To start with, Roadside assistance can be a lifesaver in emergencies, like if you get a flat tire, have a dead battery or if you run out of gas, locked in a car. Thus, Roadside assistance is often a 24/7 service provided by various auto insurance companies through their apps to solve all these problems in only one touch by your phone. Or by calling their roadside emergency line. This post is here to enlighten you on everything you need to know about roadside assistance. Only keep reading.
Importantly, Roadside assistance is available for a variety of emergencies, including towing, tire repair, fuel delivery, battery jump starts, and lockout.
Furthermore, it also helps you in an accident or if disablement occurred to your car over some distance from your home like 100 miles.
So if you travel safely and don’t want to be left stranded on the side of the road then you should have a roadside assistance plan.
How Roadside Assistance Works
To begin with, the best and easy part of it is that most car insurance companies partner with an existing network of businesses to either provide direct roadside assistance or arrange services on the customer’s behalf.
Thus, let’s say your car broke down on the way if you happen to call for roadside assistance, the company will dispatch the service provider that’s closest and most appropriate for your situation.
What does roadside assistance cover?
Roadside services vary depending on the company, but often include:
- Changing a flat tire.
- Fuel delivery.
- Locksmith services.
- Battery jump-start.
- Winching, which is pulling a car with a chain or rope if it’s stuck in snow, ice, or mud.
Another option is to pay per incident for roadside coverage. Instead of paying every month whether you use the service or not, you can pay when (and if) you need help.
In addition to assisting things such as towing services and changing a flat tire, some plans provide a few extra benefits. Extra benefits you might get are:
Trip interruption coverage – If your car breaks down while on a road trip, this coverage reimburses you for certain lodging to travel expenses up to the plan limit.
Legal defense reimbursement – If you need an attorney to defend you in court against a traffic violation, this coverage will reimburse you for legal costs up to the plan limit.
Guaranteed arrest bond – If you’re charged with a traffic violation, this coverage will post bond up, up to a certain limit.
Roadside Assistance Coverage in details
Towing Services – tow your vehicle up to 25 miles away to your destination of choice, or beyond 25 miles to our nearest repair facility.
Flat Tires – A roadside assistance representative will remove a flat tire and replace it with a spare.
Emergency Fluid Delivery – We’ll deliver gas, oil, water, etc. to get your vehicle rolling again.
Dead Battery Jump Start – a roadside assistance representative will jump-start your battery if it died on you.
Lockout Service – If you accidentally lock your keys in your vehicle, we’ll help you open your vehicle door or dispatch a locksmith if needed.
Minor Mechanical First Aid – A roadside assistance representative will perform minor mechanical repairs to get your car moving again.
Concierge Service – A roadside assistance representative will assist in arranging alternative transportation, finding an ATM, and coordinating hotel/motel reservations for you.
Why you Need roadside assistance?
If you have an older car, chances are you could use a good roadside assistance plan. That’s because a car that is 10 years or older is more than twice as likely to end up on the side of the road and more than four times as likely to need a tow, according to AAA.
But newer cars are hardly immune to problems like flat tires, dead batteries, locking your keys in the car, and running out of gas. Having roadside assistance coverage can help get you back on the road in no time and reimburse you for some of the costs. Before you purchase a plan, here are a few things to know.
According to Agero, 69 million vehicle breakdowns occur each year in the U.S. Essentially, 1 in 3 drivers will experience vehicle trouble during the year. That said, having some form of roadside assistance coverage is worth the investment.
“Roadside assistance provides drivers with peace of mind should their vehicle break down,” says Edmonds of AAA. “Being stranded on the side of a busy highway or late at night can be stressful and scary. By having roadside assistance, drivers have a number they can quickly call for help.”
With all of the options available, it’s crucial to compare the benefits, features, and costs of each plan available so you can find the best option for the level of assistance you want.
Furthermore, to get agree with me on why you need roadside assistance while researching for this post. Thus, I came across one a comparison Valuepanguin carried out. And I deemed it to your best interest to add it.
#2: Vehicle age
Brand-new cars generally need less maintenance and have fewer mechanical problems, which means you could skip roadside assistance. Your car manufacturer may even offer free emergency service for the first few years or a certain number of miles. You could pay for one-off services as they arise. But if you have an older car, roadside assistance may be a good investment.
#3: Distance and commute
Another factor to consider is how far you typically drive when you’re getting to work or running errands. If you typically stay within a small area, you might skip roadside assistance. But if you frequently take trips to unfamiliar places, then it’s a good idea to have a professional network on call.
If you value convenience, we think you’ll benefit from adding some type of roadside assistance program to your auto insurance policy. You won’t have to figure out which service provider is best suited for your needs. This can be especially helpful when you’re stranded late at night or during inclement weather.
Roadside assistance programs negotiate prices with service providers and pass on the savings to members, which can help you save money. Plenty of roadside assistance members use the service several times a year.
Free roadside assistance
If you already have access to free services, then you should take advantage of them. Some credit card issuers and car manufacturers provide their own free services — though restrictions may apply.
Where to get roadside assistance
If you want to buy a roadside assistance plan, think carefully about where you want to purchase it. We’ve detailed several options below to help you determine what method is best for you.
Auto insurance company
Auto insurers generally offer roadside assistance as an optional coverage, but it may be available only if you buy comprehensive and collision insurance. Some plans, like State Farm roadside assistance, have unlimited service coverage, while others may pay for only four incidents a year.
While not all insurers offer roadside assistance, many do, including:
You can add roadside assistance to your insurance policy starting at $25 a year per car. If you don’t have an Allstate policy or prefer a membership that includes additional services, there are two to choose from, ranging from $79 to $139 a year. Depending on membership level, the policy includes three to five service calls a year. If you don’t want to commit to a plan, Allstate has a pay-per-use option starting at $119 a tow.
Coverage costs about $5 a year per car and is available only if you have comprehensive or collision insurance. Benefits include towing to the nearest service garage, plus 20 miles.
Coverage costs vary by state and policy, with no set limit on the number of service calls. Perks include towing up to $150.
Roadside assistance starts at $14 a year per car, including lockout services up to $100.
Coverage includes benefits such as towing services anywhere within 15 miles or to the nearest repair facility.
#6; State Farm
Roadside assistance costs about $8 a year per car, with no limit to emergency service calls. State Farm also offers pay-per-incident coverage.
Membership organizations can be pricier than other roadside assistance options, but they come with benefits you typically won’t find in other types of plans. With an organization like AAA or Better World Club, you can get emergency road benefits plus perks like assistance in booking travel and discounts on hotels, car rentals, and movie tickets.
Both AAA and Better World Club offer different membership tiers. Better World Club, which focuses on environment-friendly values, costs $58.95 a year for a basic plan and $97.95 for a premium plan. AAA membership costs differ depending on tier and location, but pricing can range from around $50 to more than $165 a year.
These plans often include four service calls per year but may vary by company and membership tier. Both companies let you add people who live in your household for an additional fee.
AAA and Better World Club are not the only membership organizations that include roadside assistance. For instance, if you own a recreational vehicle and care more about camping discounts than travel, Good Sam Club, which caters to RV owners, might be a better fit for you. Good Sam offers auto-only coverage at $49.95 a year, and packages for auto and RV ranging from $64.95 to $119.95.
You may already have free roadside assistance coverage if you’ve recently purchased a new vehicle. Some car manufacturers automatically include it when you buy a new car. Coverage is usually limited to a certain number of years or miles. Here are a few examples.
|Car company||Roadside assistance|
|Ford||Free, up to 60,000 miles or five years|
|General Motors||Most vehicles can receive three months of free OnStar coverage, which includes roadside assistance|
|Hyundai||Free roadside assistance for the first five years|
|Toyota||Free coverage for the first two years, with unlimited mileage|
|Volkswagen||Free for the first three years or 36,000 miles. Certified pre-owned vehicles receive two years of free coverage when the original coverage expires or when the certified pre-owned vehicle is sold|
Cell Phone Company
Some cell phone companies, including Verizon and AT&T, also provide emergency road service coverage.
A Verizon plan costs $3 a month per phone line for four claims a year. The maximum benefit per incident varies depending on the service provided. For example, winching is provided up to a $100 service limit. If you’re a Verizon customer but don’t have an emergency roadside plan, you’ll pay $89.95 per incident.
AT&T charges $2.99 a month for coverage, and the first month is free. You are limited to four service events a year, up to a $75 maximum benefit per incident.
Both companies provide roadside assistance through Signature Motor Club, a subsidiary of Allstate, and allow anyone to use this service if they have the enrolled device with them at the time of need.
Credit Card Company
If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, you may already have access to roadside assistance. Some of these cards provide pay-per-incident coverage, which means you’ll pay each time you use the service but won’t be charged anything if you never use this benefit. There’s no monthly or annual fee for this type of roadside assistance, although there may be an annual fee for the credit card itself.
Visa and MasterCard offer roadside dispatch at varying rates based on the specific card you have. For example, Visa Signature credit cards generally charge $69.95 per incident, with no limit to how many times you use it.
|Battery jump start||Yes||Again, Yes||Yes|
|Flat tire replacement||With available spare||Yes||Yes|
|Fuel delivery||Up to two gallons||Again. Yes||Yes|
|Lock-out service||If the key is in the car||Yes||Yes|
|Tow service||Up to 10 miles||Yes||Up to 10 miles|
What is the cost of roadside assistance?
To begin with, Roadside assistance tends to be inexpensive. In most cases, it’s cheaper to get roadside assistance through your auto insurance provider. Furthermore, if you have both collision and comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance might be included in your policy. However, check with your provider to see if you’re already covered.
On the other hand, while third-party RSA providers tend to be more expensive, you’re also getting benefits that the insurance company doesn’t offer. For instance, if you’re a frequent traveler. More so, getting roadside assistance through AAA can save you money in the long run because you can get discounted airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel fees.
If you purchase add-on RSA coverage through your insurance provider, expect to pay anywhere from $50-$360 a year. Most people will pay less than $20. To compare, AAA’s most basic membership costs $60 per year, and the most expensive plan costs about $350 per year. Overall, it’s up to the driver to weigh the cost-benefit for each option.
In the End
To cap it up, RSA is a smart investment for all drivers. Thus, it doesn’t matter how old your car is, or your history of breakdowns. As a result, roadside assistance is there for your safety. Thus, after a breakdown, it can help you get back on the road quickly.
Finally, if you’re considering roadside assistance, decide if you want coverage from your car insurance provider or a third-party. More so, determine what makes the most sense for your budget and your lifestyle. On the other hand, before choosing a provider, make sure you understand what’s covered and know how to get in touch with your provider if you need service.
It’s Now Your Turn
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