What to do during an accident?
This article is a continuation to our previous article in the Accident 101 series that outlines the steps that you need to take if ever you are involved in a road accident. In this article, we will be focusing on how to deal with tow truck operators and tow truck scam.
Ever passed by a scene of an accident and noticed that there were more tow trucks present than the actual number of damaged cars? Or how quickly they arrive at the scene? I’m not sure how they pull it off either but I do know that they are very efficient, and based on personal experience, can be very pushy and persuasive.
There has been incidents where accident victims fell prey to tow truck operator scams. They did not only scammed thousands of ringgit from their victims but also threatened their lives. Don’t fall victim to these scams.
At the scene of the accident
If your car is badly damaged and had to be towed, you will need the help of a tow truck operator to:
1) Take your car the police station for investigation
2) Take your car from the police station to a panel workshop for repair
If you are unlucky, you will be approached by at least one tow truck operator telling you that they can take your car to a so and so workshop. May even convince you that the workshop is a panel workshop. Our advise is to not get into a negotiation or discussion with them unless you are certain that you want to engage them for their service. Below is how to best handle the situation:
Dealing with tow truck operators:
1. Tell them you will speak to your insurance agent/company. Do not give them any information about your insurer.
2. If your insurance agent/company is able to send one to the scene, find out the name of the tow truck operator and the truck’s registration’s number. And wait for him to arrive at the scene.
3. If not, try other solutions to find a trustworthy tow truck operator. We strongly advise against engaging the service of a random tow truck that shows up at the scene. Does your regular repair guy have a preferred tow truck operator to recommend? What about your friends? Are you a member of AAM?
4. Find out from your insurance agent/company which workshop you should send your car to, take down the name, address and phone number. Speak to the tow truck operator you have selected or sent by your insurance company about wanting to send your car to THAT specific workshop. Give him the address and phone number of the workshop. Insurance companies have specific workshops, known as “panel workshop” that you need to bring your vehicle to. If your car gets towed to a workshop that is not a panel workshop then the claim process will take extra long.
5. You will be given a document authorizing the operator to tow your vehicle. Before signing any document, make sure you read them carefully! Remember, some of these operators are not honest and may be out to scam you. Anything you sign will be legal binding so be extra thorough when you read these documents!
6. Make sure you take the call card (business card) of the tow truck driver, and please ensure that you have all necessary information such as his name, his mobile phone number, truck registration number, company name, address and phone number.
7. The tow truck must first take your car to a traffic police station where an officer will take pictures of all the cars involved for the purpose of investigation. At this time, you should be at the same police station to file your report.
8. Once the police has taken necessary pictures of your car (which may take a couple of hours or less), the tow truck driver may then take the car to your designated workshop (I.e. your insurance company’s panel workshop).
9. Make sure that you keep close communication with the driver at all times, so you are aware of the location of your car. It may be wise here to find a tow truck driver who speaks your language to ease with the communication.
We can not stress enough the importance of being extremely cautious when dealing with and engaging a tow truck operator. It is better to wait for an assigned one by your insurance company rather than appoint one yourself. Even if it means that you will have to wait longer than you would like to. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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