Roadside assistance, called breakdown cover, is designed to help motorists get going if their vehicle breaks down. It is a valuable resource for motorists; however, understanding how it works will help you get the most out of the service.
If your car breaks down, roadside assistance can help you change a flat tire, arrange towing services, or even jumpstart the battery. This plan covers many more emergency services that can cause you to get stranded on the roadside.
What Is Roadside Assistance?
As the name suggests, roadside assistance offers motorists emergency services if they experience car trouble.
Whether you are driving and your car stops for no reason or have a flat tire, roadside assistance can come to your aid even if you do not have a car subscription.
This breakdown service helps when needed and is commonly offered as part of your insurance policy. Roadside assistance is your solution to minor hazards that can cause significant inconveniences.
What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?
Roadside assistance covers a wide range of services, including:
Roadside assistance offers help if your vehicle needs minor repairs. For instance, if your car stops suddenly, you get access to phone call assistance to guide you through the repair if you can handle it and quickly get back on the road.
If your vehicle suffers an electrical or mechanical fault or is involved in a collision, you may need towing services. Roadside assistance covers towing costs to the nearest garage if your car cannot be repaired immediately.
If your battery is run down, causing your car to stall, you may need a jumpstart. Roadside assistance gives you access to a technician who will come to your location and jumpstart the car.
Flat tires are one of the most common roadside emergencies that can cause you to be stranded for hours. However, with roadside assistance coverage, you can get a mechanic sent to your location to replace the tire and get you back on the road.
Getting locked out of your car can be frustrating. However, roadside assistance can get you professional help whether you are at your residence or away.
Your roadside assistance cover can come to your aid if you run out of fuel on the road. Fuel is delivered to your location promptly. However, it would be best to cover the cost out of pocket.
While your car is getting repaired, roadside insurance can cover the cost of travel to your work or home. However, this service is only available for one destination.
Many roadside assistance providers offer specially prepared maps to help you find your way if lost. If you are planning a long trip, you can also call ahead with details about your trip to get map services.
While roadside assistance covers the cost of the above services, you must pay for any replacement costs, for instance, if you need a new battery or tires. However, if you experience a roadside emergency and pay for the services out of pocket, roadside assistance can also reimburse your expenses.
Some insurance companies have multiple tiers of roadside assistance coverage. For instance, some companies offer trip interruption coverage which covers the cost of transportation, meals, and lodging if you are stranded away from home.
How Does Roadside Assistance Work?
Most motorists use their auto insurance provider to get their roadside coverage. However, these insurance companies partner with professional vendors with the resources, such as service technicians and tow trucks, to offer these services.
When you need roadside assistance, your call goes directly to the service provider rather than your insurance company.
Pass-through coverage means that while your insurance company sells roadside assistance coverage, the vendor provides the essential services.
Commonly asked questions about roadside assistance include:
- Will roadside assistance increase my auto insurance premiums?
- Will my insurance premiums go up if I use roadside assistance?
- Does using roadside assistance increase my premiums?
The answer is no; using roadside assistance will not increase your premiums.
Is Using Roadside Assistance Considered a Claim?
No, using roadside assistance does not count as a claim and has no impact on your auto insurance premiums.
While auto insurance covers damage to the driver and their car, roadside assistance is designed to mobilize your car if it breaks down.
So, while a car insurance claim affects your insurance ratings and premiums, roadside assistance does not.
Where Can You Get Roadside Assistance Coverage?
Aside from your auto insurance company, you can also get roadside assistance from:
- Roadside assistance memberships: Numerous businesses offer roadside assistance, such as AAA. However, you have to purchase an annual subscription. In addition, some motorists find their fees costly compared to auto insurance companies as you might end up paying for services you might not use.
- Pay-per-use emergency services: Pay-per-use emergency services offer you the best of both worlds. You only have to pay for services when you contact the company for roadside assistance. However, you still get access to vetted professionals as you would have with auto insurance companies and membership clubs. On the downside, their costs are higher compared to auto insurance companies.
You can also get roadside assistance from car manufacturers when you buy a new car as part of your warranty and credit card companies as part of your benefits.
Who Needs Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a smart choice for all motorists. However, some can benefit more from getting this service, such as:
- Drivers with older vehicles: If you drive an older vehicle, it is more prone to breaking down. Most dealerships also do not offer towing services under warranty for older vehicles. They are at a higher risk of breaking down and getting roadside assistance if your vehicle has an old battery or a known mechanical issue.
- Drivers who spend much time on the road: If you only drive around your home, you may not need roadside assistance. However, you can invest in a pay-per-use service. Regular long commuters can benefit from roadside assistance in emergencies away from home. Such drivers will likely need travel, meal, and lodging reimbursement.
- Drivers who cannot change a tire: While most vehicles have a spare and a jack, not all drivers know how to use them. If you cannot change a flat tire or the prospect of changing it on a busy highway seems intimidating, investing in a roadside assistance cover is best.
What If You Do Not Have Roadside Assistance When Your Car Breaks Down?
If you have a roadside emergency but do not have a cover, you must call a towing company or a mechanic to mobilize your vehicle. However, if you are stranded in unfamiliar surroundings or inclement weather, it can be challenging to get help.
In addition to struggling to get help, you must pay for all expenses out of pocket. With towing costs starting from $99 and paying for a mechanic, meals, and alternative transport out-of-pocket, you may have a massive bill.
However, investing in roadside assistance will cost you significantly less, as most companies charge between $10 – $60 per year.
Affordable Roadside Assistance
Purchasing roadside assistance is the most affordable way to get coverage. While some insurers only offer this service as part of comprehensive or collision coverage, it might be worthwhile to talk to an insurance agent to determine your options.
We recommend looking at what the roadside assistance plan covers, the company’s reputation, and whether they have a nationwide network to ensure you can get assistance on your common routes.
Contact your insurance company to learn more about roadside assistance coverage.