How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car?

The cost to tow a vehicle is usually between $75 and $125, depending mostly on how far your car needs to be towed.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The average tow truck bill is between $75 and $125, depending on a number of factors. These factors include the type and size of the vehicle being towed, the day of the week, the time of the day, the towing distance, and the amount of work needed to get the vehicle onto the truck.
Having to call a tow truck is never a desirable situation, and it’s hard not to worry about what sort of bill to expect from your driver. Every company has different systems for calculating pricing, but we hope this article will give you a better idea of what to expect so you don’t get ripped off.
Fortunately, you may not even have to worry about this cost, as many
car insurance
plans will cover the
cost of towing and labor coverage
. And with
, the car insurance comparison shopping app, you’ll be able to find the best price and best plan for you, so you won’t have to worry about your wallet when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Average towing costs

If you find yourself in a common towing situation, you should expect to pay somewhere between $75 and $125. Since that’s a fairly wide range, let’s look closer so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when fate finally comes to call.
The average national price for a tow is $109, but you should only estimate based on this number if you know your tow distance will be about 5 miles or less. That’s because the average tow distance in America is less than 5 miles. Prices still vary greatly in this range because charges per mile can range anywhere between $2.50 and $7.00 depending on the company.
If you’re towing further than 5 miles, you should expect to pay at least $125, and anything more than 40 miles could range from $275 to $600.

What impacts towing costs?

The first charge on your tow bill is likely to be a hook-up fee. If the hook-up is particularly complicated and takes the driver extra time or labor, this could impact the amount you’re charged for the hook-up. The hook-up fee could also be affected by the reason for the tow. If you’re being towed from the scene of an accident, the price could be higher than if you’re just broken down on the side of the road.
The size of your vehicle may also impact your towing cost. Heavier vehicles require more power to haul, so they often have higher towing charges.
As we already saw, the towing distance is one of the major determining factors in predicting your towing cost. While prices per mile will vary from company to company, you should always expect to pay more for your tow if you’re not likely to be close to the nearest mechanic.
The time of day, day of the week, and holidays could all impact the price of your tow. Many companies will adjust their prices to be slightly higher at night or on weekends or holidays. This should be something to consider when you find yourself calling for a driver.
Keep in mind that it is also often customary to
tip your tow truck driver
Key Takeaway Consider hook-up fees, the size of your vehicle, the towing distance, and the day and time when predicting the price of towing services.

Why you might need a tow and how to avoid it

Your car won’t start

The most common reason your car won’t start is a
dead battery
. But even if your battery is dead, it may still be able to hold a charge, so you can likely recharge it. Keeping a pair of jumper cables or a portable battery handy in your trunk is a great way to ensure you can jump-start your car if you accidentally drain your battery. 
Trying to jump your car or charge your car’s battery should always come before calling a tow truck if your car isn’t starting.
If your car’s battery isn’t holding a charge, you’ll likely need to call a tow truck. Other common problems that might prevent a car’s engine from turning over are a bad starter or an engine problem. These problems will likely need the attention of a mechanic, and you may need to call for a tow if you don’t have access to
roadside assistance

Your car broke down on the side of the road

Unfortunately, if you find yourself
broken down on the side of the road
, you’re probably going to have to call a tow truck. However, it is possible to consistently avoid roadside breakdowns by keeping up with your
car maintenance
, since the majority of breakdowns are caused by poor upkeep.

Your car is undrivable after an accident

Anyone who’s been in a car collision knows that some accidents simply can’t be avoided. The day may very well eventually come when you have no choice but to tow your car away from the scene of an accident.
Key Takeaway Most of the best ways to avoid needing to call a tow truck boil down to preparedness. If you know what to expect even in the worst of situations and are well prepared, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Will my insurance pay for a tow?

Your insurance plan may include a service called towing and labor, sometimes called roadside assistance. These services might provide or pay for towing services when you find yourself stranded.
You should be wary if you’re not quite sure how your policy’s roadside assistance service works.  Some insurance companies only allow you to claim for towing and labor or call for roadside assistance a limited number of times—usually three. In some cases, calling for roadside assistance could even affect your premium.
A better option could be to go with an alternative roadside assistance provider such as
. These companies function separately from your insurance company and are often very reliable, especially in metropolitan areas.

How to find affordable car insurance

Unfortunately, sifting through the different options between insurance companies and alternative roadside assistance providers can be incredibly taxing.
, the
licensed broker
and comparison shopping app, can provide you with customized insurance quotes from 50+ top providers, so you can set yourself up with the towing and labor coverage you’re looking for for the best price.
blew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R.
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