What is towing and labor cost coverage?
Last updated: November 2023
The last thing you want to do when you’re stranded on the road is panic about how expensive the breakdown might be. That’s where a common add-on to your auto insurance policy can help.
Towing and labor cost coverage is an optional coverage you can add to your car insurance that typically protects you against some of the costs and hassles associated with common roadside breakdowns. This can include things like dead batteries, flat tires or even lockouts. Be sure to ask your insurance provider about this coverage, as some may automatically include this within their policies.
What does towing and labor cost coverage include?
The exact services offered by this type of coverage will vary by insurer, but they may include the following:
- Tire changes
- Jump starts
- Lockout assistance
- Gas or oil delivery
The "labor cost" part of this coverage generally refers to labor charges you may incur at the scene of the breakdown to get your vehicle up and running. This coverage, however, doesn't typically cover the cost of any needed parts. It may cover the fee for changing your tire, for instance, but not the cost of the new tire itself.
Talk to your insurance provider to understand exactly what is and is not covered.
Isn't a tow covered by my auto insurance?
There are some instances when another portion of your car insurance might kick in to cover the cost of a tow. For instance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), if you hit an animal and require a tow, the cost of towing is typically covered as part of the claim as long as you have comprehensive insurance (another coverage option).
When would I use this coverage?
Towing and labor cost coverage would be used in a variety of situations that are not covered by other coverages on your policy. For example, if you are stuck in the snow, find your battery is drained, or realize you have run out of oil, this coverage may kick in.
What else should I consider?
Your insurance provider can dive into greater detail, but here are a few additional points to consider:
- Some insurers require comprehensive and/or collision coverage before they'll add this coverage to your policy.
- As with most insurance coverages, you'll find there are limits, whether it's a cap on the cost of each incident or a limit on the number of claims you can file each year.
- Coverage typically only applies to the car your insurance company insures; it doesn't follow you, for instance, when you get behind the wheel of a friend's car.
Of course, nothing beats regular car maintenance and seasonal driving precautions to make sure you don't end up stranded along the side of the road in the first place. However, it can offer comfort to know that if you purchase this coverage, you may be eligible for reimbursement for expenses incurred when you are in need of help.