How to prevent rear-end collisions and save on tow truck insurance

We’ve all passed accidents on the side of the road where a car has rear-ended the car in front of them. Smooshed hood, squashed back bumper. But if you’re driving a tow truck, rear-end collisions are often pretty serious.

And rear-end collisions also have had a major effect on tow truck insurance rates.


We’ll explain the prevalence of rear-end accidents, why they can affect the price of tow truck insurance, and steps you and your drivers can take to prevent rear-end collisions.

To start, we’re going to look at some numbers.

The numbers about rear-end collisions

Tow Times recently ran an article that included some troubling stats about rear-end accidents in trucking.

Check it out:

  • There are 400,000 accidents involving trucks annually
  • 18% of those 400,000 are rear-end crashes (that’s 72,000)
  • 40% of rear-end collisions occur at intersections

So, with those numbers in mind, it’s not difficult to see why it’s important to take steps to prevent this kind of accident. Things happen so fast on the road that some accidents are out of our control, but for the most part, rear-end crashes are considered to be preventable.

We’ll explain how you can prevent them later. First, we’re going to look at the effects of accidents (rear-end accidents included) on tow truck insurance.

Tow truck insurance rates on the rise

We’ve talked before about why tow truck insurance rates are going up. Insurance companies have been backing away from covering tow truck businesses because they see them as being too risky.

Here’s the deal:

Towing is a dangerous business. Along with the inherent risk of being a tow truck driver, there are a few costs that tow truck companies are worried about.

1. Increasing litigation costs:

If you’re driving a big, formidable tow truck or wrecker, your vehicle can cause some pretty major damage if you hit a passenger car. When you rear-end a vehicle, the driver and passengers of the other car could be injured because chances are they were slowing down or stopped.

Now. The costs of bodily injury liability litigation (legal proceedings) have been going up. And that means that a potential claim to the insurance company would be much higher…which is why many carriers are leaving the towing game. Those that are left are raising rates to offset the risks.

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2. Costs of property damage

If you cause an accident (like if you rear-end someone) you’re legally obligated to pay for the cost of repairing or replacing the other driver’s car. That’s another cost that your insurance company would have to pay out.

3. Repairing or replacing your tow truck or wrecker

An accident likely means that you’re going to have to get your truck fixed. And those expenses are not cheap. Getting new parts and paying for labor adds up.

Why do we talk about all of this?

The point is that it’s crucial for your business to be committed to safety and avoiding accidents. You want to present as low a risk as possible to an insurance company. “Riskier” businesses – those with speeding tickets or accidents – are seen as being more likely to file a claim, and that means they face higher insurance rates. By improving safety at your towing business, you can save money on your tow truck or wrecker insurance.

But now the question is, how do you prevent rear-end collisions?

Like this.

Tips to prevent a rear-end collision

1. Increase your following distance.

One way to prevent a rear-end collision is to maintain a safe following distance. Tow trucks are not small vehicles that can stop quickly. If you’re too close to the car in front of you, you won’t have enough time to react and slow down if they have to brake or stop suddenly. You could go careening into them, and that’s not good.

2. Don’t speed.

The faster you’re going, the more time it takes for your tow truck to come to a halt. Which means you don’t have as much time to reach if you have to stop.

Let’s illustrate.

It takes about three-quarters of a second for your foot to get the message to hit the brake after your brain sees a hazard. At 55 mph, you would go about 61 feet in that three-quarters of a second. At 65 mph, you’d go about 72 feet. And that eleven feet could keep you from hitting the car in front of you.

3. Don’t drive distracted.

There are many reasons why you should not text and drive. When you’re texting, you’re not paying attention to the road. The odds of being in an accident go up significantly because your reaction time is not what it should be.

4. Be a defensive driver.

Being a defensive driver means constantly scanning for hazards and being prepared to react to them.

It’s easy as this:

Look for the danger. Make a plan to avoid or minimize the danger. Act on it.

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So, that’s why rear-end collisions are so important to your tow truck insurance rates. Take steps to avoid rear-end collisions and you can keep your insurance rates down.

Speaking of tow truck insurance rates, we can help you save money by shopping around for the best coverage at the best rate. Our agents are tow truck insurance professionals, and we understand what risks you face and the coverages you need. To get tow truck insurance quotes, all you have to do is fill out our form or give us a call.


Jackson, Tim. “Frequency and Litigation Costs of Rear-end

Collisions.” Tow Times, Feb. 2018, p. 6.