Every car owner’s worst nightmare is to find that your car has broken down in the middle of an important trip somewhere. The older your car is, the more likely is it that your car could break down. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), a car older than 10 years can put you in a spot. The farther away from a city or town you are, the more challenging it will be to get roadside assistance. Luckily, most insurance companies provide coverage for this in their regular policies.
In case you were wondering when you should opt for roadside assistance coverage and what to look for in it, we’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know about it.
What is roadside assistance coverage?
This covers the costs associated with unexpected vehicle breakdowns by the side of the road which may leave you stranded. In the best-case scenario, it covers minor problems like running out of fuel, while in the worst-case scenario, it may include repairing your car or towing it back from a highway.
Most car insurance policies cover roadside assistance and tie up with networks of businesses to provide customers with prompt service through either a hotline or a mobile app. You can also get this coverage if you have certain auto club memberships or credit cards.
While older cars are more likely to need roadside assistance coverage, new cars can also suffer from dead batteries, fuel leakage, flat tires and more. Ensure you have this cover to reduce costs in the long run.
What is included in roadside assistance coverage?
Several essential services fall under this type of coverage. Keep an eye out whether your car insurance policy has the following:
- Flat-tire service: For instances of punctured tires that may leave you stranded. Check if your policy covers both cars and motorcycles as well.
- Towing service: If your car has engine trouble, you don’t have any alternative but to tow it to a garage. Tow service coverage covers the cost of towing up to a certain distance.
- Battery jump-start service: For cars with dead batteries
- Lockout service: For instances where you leave your key in the car and lock yourself out. Lockout service providers can unlock the door using tools like a pump wedge or a long-reach tool.
- Winching service: For cases when your car is stuck in mud or something similar.
- Fuel delivery service: Fuel service will bring you enough to get you to the closest gas station.
The above are standard services provided in standard insurance policies. Apart from these, you can also look for additional benefits like:
- Trip interruption coverage: This reimburses you for lodging and travel expenses if your car breaks down during a road trip
- Legal reimbursement: Used in traffic violations; covers costs incurred to hire a lawyer to defend you in court.
Do you need to have roadside assistance coverage?
According to the American Automobile Association, 1 in 3 drivers experience vehicle breakdown. Though older cars have a greater likelihood of breakdown, you cannot rule it out in newer cars as well. Having roadside assistance will be a worthwhile investment that will safeguard you during such unlucky circumstances.
One way to assess whether you need roadside assistance is to base your decision on a few factors. Some of them include:
Vehicle age: Newer cars can skip roadside assistance for a few years as the manufacturer may offer free assistance up to a limited period. But as it gets older, be sure to invest in insured assistance.
Travel distance: If you only travel short distances in a relatively urban area, you can consider skipping this coverage. But if you regularly go on long trips and pass through rural areas, it’s good to have the safety net of roadside assistance.
Who should have roadside assistance coverage?
The following groups of people will benefit the most from having roadside assistance:
- Commuters who travel more than 20 miles daily
- Drivers who go on frequent long-distance trips
- Elderly and senior-citizen drivers
- New licensees and young drivers
- Persons with physical disabilities
Which companies provide the best roadside assistance coverage?
Almost all major insurance companies provide this as part of regular car insurance policies, with some variations. These include:
- Way Plus
- All State
Are there other options for roadside assistance coverage?
You can also explore other providers to see if there are alternatives to going for insurance coverage. For example, your vehicle manufacturer might offer services like free towing or trip interruption coverage for up to a certain limit.
If you own a credit card, you can check if their services cover vehicle breakdowns. Some credit card companies that offer it include:
- American Express Premium Roadside Assistance
- Chase Roadside Dispatch
- MasterCard’s Master RoadAssist Roadside Service
A membership or subscription to auto clubs like AAA or National General Motors Club can also be useful as they provide roadside assistance coverage.
How do I find roadside assistance coverage rates?
The easiest way to find affordable roadside assistance is to compare quotes from various insurance providers online. You can start your research on car insurance rates by getting free insurance quotes on Way.com.
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