If your vehicle needs to be towed following an accident or a breakdown, you should contact your insurance 24 hour help line. If you do not do that and you allow a tow operator to remove the vehicle, you may become responsible for charges that the insurer will not pay for
The National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 stipulates in Section 61(3) that “…no person shall remove a vehicle involved in an accident, except for the purpose of sufficiently allowing the passage of traffic, without the permission of the owner, driver or operator of such vehicle or a person who may lawfully take possession of such a vehicle.”
Mpumelo Tyikwe, MD of Alexander Forbes Insurance offers the following tips to keep in mind before you allow your car to be towed:
• Contact your insurance company immediately; follow the process they tell you too and find out if your insurance cover includes towing charges.
• Only give your permission to the tow operator sent by them
If you cannot follow the above steps and have to authorise the tow yourself:
• Only use a tow operator who is a member of SATRA (South African Towing and Recovery Association) or UTASA (United Towing Association of South Africa) as these members adhere to rules and ethics.
• Establish exactly how much it will cost to tow and store your vehicle.
• Insist that it is towed to the nearest repairer that is approved by your insurer
• If the accident or breakdown happens after hours and your home is nearby have it towed to your home rather than an impound yard
• Remove all valuables from your vehicle before it is towed.
• Do not sign anything until you have read the document very carefully including all the fine print.
Tyikwe emphasises the importance of knowing your rights and taking time to think clearly.
If your vehicle is blocking traffic it is important to move it.
“All insurance companies have an after hour call centre so contact your insurance before you agree to be towed anywhere,” concludes Tyikwe.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) October 28, 2016