Paying for a tow truck

Fees for the provision of accident towing services by tow truck operators are regulated in the Melbourne controlled area (metropolitan Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula). While the fees for accident towing services in all other areas and for vehicles four tonnes or more are not regulated they are required to be reasonable.

Charges for trade towing services (vehicle breakdowns) are not regulated.

The amounts below are charges for towing, storing and salvaging accident damaged motor vehicles that weigh less than four tonnes from an accident scene in the Melbourne controlled area. All the charges listed below include GST.


Towing charges

Description Charge
Base fee
The first 8 kilometres travel by tow truck. This is based on the distance from the authorised depot to the accident scene, and then from the accident scene to the address on the Authority to Tow. This fee also includes an allowance for removal of all debris (including any spills), cleaning the tow truck, waiting time at the accident scene, phone calls, release of stored vehicle, unpaid tows and administration such as photos and documentation.
$216.20
Additional fee per kilometre
Travel beyond the first 8 kilometres
$3.40
After hours surcharge
5pm to 8am Monday to Friday
5pm Friday to 8am Monday (all weekend)
Public holidays (midnight to midnight)
$73.80

Storage charges

The following are the maximum daily rates for the secure storage of an accident damaged motor vehicle..

Salvage charges

The fee for salvage work is not specifically regulated in the Melbourne controlled area. However, all salvage charges are required to be reasonable in accordance with section 212I of the Accident Towing Services Act 2007.

Storage type Charge
Car - under cover $16.60
Car - in locked yard $11.20
Motorcycle - under cover $5.50
Motorcycle - in locked yard $3.50

Charges for accident towing services in the self management area of Geelong, regional Victoria and for accident damaged heavy vehicles (four tonnes or more) are not specifically regulated under the Accident Towing Services Act 2007. However, the fees charged for these services must be reasonable in accordance with section 212I of the Act. Some of the factors that may be taken into account to determine whether the fee charged is reasonable include:

  • the nature of the service provided; 
  • the day and time that the service is provided; 
  • any administrative costs incurred; 
  • the amount charged for a similar towing service, such as a car breakdown; and 
  • the amount charged for the same or similar service by another accident towing operator in the same or similar area.


How do I pay?

Payment at the accident scene

You have the right to pay for towing services by your choice of cash, credit or debit card. It is illegal for the tow truck driver to demand that you pay by cash to have your vehicle towed.

You can choose to have your vehicle towed to any destination up to 125km away. The tow truck driver must tow the vehicle there, provided you agree to pay at the time of the tow.

If you cannot pay by cash, credit or debit card at the time of the tow, the tow truck driver may refuse to tow the vehicle to your chosen destination. If you agree to pay later, the driver will tow the vehicle back to the tow truck depot.

Payment at the depot

Tow truck operators must have both credit card and debit card facilities at their depot. You must be offered the opportunity to pay by your choice of cash, credit or debit card. It is illegal for the tow truck operator to tell you that you must pay by cash to have your vehicle released.


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