Here’s how you can protect yourself against predatory towing and high bills

(WXYZ) – The exorbitant towing bill a woman received after a massive pile-up on I-696 has made national headlines. Now we’re looking at how you can protect yourself against predatory towing and what you should ask your insurance agent if it happens.

Kellie Rockwell said whiteout conditions made visibility impossible and cars crashed into each other.

“The trailer driver approached our car and asked if we wanted him to take us out. And we said yes because we assumed he was with the police,” Rockwell said.

Related: $9,000 tow bill prompts calls for tougher predatory towing laws in Michigan

But Michigan State Police said that was not the case. After Rockwell spoke with 7 Investigator Ross Jones, his insurance told him the company had reduced the bill to $2,500.

But, when it comes to towing, whether you’re in an accident or not, don’t assume it’s covered by your car insurance.

“Do most regular insurance plans cover towing costs after an accident?” I asked Dan Schrock, who is with AAA – The Auto Club Group – in Dearborn.

Related: “He is being held for ransom.” Driver stuck in I-696 pileup hit with $9,000 tow bill

“Only if you have Comprehensive, COMP and Collision coverage. Generally speaking, towing will not be on the insurance policy unless you pay extra,” Schrock said.

Some people choose to pay for roadside assistance in addition to their insurance. AAA offers it for $56 per year.

“If you pay for this subscription every year, and you get into a pileup like this, and you have to be towed, do you get a bill?” I asked.

“No, no. You can go, you can call us. You can access your Triple-A application, and we’ll call you with a verified, certified person that we’ve approved to come and take care of it,” he said. -he declares.

If the police have ever called a towing company, that’s your choice.

Complaints about outrageous towing charges are nothing new. Do you remember the floods last June? Some drivers who had to abandon their cars were hit with towing charges of $500 to $700.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel even issued a consumer alert about illegal towing and unreasonable charges.

If you wish to dispute whether your vehicle was properly towed or your bill, including storage charges, you must file a motion for a hearing in the appropriate district court, whichever has jurisdiction over the tow location.

Don’t drag your feet. You must file within 20 days from the date on the notice that your vehicle was towed as abandoned. If the court finds the vehicle was improperly towed, the AG’s office said you will be reimbursed for towing and storage costs, and your abandoned vehicle will be returned.

After an accident, if the police conducted the tow that you later want to dispute, you can file a complaint with the local police agency who may take action against that towing company if it violates a contract with the police.

You can also file a complaint with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division.

To file a complaint with the Attorney General or obtain additional information, contact:

Consumer Protection Division
Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-335-7599
Fax: 517-241-3771
Online complaint form:

https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx

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