Do you need auto insurance to be towed?
Does towing affect insurance? If you get towed because of a moving violation or accident at your fault, your insurance may change. Regardless, make sure you carry your states minimum requirement for insurance.
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UPDATED: Sep 2, 2022
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- You can have your car towed without car insurance
- If you are in an accident and do not have insurance, you may face severe penalties
- Certain car insurance companies offer roadside assistance plans that include towing options
If your car has ever stalled out on the side of the road, or if you’ve ever been in a car accident, you may have had to get your vehicle towed. Getting towed is not the end of the world, but it can be a hassle.
Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be able to utilize towing services without any additional fees. Without roadside assistance or similar insurance coverage for towing, you could pay a lot of money to get your car to the shop.
Do you need auto insurance to get towed?
You are not required to have car insurance to get your vehicle towed. In fact, most liability auto insurance policies do not include towing as a provided service. If you need a tow and don’t have insurance, your best bet may be to choose a car shop for your vehicle. Then, you can find the right towing company to help.
If your car needs repairs, you will want to have it towed to a local shop that can do the job. Depending on the extensive nature of the repairs, you may need to do a good bit of research before deciding where your car should go.
Once you’ve chosen a shop, call and ask a mechanic or other representative if they have any recommendations on towing services. Some shops will provide a free tow if you live close enough, while others may recommend a local towing company with competitive rates.
Most people who have a car towed without insurance coverage are typically towing a stored or classic car that needs some repairs and attention. However, if you are driving a car uninsured, you need to purchase car insurance immediately, regardless of whether you need a tow.
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What if I was in an accident without car insurance?
While you are not required to carry car insurance to have your car towed, you could face legal trouble if you get caught driving without auto insurance.
The following table shows the penalties in each state for driving uninsured.
States First Offense Penalties Second Offense Penalties
Alabama Fine: Up to $500; registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee Fine: Up to $1,000 and/or six-month license suspension; $400 reinstatement fee with four-month registration suspension
Alaska License suspension for 90 days License suspension for one year
Arizona Fine: $500 (or more); license/registration/license plate suspension for three months Fine: $750 (or more within 36 months); license/registration/license plate suspension for six months
Arkansas Fine: $50 to $250; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; the court may order impoundment Fine: $250 to $500 fine — minimum fine mandatory; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee. The court may order the car to be impounded
California Fine: $100-$200 plus penalty assessments. The court may order the car to be impounded Fine: $200-$500 within three years plus penalty assessments. The court may order the car to be impounded
Colorado Fine: $500 minimum fine; 4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. The courts may add up to 40 hours of community service $1,000 minimum fine, and a license suspension for four months, four points against your license. The courts may add up to 40 hours of community service
Connecticut Fine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee Fine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for six months (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
Delaware Fine: $1500 minimum fine; license/privilege suspension for six months Fine: $3000 minimum fine within three years; license/privilege suspension for six months
Florida Suspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for first reinstatement Suspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $250 fee for the second reinstatement
Georgia Suspended registration with a $25 lapse fee and a $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due Within five years: Suspended registration with a $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
Hawaii $500 fine or community service granted by a judge. Either license suspension for three months or a required non-refundable insurance policy in force for six months Fine: $1500 minimum fine within five years; either license suspension for one year or a required non-refundable insurance policy in force for six months
Idaho Fine: $75; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee. Fine: $1000 maximum fine within five years and/or no more than six months in jail; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
Illinois License plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof License plate suspension for four months; $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
Indiana License/registration suspension for 90 days to one year Within three years: license/registration suspension for one year
Iowa Fine: $500 if in an accident; Otherwise, fine: $250; community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled over N/A
Kansas Fine: $300 to $1000 and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100 Fine: $800 to $2500 within three years; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $300 if revoked within previous year, otherwise $100
Kentucky Fine: $500 to $1000 fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown Within five years: 180 days in jail and/or $1000 to $2500; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
Louisiana Fine: $500 to $1000; If in a car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 days N/A
Maine Fine: $100 to $500; suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance N/A
Maryland Lose license plates and vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for registration N/A
Massachusetts Fine: $500 to $5000 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less Within six years: License/driving privileges suspended for one year
Michigan Fine: $200 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of State N/A
Minnesota Fine: $200 to $1000 (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 months N/A
Mississippi Fine: $1000; driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insurance N/A
Missouri Four points against driving record; the driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement fee Four points against driving record; the driver may be supervised; suspended for 90 days with $200 reinstatement fee.
Montana Fine: $250 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days Fine: $350 and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days — within five years; license and registration revoked until proof of insurance and payment of reinstatement fees within 90 days
Nebraska License and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years Nevada Fine: $250 to $1,000 depending on the length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250 Fine: $500 to $1000 depending on the length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; Reinstatement fee: $500
New Hampshire Not a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an SR-22 Certificate of Insurance. N/A
New Jersey Fine: $300 to $1000; license suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per year Fine: up to $5000; two-year license suspension; 14-day, mandatory jail term, and an additional mandatory 30 days of community service
New Mexico Fine: up to $300 and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspension N/A
New York Fine: up to $1500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penalty; license and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of the license if without insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the vehicle was operated without insurance. N/A
North Carolina Fine: $50; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in a car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee Fine: $100 within three years; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in a car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North Dakota Fine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove this notation is $50. Fine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; license plates impounded until proof of insurance (provided for one year) plus $20 reinstatement fee; license with a notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50 and the fee to remove this notation is $50.
Ohio License/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met, and a $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in an accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied) License/plates/registration suspension for one year; $300 reinstatement fee; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three or five years; if involved in an accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
Oklahoma Fine: $250; jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If the car is impounded, the owner must also pay towing and storage fees. N/A
Oregon Fine: $130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine); If involved in an accident — at least a one-year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three years N/A
Pennsylvania Registration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and the vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month period N/A
Rhode Island Fine: $100 to $500; license and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50 Fine: $500; license and registration suspension up to six months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South Carolina Fine: $100-$200 or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee Fine: $200 and/or 30-day imprisonment — within 10 years; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South Dakota Fine: $100 and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from the date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in the suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver's license. N/A
Tennessee Pay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25 N/A
Texas Fine: $175 to $350 fine; plus, pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements) Fine: $350 to $1000; pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements); suspend the driver's license and vehicle registrations of the person unless the person files and maintains evidence of financial responsibility with the department until the second anniversary of the date of the subsequent conviction; Impoundment: for 180 days and cannot apply for a release of the car without evidence of financial responsibility and impoundment fee of $15/day.
Utah Fine: $400; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee Fine: $1000 — with three years; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
Vermont Fine: up to $500; license suspended until proof of insurance N/A
Virginia Fine: The driver may pay a $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paid N/A
Washington Fine: Up to $250 or more N/A
West Virginia Fine: $200 to $5000; license suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty fee Fine: $200-$5000 fine and/or 15 days to one year in jail — within five years; license suspended for 90 days and registration revoked until proof of insurance.
Wisconsin Fine: up to $500 N/A
Wyoming Fine: up to $750 fine and up to six months in jail N/A
As you can see, you could end up paying thousands of dollars and even spending time in jail if you get caught driving uninsured. Regardless of how much you drive, you need at least your state’s required amount of minimum liability coverage on your vehicle.
What are my options for having my vehicle towed?
If you were in a car accident and need a vehicle tow, you may find that the police officers on the scene will decide which towing service to utilize.
When having your car towed from home — whether for planned repairs or emergency services — you will want to call a towing company and ask about rates. Be sure you know where your vehicle will go and how many miles it is from your house to that location. If the rates with a towing company seem too high, don’t hesitate to call another company to compare.
If you’re nervous about having car trouble and ultimately needing a tow, you could look into a roadside assistance plan.
Plenty of companies offer roadside assistance options, and your current insurance company may have a roadside assistance plan that works well for you. If not, you can look into purchasing roadside assistance with one of the many options in your area.
Some of the most common companies that offer roadside assistance plans include:
- Better World Club
Roadside assistance plans with the companies listed above can cost anywhere from $20 to $800 a year. Be sure to read reviews about any roadside assistance plan you’re considering before purchasing.
Does towing affect insurance?
In most cases, having your car towed is unlikely to impact your insurance rates. Depending on your towing needs, your car insurance company may not even know that your vehicle got towed. The exception may be if you purchased a roadside assistance plan or another towing service provided through your car insurance company.
Having your car towed may affect your auto insurance rates if your car gets towed because of a moving violation that will go on your driving record, like a DUI. The violation would be what made your insurance rates increase.
Another way you might see an increase in car insurance rates is if you take advantage of towing services through your insurance company’s roadside assistance plan too frequently.
If you have roadside assistance and want to know more about whether your car insurance rates will increase when you use it, you should call your insurance company to speak with an agent.
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What’s the bottom line with towing a vehicle?
If you need to have your car towed, it can be a bit of a headache. As long as you carry your state’s minimum insurance requirements on any vehicle you drive, you don’t have to stress about getting into any trouble.
Anyone who worries about being stranded in their vehicle should consider purchasing a roadside assistance plan that includes towing and other options, such as battery replacement and lock-out services.
Before having your car towed, speak to the towing company and ask about the cost. If you find that the tow will be more expensive than you thought, you can call around and speak with representatives from other local companies to see if you could get a cheaper tow elsewhere.
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