Should you tip the tow truck driver?


While people are split about whether to tip for towing service, truck drivers always appreciate a tip, but they don’t expect them. You should only tip a tow truck driver if you feel motivated to do so.

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Written by
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Reviewed by
Farmers CSR for 4 Years
UPDATED: 2022-07-22T10:38:23.427Z
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  • Tipping tow truck drivers usually divides people, with some saying you should and others suggesting you skip it
  • Truck drivers will always appreciate a tip of $10 for good service
  • You can forgo worrying about tow service tipping by getting roadside assistance

Whether you agree with the practice or not, America has many services where workers depend on tips. Many service people go above and beyond in their jobs, hoping to earn tip money to supplement low hourly wages. From taxi drivers to hairstylists, knowing who you’re supposed to tip can get confusing.

It’s especially confusing in industries with no clear-cut answer about tipping. Most people know to tip their waiter or a valet, but do you tip tow truck drivers? The answer gets even more complicated if your tow is covered by insurance. Are you supposed to tip for a service you’re not directly paying for?

Everyone appreciates a tip after a well-done job, but tipping everyone gets expensive quickly. Luckily, there are guidelines for tipping tow truck drivers to help you determine how much to tip, if at all.

Read on to learn when you should tip the tow truck driver and how much to tip a tow truck driver. To understand car insurance, check out this guide. Then, compare car insurance quotes to find the best roadside assistance so your next tow is covered.

Do you tip tow truck drivers?

The basic answer is that you should only tip a tow truck driver if you feel moved to do so. While drivers appreciate tips, they don’t expect them.

Generally speaking, you should feel free to tip when a tow truck driver provides excellent service. You don’t have to worry about offending a driver by offering a tip — they’ll probably appreciate it.

So, why aren’t you expected to tip a tow truck driver? The main reason is that a driver’s regular wages are meant to be enough compensation for their work. Unlike restaurant waiters who are almost always underpaid and rely on your tip, getting extra money from you is a happy bonus for drivers.

Of course, your tow truck driver would love to be tipped even if they’re not expecting it. Tow drivers and other roadside assistance services offer skilled labor not everyone can perform, and a tip is a great way to show your appreciation.

So, how much should you offer a driver after a great tow? For a tow, $10 is a good tip, while $5 is enough for basic roadside assistance like a jump start.

When should you tip a tow truck driver?

Most tow companies tell customers they don’t need to tip their drivers, but you won’t often find a driver who turns a tip down. If you feel like your service warrants a tip, feel free to give one.

So, when is the best time to give a tow driver a tip? Consider tipping in these situations:

  • Your car is stuck in a dangerous spot, such as a busy highway or dark road.
  • You need a tow in bad weather or late at night.
  • The driver needs to travel a long distance to reach you.
  • It takes extra work to get to your car, like when it’s stuck in mud or ice.
  • The driver provides quick or friendly service.

As with most services, feel free to tip whenever you feel impressed.

However, what happens if your tow is included in a roadside assistance plan, such as one from AAA insurance? Most roadside assistance programs say you shouldn’t tip your driver, so you don’t need to feel obligated to tip. However, the same guidelines apply — if your driver gives you excellent service, consider giving them a tip.

How do you know how much to tip?

When you feel like you should give a tip, knowing how much to leave can be confusing. If you’re unsure how much to give, a general rule is to tip 10% of the total bill. However, some industries have different standards.

Industry How Much to Tip
Cab/taxi driver 10% of your drive (at least $2)
Barista Not required, but you can add to the tip jar
Bellhop $1 or $2 per bag
Hotel housekeeper $2 to $5 per day
Dog walker or groomer 15%
Furniture delivery $5 to $20, depending on the item. You can also offer cold drinks
Manicurist or spa worker 15%
Food delivery driver 10%
Bartender $1 per drink
Valet $5 to $10
Room service At least $5
Hairstylist 15% to 20%

With all that variety, it’s not difficult to see why tipping can be confusing.

How much does a tow cost?

Nobody likes finding something wrong with their car. From a simple flat tire to a mechanical issue, anything that makes your vehicle undrivable can ruin your day. It’s even worse when it happens away from home, and you get stuck on the side of the road.

Unfortunately, tow services can be expensive, especially if you must be rescued on a busy street. A roadside assistance plan can spare you the expense, but drivers without one can pay hundreds of dollars. Check out the best insurance companies for roadside assistance.

Drivers without roadside assistance should include the cost of a tow in their emergency fund for their car, along with other events like new brakes or flat tires. However, many drivers forget to plan for a tow until it’s too late.

Adding to the expense of a tow is that you usually need to have your car brought to a mechanic for repairs, especially if your vehicle breaks down while you’re driving it. Knowing how much a tow can cost can help you make sure you have the funds set aside for any problems that might arise in the future.

When it comes to tows, the most significant factor in the price is how far you need your disabled vehicle moved. Other factors include the location of your car, what services you need, weather conditions, and the company you choose.

The cost of your tow starts with a flat fee you’ll have to pay no matter how far the driver takes you. Most companies set their prices at between $35 and $100 to pick up your car. You might find a company that will give you the first five to 10 miles for free before charging more, while others will charge you for every mile.

Whenever the company starts charging you for mileage, you’ll usually pay between $2.50 and $7 per mile.

You might have to pay more for your tow if you drive something other than an average-size car. For example, heavy-duty vehicles, trucks, and large vans typically cost more to pick up than smaller cars.

If you have roadside assistance as either a standalone plan or an add-on to your car insurance, your tow will be at least partially covered. Most plans cover tows within a specified number of miles, though there are limits. Make sure to check what your plan covers, so you never run into problems.

How much is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance is a great option for any driver, no matter what type of car they drive. While roadside assistance provides towing services, it also covers the following:

  • Flat tires
  • Fuel delivery
  • Battery jump starts
  • Locksmith services

These are the most common services in a roadside assistance plan, but most companies offer additional services to increase your protection.

You typically pay for roadside assistance in monthly or yearly increments, though some insurance companies allow you to use their services as needed. The amount you’ll pay depends on whether you buy a standalone plan or an add-on to your insurance, but you can get an idea of how much it will cost you below.

Company Average Annual Price
Nationwide $23 for basic, $42 for plus
American Family $10 to $20
Farmers $23
Allstate $24 for add-on, $86 to $144 for Motorclub membership
Progressive $16
USAA $14
Travelers Starting at $12
State Farm $10
GEICO $14
AAA $38 to $164

As you can see, insurance add-ons are typically more affordable than standalone plans like AAA. However, AAA offers many services not covered by insurance add-ons, so it’s essential to research your options before making a decision.

Find Insurance With Roadside Assistance

Whether or not to tip a tow truck driver might seem confusing, but there’s no need to stress. When in doubt, $10 will be an appreciated gesture by any tow truck driver. You can also completely skip the confusion by signing up for roadside assistance.

You may be able to sign up for roadside assistance on your current car insurance, but you should always shop around. Comparing prices is the best way to ensure you get the most affordable price possible.

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