Illinois is worst state for aggressive towing practices, survey shows
Illinois is the worst state for aggressive towing practices, according to a survey of auto insurers commissioned by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Behind Illinois in the survey was Pennsylvania, followed by New York, New Jersey and California.
The survey also identified the worst U.S. cities for towing woes:
3. New York City.
While there are many honest, well-intentioned towing operators, a few bad players have created widespread problems, according to the association.
“Aggressive and unscrupulous towing companies can make the unpleasant experience of having an auto accident that much worse,” Bob Passmore, senior director of personal lines at the association, says in a news release. “Motorists and their insurers not only face confusing rules to reclaim their vehicles, but in some cases staggering bills. It is a no-win situation. These bills drive up out-of-pocket expenses for consumers and affect auto insurance costs that they pay.”
The survey found that the No. 1 towing issue American consumers face is skyrocketing and inconsistent fees associated with towing and storage. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says claims of inflated towing or car storage bills have risen 57 percent since 2009.
Among the real-life towing horror stories cited by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America were:
• In 2011, a Chicago woman was hit with a $915 towing bill after a minor traffic accident. The towing company then charged $100 a day for storage and wouldn’t release the vehicle without an in-person cash payment from the vehicle’s owner.
• A vehicle in Iowa was towed seven miles and the insurer’s bill was $892 — without any storage time.
• A storage facility in Washington, D.C., charged an insurer $400 a day for large vehicles.