Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2022

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The Lowdown

  • The debate about tipping your tow truck driver has people divided — some say you should while others say it’s not necessary
  • Regardless, truck drivers will always appreciate a tip for good service, and a tip of $10 is appropriate for most tows
  • You can skip the worries about tow service by getting roadside assistance on your car insurance

Many services in America require a tip, especially if the person helping you went above and beyond to give you a great experience. From waiters to taxi drivers to hairstylists, keeping track of who to tip can get confusing.

This is especially true for industries with no clear-cut answer about tipping. Everyone knows you should tip your waiter, but do you tip a truck driver? Making things even more complicated is your auto insurance — are you supposed to tip if a tow is covered?

While the receiving person always appreciates tipping, it can get expensive quickly if you have to tip every person who provides a service. However, you can follow some basic guidelines for tipping a tow truck driver.

If you’re worried about needing a tow, your car insurance can cover you with towing coverage. In the meantime, our free tool can’t answer, “Do you tip tow truck drivers?” but it can show you what auto insurance quotes might look like for you if you enter your ZIP code.

Do you tip tow truck drivers?

The towing industry is expected to grow, which means more vehicles will need the services of a tow truck driver. In short, you only need to tip a tow truck driver if you feel moved to.

If you receive excellent service from a driver, feel free to tip. Tow truck drivers won’t be offended by the offer of additional money — in fact, they’ll appreciate it.

Why aren’t tips expected for tow truck drivers? Part of the reason is that their wages are meant to be enough compensation. Unlike waiters, who are almost universally underpaid and rely on tips, extra money from a customer is just a happy bonus for drivers.

That’s not to say that your driver wouldn’t love to be tipped. Towing cars and other roadside services are skilled labor that not just anyone can do.

So, how much should you tip a driver after a great tow? Usually, $10 is considered a good tip amount. Five dollars is enough if you’re receiving a basic roadside assistance service such as a jump start.

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When should you tip a tow truck driver?

While most tow companies don’t say you need to tip, you won’t find a driver that turns one down. If you’ve received exceptional service, you should tip if you can.

So, when are the best times to tip? Consider giving a few extra dollars in the following situations:

  • The driver is picking your car up late at night or in bad weather
  • Your car is stuck on a dangerous highway or road
  • The driver helps you get your car out of a particularly difficult situation that requires extra work
  • The driver travels a long way to reach you
  • The service is quick or friendly

In general, feel free to tip whenever you feel impressed with a tow service.

When a tow service is included with your insurance, you’ll often hear not to tip from your company. So, if you’re asking, “Do you tip tow truck drivers with AAA?” the answer is you don’t need to. However, the same guidelines apply to insurance drivers — if you’re impressed, consider a tip.

How do you know how much to tip?

While you might feel obligated to leave a tip, knowing how much to give can be confusing.

If you ever find yourself unsure of what to tip, the general rule of thumb is 10% of the total service. Of course, some industries suggest different tips.

IndustryHow much to tip
Cab/taxi driver10% of your drive (at least $2)
Food delivery drivers10%
BaristaNot required, but adding to the tip jar is appreciated
Food pick upNo tip required, but you can add to the tip jar
Bellhop$1 or $2 per bag
Bar tender$1 per drink
Hotel housekeeper$2 to $5 per day
Valet$5 to $10
Dog walker or groomer15%
Room serviceAt least $5
Furniture delivery$5 to $20, depending on the item. Alternatively, offer drinks
Hairstylist15-20%
Manicurist or spa workers15%

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The variety you see above explains why tipping customs are so confusing.

How much does a tow cost?         

Finding a mechanical issue in your car that makes it undrivable can ruin your day. That’s especially true if it happens on the side of the road. Unfortunately, tow services can get expensive quickly, especially if you don’t have roadside assistance with your insurance.

In fact, the cost of a tow should be included in your emergency fund for your car, along with money for events like flat tires, new brakes, and other mechanical emergencies. However, many drivers forget to plan for future tows.

Usually, you have your car towed to a mechanic to fix a problem, which means your costs don’t end at the tow. Knowing how much a tow might cost you can help you save for the future with all the possible expenses.

The biggest factor in the price is the distance you need your disabled vehicle towed. Other factors include weather, where your car is located, the services you need, and the company you choose.

Most tow companies charge between $35 and $100 as a starting price to pick up your car. Some companies give you the first five to 10 miles before additional charges, while others don’t. Once you start getting charged by distance, rates usually fall between $2.50 and $5 per mile.

If your car is a truck, heavy-duty vehicle, or large van, it will usually cost more than the average car.

A roadside assistance add-on with your insurance will help cover the price of a tow. Usually, your insurance will cover either a certain amount of the price or a specific number of miles.

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What do you need a tow for?

People tend to think of a dead battery as the most common reason, but there are lots of reasons you might need a tow.

Tows are especially common after accidents. If your car is damaged to the point where it can’t be driven, you’ll need someone to pull your vehicle to a mechanic.

Mechanical failures are also common reasons for a tow. Problems with your transmission, timing belts, and other sensitive systems can stop your car from running.

You can’t prevent all mechanical problems, but there are steps you can take to keep your car running smooth. First, make sure to keep your lights turned off, so your battery is always ready to go. You should also make sure your gas tank has enough to get you to a gas station.

Keeping jumper cables in your trunk can help in case your battery dies. You should also know how to change a tire.

Find Insurance With Roadside Assistance

While tipping truck drivers can be confusing, it doesn’t have to be. When in doubt, $10 will be appreciated by your tow driver. You can also skip the confusion altogether by getting roadside assistance on your insurance.

If you’re worried about having to ask yourself, “Do you tip tow truck drivers?” consider shopping for insurance with roadside assistance. If you want to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool.