The High Cost of Towing

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are approximately 16 million auto crashes in the United States each year. Of those nearly 11 million require a vehicle to be transported away by a tow truck. The average crash related towing and storage fee was $412 in 2010.

That translates into a $4.5 BILLION towing and storage fee industry.

A Few Bad Apples

While the vast majority of tow companies are believed to operate honestly and with integrity, there are some that have abusive business practices. One such tactic involves failing to provide prompt notice to vehicle owners that a vehicle has been towed and where it is being stored. Another tactic involves requiring a vehicle owner to provide elaborate documentation to access or retrieve a vehicle, often running the bill higher than it should be.

In addition, some tow companies and/or storage yards charge what is called “unbundled fees”. It is an additional fee for administration, cleaning, helpers, mileage, fuel, labor, winching, dolly, extra hook-up and more. These extra fees are often included into the larger number without any sort of itemization. The average consumer does not know they can ask for an intemization.

Cities with Aggressive Tow Practices

The cities gauged by one online source as having the most aggressive towing practices include: Houston, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.

The five states considered to have the most aggressive towing practices are California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania.

Drivers cite the following most common towing related problems:
1) artificially high storage and towing charges and fees.
2) A release process that is difficult or inconsistent
3) Towing companies with poor customer communication
4) Not allowing immediate access to vehicle owners and/or insurance adjusters

Insurance companies have long complained about the business practices of some towing companies. Complaints include an inability to challenge towing or storage fees, vehicle owners and insurance adjusters have no leverage in a towing situation due to 1) towing costs that continue to accrue and grow larger with each passing day and 2) an attitude of take it or leave it (as far the billing goes) from these towing and storage facilities.

Vehicle owners are often faced with a storage facility that limits an owners access to their vehicle to retrieve personal belongings.

Mesa, Arizona Towing Scam – 5 People Arrested

Mesa police began an investigation in 2010 after numerous complaints surfaced about a towing company called SWAT Towing/Auto City Towing. The investigation culminated in 5 arrests in December 2012. The charges include: legally parked cars getting towed illegally, not responding to vehicle owner requests to retrieve their vehicle even when customers tried paying their bills, and selling vehicles they had no right. Charges include various fraud-related charges, including the participation in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, auto theft, forgery and illegal control of an enterprise. Detectives believe hundreds of victims may have been hurt by this scheme.

According to one news report, the following are allegedly true stories:

An Iowa vehicle was towed 7 miles and received a bill for $892
Virginia towing company added $350 in admin fees for simply mailing letters to vehicle owners
A Washington DC storage facility added $400 per day fees for large vehicles
A Chicago towing company billed an owner $915 following a minor accident plus added $100 storage fees.

There is a movement afoot to add some regulatory actions that would force towing companies to communicate with vehicles owners within a certain time period, to add transparency to their billing to reduce improper billing schemes, eliminate storage fees for days the facility is not open and owners have no ability to retrieve their vehicle, and the elimination of phantom fees like charge a vehicle owner for the right to retrieve personal belongings from their vehicle or moving the vehicle from one location to the other within the same facility.

Tips for Buying Auto Insurance

We recommend the following when you are searching for new auto insurance rates.

Profile Matters

Remember that insurance carriers all have a perfect client in mind. Insurance companies do not want to be all things to all people (for the most part). They know a certain client is profitable and other clients are not. For example, a married couple with great credit who drive boring vehicles may be an ideal client. They are mature, with driving experience and the good credit shows they pay their bills on time. Another client may be a single male who drives a sporty BMW. This person may drive later at night by virtue of their age and marital status. Statistics show a person who driver later in the evening is more likely to have accidents or speeding tickets. Each client has insurance carriers that cater to them and an insurance broker can help you find the right carrier for you at the best price. As your insurance broker we can help place you with a carrier that fits your profile.

Deductibles

On my personal vehicles we do not have the identical deductibles on all vehicles. Some vehicles may show very little premium increase when you go from a 1000 deductible to 500. Other vehicles may show a significant decrease when you go from 500 deductibles to 1000. Have your agent play around with the deductibles to see where the best value is for your policy. It might make sense to have 1000 deductible on one vehicle and 250 deductible on another, if the premium difference is insignificant.

Uninsured Motorist & Underinsured Motorist

These optional coverage are worth considering. Statistically, there are about 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 drivers who have no insurance. That means if an uninsured driver hits you there would be no coverage for injuries to you or passengers. Adding these two addtional, optional items does not usually add alot of premium to your bottom line.

Remember Renewal Time

Just because you currently do not have glass coverage, towing, medical or car rental does not mean you should not talk with your agent about these items at each renewal. Often times clients think they have these items but do not because they purchased insurance with the intention of adding these coverage later. Let your renewal notice be the time when you place a call to your agent to talk about what your policy has or does not have, and what you may want to add or subtract from your coverage.

Pay Less for your Auto Insurance

Do you want to pay LESS for your Arizona auto insurance?

Choice Insurance of Arizona is an Arizona auto insurance broker! An Arizona auto insurance broker simply means we can shop your auto insurance with many different insurance carriers to help you find low rates on your Arizona auto insurance.

An insurance broker shops and compares auto insurance with many carriers to help you find low rates. We are not locked into just one carrier, as so many other insurance agents and companies. If you want to pay LESS, let an Arizona auto insurance broker help you compare rates.

If you have never tried buying insurance from an Arizona auto insurance broker before it is perhaps the easiest and most efficient way to buy insurance. You make one phone call and we do the rest. Our goal is to make your insurance-buying experience a positive one.

Save Money

We compare your Arizona auto insurance with top ranked and leading carriers, such as Progressive, MetLfe, Travelers, AAA, The Hartford, Badger Mutual, Infinity, Mapfre and many others. Our goal is to save you money but also to ensure you are protected by a top rated company. We have helped some clients save a few hundred dollars per year while other clients have saved substantially more.

You do not pay extra with an Arizona auto insurance broker! Our service is free to the consumer since the insurance carrier compensates us. WE WORK FOR YOU! It does not matter to us which insurance carrier has the lowest rates – we will offer you the lowest rate we find.

Save Time

Why waste hours of your time making phone call after phone call? Let us do the auto insurance shopping for you? To do the insurance comparison we do you would have to dedicate an entire day to calling and getting quotes. Why waste your time? Let us do the shopping for you. We are automated and can compare rates with leading carriers quickly.

Old Fashioned Service

The world is fast paced and highly technical. Yet, we strive to provide you with old fashioned customer service. We actually answer our phone. Have you ever tried to call a national company and got the run-around from their phone prompts? It is tiresome. That’s why we believe in answering our phones and/or returning your call promptly.

If you ever receive our voice message we will call you back shortly. It simply means we are on the phone currently with another client. But we will not give you the run-around or spin your wheels with a frustrating voice message service.

Helpful Advice

We encourage you to ask us questions about your coverage. Just because your current or prior agent or company had placed certain coverage on your policy how do you know for certain those are the correct limits for you? Perhaps they are but we would certainly like to give you advice and councel if you are ok receiving it.

Our goal is to help you save money but also help ensure you are coverage correctly. What good is insurance if you do not have the right kind or right coverage? When you contact us be sure to ask us to explain each coverage item on your policy.

Referrals

The best recommendation you can give us is the referrals of your friends. Insurance is a competitive field and we try hard to out-service our competitors by giving great service and helping our clients save money. If happy with how hard we work for you, please tell your friends or ask them if ok if we contacted them for a free quote.

Please contact us today for a quote! There is no obligation. We guarantee you will either save money or we will not. It’s that simple. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks!
Gary Brown, Agent/Owner
(480) 659-0229