Tow companies determine service rates based on many factors, such as the type of vehicle, distance of the tow, vehicle location, required services and time of day. Rates vary from company to company and usually consist of a base rate and additional charges. Most companies provide price estimates prior to service.
Standard towing services usually cost a flat service fee and additional fees based on the distance of the tow. Most companies do not include distance costs for local or short distance tows, usually five miles or less. Some areas place limits on tow per-mile charges to avoid incurring high fees on long-distance tows. In addition, tow companies often charge more for towing on weekends, holidays and nights.
Some companies charge between 20 and 25 percent more than the base rate and additional costs when towing larger vehicles and trucks. The actual location of the vehicle also contributes to total cost. If a vehicle is stuck in rough terrain or a hard-to-reach area, fees are usually added for the cost of additional labor. Companies typically charge hourly rates for towing vehicles that are stuck.
Most insurance companies include towing and roadside assistance services in car insurance policies. Some car insurance policies add extra fees for roadside assistance. Auto club memberships, such as AAA, can also include roadside assistance and tow services as a membership benefit.