Texas Tow Truck Licensing

Many people are wary of being taken advantage of by towing companies, and we don’t blame them.  When you’re in an emergency situation it’s easy to drop your guard against unscrupulous business practices.  It’s enough of a concern that the State of Texas has set specific regulations for tow truck licensing and their operators along with vehicle storage facilities.  We’re TDLR licensed so we want you to know what that involves.

TDLR Licenses

To protect consumers the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) sets requirements for tow truck drivers, tow trucks, and towing companies.  They go way beyond the usual business license and licensing for driving a truck and include what services and fees are allowed, insurance, and training.

The TDLR defines three levels of towing services, and each includes the level(s) below it (https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/towing/towing.htm).  From top to bottom the tow operators license choices are as follows.

  1. Incident Management (IM) adds towing following a traffic accident or as directed by law enforcement.
  2. Private Property (PP) also covers tow-aways authorized by the owner of a public parking facility.  That’s not just paid parking, but also includes locations such as shopping centers, restaurants, and apartments.
  3. Consent Tow (CT) covers only towing authorized by the owner or operator of the vehicle.


Tow Trucks

Each of the three types of license has specific insurance requirements for the tow truck.

  • IM — Minimum $500,000 liability insurance.
  • PP — Minimum $300,000 liability insurance.
  • CT — Minimum $300,000 liability insurance.


Tow truck drivers / operators must also meet TDLR licensing requirements.  They include holding a valid US driver’s license for the class of truck they’re driving and

  • successfully passing a criminal background check,
  • a pre-employment drug test, and
  • certification testing.

For Incident Management and Private Property licensing, certification must be from AAA-Texas, Southwest Tow Operators Association, Texas Towing and Storage Association, Towing and Recovery Association of America, Training of Wrecker Services, or WreckMaster. (https://www.license.state.tx.us/towing/towingfaq.htm)

Impound Storage

Texas regulations also cover vehicle storage and impound facilities in areas such as fee limitations, vehicle release, and notification requirements.

Your Rights

By choosing only licensed towing companies with a great reputation you protect yourself from shady practices such as hidden fees and unnecessary services.  The TDLR and TxDPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) protect consumers with the above licensing requirements.  They also clearly specify maximum fees and your rights regarding tow-aways and vehicle storage facilities.

To find out more about that, as well as what you need to do in various situations and how to file a complaint, you can visit https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/towing/consumerinfo.htm


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