You are not obliged to have your vehicle towed just because a tow truck arrives at the scene. However, the police may require the vehicle to be towed if it is in the way of other motorists. A car should never be left where it may endanger road users.
Dealing with a tow truck driver
If a tow truck driver asks you to sign a contract before they will tow your car, read it carefully and do not sign if you do not agree with all the terms and conditions. Some contracts may limit your options by binding you to a specific smash repairer. In some cases, consumers have reported difficulty getting their car back because the smash repairer has refused to release it until they receive payment for any work done. For more information about contracts, view our Contracts page.
Getting your car towed to your home
If you want your car to be towed to your home, ask the driver to do this before you sign the contract. If they refuse, make arrangements to have your car towed by someone else. By having your car delivered to your home, you give yourself time to check your insurance details to see what you are covered for, and to shop around for a repairer that suits your needs and budget. You also avoid storage charges, which apply if your car is towed to the towing operator's premises.
Getting your car towed to your preferred repairer
If you have a preferred repairer, you can ask the towing operator to tow your car directly to that repairer.
If you ask the driver to take your car to your home or preferred repairer, but they take it somewhere else instead, this may be a breach of the contract. Under the Australian Consumer Law, a service must be fit for the purpose you have specified. For more information, view Consumer guarantees section.
Getting your car towed to the tow truck operator's premises
If your car is taken to the towing operator's premises, they are legally required to provide secure storage for it. Although storage charges are minimal, you should contact your insurer or repairer as soon as possible to avoid those costs accumulating. Some insurer will pay for storage.
Tell the towing operator that your car must not be repaired without authorisation from you or your insurance company. You are not liable to pay for any repairs that you have not authorised. For more information, view our Unsolicited supplies page.
If you are insured, read your product disclosure statement carefully. Not all insurance policies are the same; always familiarise yourself with the insurance product you are purchasing, or have purchased.