurer you are talking about. The car had to be towed--it would have been a public safety hazard, the police ordered it, etc. Since the car belonged to you, you are responsible for the cost. If you did not have towing coverage on the car, if your insurer nonetheless paid, they may be able to offset the amount they paid--but did not have to--against what they would otherwise owe you under your collision insurnace. If you did have towing coverage, though, you should be covered as per its terms. Check your policy whenever dealing with your own insurer, to see what is and is not covered.

On the other hand, the at-fault driver's insurer should not be able to offset the cost of towing vs. what they would pay you, since the at-fault driver (and therefore his insurer) is responsible for all the costs and damages arising out of the accident, which would include not just property damage to the car, but towing, rental of a replacement car, etc. If it's the other side's insurer you are talking about, therefore, they should have to pay you...but if the don't do it voluntarily, you will need to sue for the money.


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