Tenants car went through Back of Garage

Last weekend my tenants car broke down. They called the tow truck company and they loaded the car. After they loaded it, somehow the car got loose, rolled off the truck and smashed through the back of the garage, pushing the whole wall off the sill plate and out into the yard.

The question is, i have my own contractor that i use for projects that i handle or for instances like this. The toe truck company wants to use their own contractor, friends or whoever. Do i have to accept their guy if hes lower? Also, the garage is older and the siding that is on it, they dont make anymore. I will have to side the whole garage. Will they have to pay for that as well? or do they jus have to pay and have the garage have different colors and siding? Please advise. Thanks

I would assume ( and we all know what happens when we do that) the insurance company, for the tow truck company, will make it right with you. I would think that they would make sure that colors match and your are happy with the repair. I believe that most insurance companies require that you “sign off” on the completed repair.

well, the tow truck company doesnt want to use their insurance. They have a 1000 deductible so they just want to pay out of their pocket, unless it gets to high. I got a cost estimate today for $2,000 to fix and put new siding on the area damaged. I would figure another $2,500 to finish siding the garage to make it match the damaged area. I guess what i am saying is, it all matched and everything was good until this incident happened. So now that it happened, am i only entitled to have the damaged part repaired and paid for by the Tow company/insurance company and not the rest of the garage. If the siding on the back doesnt match the front and the sides, then in my opinion it doesnt make the claim right. To simplify this, are they supposed to pay to make it all look the same?

this is a grey area, but I think you will have to fight to get them it done right. I would use the example of a car wreck. If your car is badly damaged then you would have to repaint the whole thing to make it look right.

I knew you were going to get the line about " I don’t want to go thru my insurance"

I would consider to do the following if you have not already done so.

  1. take plenty of pcitures
  2. file a police report (or threaten to use this as leverage)
  3. send a letter (certified mail) state you claim and you expect a complete repair.

Then if you can afford it, get the work done right. If they do not pay in full, send a another letter demanding the money followed by taking them to small claims court.

Yeah, i have plenty of pictures. The biggest questions i have, is can they choose a contractor for me, and can they say they will not pay to reside the rest of the garage?

Whatever you do it is in your best interest NOT to try and handle this with the tow company. First of all, if it did happen the way it was told to you their (tow company) negligence is clear and at 100 percent. (provided that the facts as relayed to you are correct)
Secondly, you do not know the real reason that the tow company does not want to go through their insurance company and DO NOT take the explanation as gospel.
Third, if your tow company enters into an agreement with you outside of going through their insurance company and you are not happy with the work you may have barred yourself from going back to their insurance carrier. MOst auot insurance or commercial for that matter have a little clause in them that says if the insured(in this case the tow company) enters into an agreement with a third party to settle damages(You) without letting the insurer know the insurance policy is void.
Fourth, your homeowners policy may also have such a clause as well. Better pull your policy and read it. Also be aware that if you call your agent with a question it may be treated as a “claim” by underwriting even if your insurer did not pay anything.
Fifth, it is your house and they damaged it… Whay would you let them dictate to you who should do the work. My house, you damaged it, my choice of contractor. Not your couisin Billy Bob and Jethro.

My two cents, and take it for what it is worth(you do not know me from the man on the moon) is to contact your local police department and file an accident report. Get the tow companies insurers information and file a claim and use them. Most insurers, in spite of what you have heard, will treat you fairly. They just want a chance to inspect any damage before any repairs are completed/started. Also if you have a problem with the insurer regarding the repairs you can file a complaint with your local dept of insurance. (every state has one) You also can file suit to reclaim damages.

The tow company is looking out for their best interest, not yours.

Sorry for the typos!!! :frowning:

What about the tenant’s car insurance? Does that come into play?

In the scenario given it would not. The tenants vehicle was an unoccuppied non-driving vehicle and under the scenario given there would be no negligence on the tenant/vehicle.

It is all about who was at fault and to what degree.

Ouch so sorry Black!

I like the police report idea. Also I would call your insurance company. By calling you are not making a claim, simply seeking information. And tell them the situation to find out what is legal here with respect to your policy.

I’m sure the tow company is trying to avoid a huge rate hike, but that really isn’t your problem. For all you know that driver wasn’t insured by them, or worse.

Get the tow company’s insurance company name as well. Call them and verify they are in fact insured with that company and then request proof via a fax directly to you. People lie (big time).

I would also have your lawyer write up a statement (or you can do it) stating the facts as presented to you, have them sign and you sign – both notarized. Then should a problem arise later, you’ve got a very valid statement of fault along with your police report.

Push the tow company to the wall if you have to, it must be fixed properly and they need to know you will get it fixed the right way.

My insurance company (USAA) will hammer the other company for me if there’s a payment problem. They’re great!



I work in the industry and I was just relaying firsthand knowledge regarding the insurance company treating and inquiry as a claim. It happens all the time. The down side to that is if our friend wants to change insurance companies for any reason, or he gets a rate hike that he is not happy with(not related to this scenario) most A++ rated insurance companies require three years of claim free history before they will issue a policy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that ALL tow truck companies are crooks. Don’t believe anything they say. If you let them fix the garage, they will look for every shortcut they can find. If they want to do something other than call their insurance company, I would get an estamate from my guy, add 10% and ask for that in cash.

Thanks Dell! I appreciate the lesson – I would freak out if I called for information and it was treated as a claim. Lesson learned.


bluemoon06, you need to get your head out of your ass. i bet i could put what you know about towing cars (or fixing houses for that matter) in a thimble, chump! you must have had a car repoed or something to have even thought of something that ignorant to say.

is towing cars, or having anything else to do with cars for that matter, a ppretty business? absolutley not. probably one of the most unpleasant situations anyone could ever be in is having their car towed…wrecked, broken, illegally parked…absolutley no love for the tow truck driver. its not his fault your car broke, you wrecked or parked illegally.

the tow truck guy obviously doesn’t want anyone to report on his insurance. its the root of his business.

get a police report, tell the tow truck company you want it fixed right and if he’s not willing to do so, call his insurance company.

Kenvest, I agree that it is not the tow companys fault that th cops call in to have a vehicle towed. I had my boat towed one night. In reality it was my fault as i got a 24 hour warning to move the boat, but the damn cop stuck it uner the tow strap at the front of the boat so that you couldnt see it. Anyways the boat was literally towed across the street and was in the impound lot for about 8 hours and they charged me $80 cash, (no CC,or checks accepted…hmmmm i wonder why ) to get it out and then told me i better get it out that day or it would be $30 more per day. This is where they become crooks. Seriously $80? When my sisters car broke down and they had to tow it from 20 miles away, they only charged her $35. Then on top of it, the guy is just the biggest A-hole, which he didnt need to be. So yeah, the ones that i have dealt with are crooks in the event that they gouge their prices because they can…

One things for certain here, is the 4-plex that i live in, I am trying to buy it, and his parents live there which he pays the rent. needless to say their rent will be going up, and when he asks why, i guess i will have to tell him that i have to be able to afford to get my vehicles out of the lot if they ever end up there again lol

…lol, Black – you should also make him find you and pay the rent in cash – no checks or credit cards!

Why is that ALL tow truck companies are @$$holes?


im not going to hold my breath on getting the complex becasue it is probably the nicest 4-plex in town and we only pay $650, which should probably be more like 900-1000 per month, hence the reason i have not seen a vacancy in the year that i have been there. He would probably want to get $250,000 for this unit which 2 units are rented at $650 per month and 2 at $550 per month. Very nice units though…mostly all older people too.

kenvest, I am sorry, I didn’t know it was your truck. :redface:

No really, I am speaking from statistics. Of course not all of any profession is bad or good, but there is a propensity for certain types of people to do certain type of jobs. In general (the same person that makes a good elementary school teacher won’t make a good police officer etc) A tow truck driver is a second chance type of job. You can get that job after a stint in the county jail but you can’t get a job at Target or Home Depot. You also deal with people that are irate a lot and that tends to run some of the nicer people out and the tow truck companies have to hire people that will deal with that.
Now for the facts. In Houston they passed a law that whenever a car stopped on the side of a major freeway that car has to be towed by a city approved towing company within 20 minutes (the safetow program). Since the city had to vouch for the towing companies, they had to check out the drivers. They had to scale back by 2/3 the size of the program because of how many ex-cons were driving the tow trucks. Because of that I have to assume (and you should too) that when I am dealing with a tow truck driver I am dealing with a crook. Don’t trust them.
By the way, where else can you learn how to pop a lock with a slim jim like they do?

as far as popping locks, any snap-on or mac tool dealer can supply you with the tools needed and they even come with a nice “how-to” manual.

i guess real estate investing is also a good second chance gig. all you need is money and if you’re a crook, you should have plenty of that.

as far as assuming anything about anybody, i know better to assume, which, by the way, is a key element in being successful at REI.

statistics…follow sats the rest of your life and you’ll miss alot of opportunites in the real estate market. its probably a safe bet for those with little or no life experience.

as far as charging 80 bucks to tow your boat and babysit it a few hours…you’ll occasionally read where some savvy investor contracted the little old ladies house and then flipped it in a day or so making 10’s of thousands of dollars…you’d call him (or her) a hero, not a crook…

tow truck drivers are an unsavory bunch, i’ll give you that. but so are brick masons, plumbers, carpenters and everyone else that doesn’t fit into your narrowly focused scope of what people should or shouldn’t be. wonder how many excons are working your paint crew?

ever wonder if that same tow truck driver would make a good source for property? wonder if they ever tow junk cars from distressed homes? wonder if peoples automobiles get popped before the house does?

in the end, tow truck drivers might actually make a good judge of character. i myself, have never had a problem with them, just the rules they follow, rules incarnated by some chair sitting munch like yourself that you’d probably think was a nice guy…

so while your standing there judging the tow truck driver, he’s getting his
a–hole hat on…serves you right…