Tips For Choosing Trustworthy Towing and Repair Services

No matter how much you try to avoid trouble on the road, there may come a time when you’ll have to rely on the help of a tow truck. There are loads of reliable services out there, but sadly there are also some tow truck companies and body shops that take advantage of drivers in vulnerable situations. Here are some tips and things to look out for when choosing a tow truck/body shop.

You can also view this article summarized in an infographic.

What To Know Before You Tow

When it comes to having your car towed or serviced, confidence is key. Before you hand over your keys, here are some things to consider:

  • Is roadside assistance included in my insurance policy? If your coverage includes a towing service, use it. However, make sure you know the limits and exclusions of your policy. You can get instant access to the details of your policy by using the TD Insurance Mobile App, logging into MyInsurance or by calling us at 1-866-454-8910 for more information.
  • How much will it cost for your tow? Don’t let a tow truck driver take your car until you get the necessary information to make an informed decision. Ask for a quote and be wary of tow truck drivers that shy away from giving you a straight answer.
  • What are your towing options? You can have your car towed to a TD Insurance Auto Centre or to a trusted body shop. Download our mobile app to find a TD Insurance Auto Centre or preferred vendors near you with the Locator Tool. If you’re taking your car to another body shop, do your research to make sure you’re taking it to a reputable shop. Reviews and recommendations from friends or family can go a long way in finding a shop you can trust.
  • What is the tow truck driver asking me? Be cautious if the driver or shop is asking for a lot of personal information. Don’t give out any personal details that you wouldn’t normally give a business.

You’re In Control

Remember: When it comes to your tow, you’re in control. As a customer of a towing service, you have rights designed to protect you. You can:

  • choose who will tow your car
  • decide where your car will be towed - we've made it easy for you to find a body shop near you by using the Locator Tool in the TD Insurance Mobile App
  • ask for an invoice with itemized pricing
  • receive a copy of the towing authorization form
  • you can request to see a valid towing permit and company identification
  • you have the right to refuse a tow for any reason.

You’re allowed to make your own choices. Be sure to review any documents before signing. You can ask for information and refuse services if you feel uncomfortable.

Ask Before You Act

The best way to get an answer is to ask a question. If you’re feeling uncertain about your tow or simply just want to know more, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Here are a few things to consider:

  •   Where are you taking my car?
  •   How long have you been in business?
  •   Can I see a valid towing permit and company identification?

If you’re dealing with a trustworthy company, they’ll be happy to provide that information. If a company appears to be acting suspiciously or refusing to answer your questions, that might be a red flag.

Don’t get taken advantage of when hiring a tow truck service

Most companies won’t try to take advantage of you. But it’s a good idea to be ready just in case. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Using creative tactics to increase the bill beyond your policy, which adds to your bill and forces you to pay out of pocket (Reminder: You can use the TD Insurance Mobile App to see the details of your policy whenever you choose)
  • Charging excessive daily storage rates so the towing firm, body shop and impound lot all profit
  • Charging more than the agreed upon price to regain access to your car.

To help avoid these scenarios, you can ask for an itemized invoice to be clear on what you're being charged for.

Don’t get taken advantage of when hiring a body shop

When your car heads to the body shop for repairs, there’s a possibility they could try to take advantage of you. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

  • After the initial inspection, the mechanic suggests the issue is worse than anticipated and increases the amount of damage
  • Claiming fluids from cooling systems, transmissions or other parts of the system need to be flushed (fluids should typically only be flushed every 35,000 miles, or as often as is recommended in your car owner’s manual)
  • Finding a “leak” in the engine
  • Installing used parts but charging for new ones

You can always get the opinion of a professional appraiser to feel confident about any repairs needed related to the accident. Plus, you can ask for parts invoices to confirm what's been installed.

How To Choose The Right Body Shop

Finding the right body shop to fit your needs can sometimes be half the battle. We have some easy-to-follow tips for finding a shop you can trust:

  1. Use the TD Insurance Mobile App to find a TD Insurance Auto Centre, where there are Certified Repair Technicians, rental services and claims advisors in one location.
  2. Use shops recommended by TD Insurance so your repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own the car and remain insured with us. You can use the TD Insurance Mobile App to find a TD Insurance Auto Centre and our preferred vendors near you with the Locator Tool.
  3. Ask for a referral from someone you trust.
  4. Read online ratings & reviews.

Know Your Rights

Just like with tow truck services, you have rights as a body shop customer. Before you get any work done by a repair service, keep this information in mind:

  •  The body shop must give a written estimate, or you must agree on a maximum amount you’re willing to pay, before they start the repairs.
  •  Body shops can't increase the final cost of the quoted price by more than 10% without your written consent.
  • If a repair shop charges for an estimate, they have to tell you in advance how much they will charge.
  • You are protected under the Consumer Protection Act.

Get The Answers You Need

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a body shop:

  • What is the payment policy for the repairs being done on my car?
  • Is there a written contract provided for all repair work?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer with your repair work? For example, TD Insurance Auto Centres can offer a lifetime guarantee for your repairs, for as long as you own your car and remain insured with us.

If a body shop tries to avoid answering these questions or tries giving you the runaround, it may not be a trustworthy place to bring your business. A reputable body shop will be able to answer these questions and provide written documentation to back it up.

What Should I Do If I Think I’ve Been Taken Advantage Of?

If you think you’ve been taken advantage of, we’re here to help you. You can contact us by using the TD Insurance Mobile App or calling us at 1-888-773-7022. We’ll work with you to find a solution and document your encounter with the body shop, so you can feel confident everything is being taken care of. It’s just another way we’re with you through the entire claims experience.

View this article summarized in an infographic.