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What is roadside assistance and do you really need it?

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It is every car owner’s worst nightmare to have a vehicle break down in the middle of a road trip or city errand. It’s even worse when there’s nothing you can do about it – either because you’re too busy to address it yourself or if you just don’t know how to. That’s where roadside assistance (RSA) comes in handy!

Even without us telling you, it’s common sense to figure out that car breakdowns are no laughing matter. According to the latest statistics, 1 in 3 drivers in America experiences a vehicle breakdown every year. Besides the stress, anxiety, and trouble it causes individual drivers, it also costs the economy nearly $41 billion annually! It’s safe to say that having a breakdown is not just a time-consuming process but can also burn a hole in your pocket. This is why it is absolutely important for you to know about roadside assistance (RSA) and keep it in handy for the next time your car gives up on you.

A roadside assistance mechanic checking the engine of a car alongside the worried owner

Even if you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s on your car maintenance checklist, and do routine car inspections from time to time, there is still a probability of vehicle breakdown while driving. This is especially true for older cars – the chances of vehicle breakdown increase manifold after 10 years. However, you can avoid the hassle and stress of dealing with a breakdown by having a roadside assistance service at your fingertips. In this post, we’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about roadside assistance and how to get it.

What is Roadside Assistance (RSA)? 

Roadside assistance includes any automobile service that helps you get back on the road after a vehicle breakdown. Whether it’s a flat tire, blown engine, empty fuel tank, or a jump start – roadside assistance will help you out of whichever tight spot you find yourself in. It covers minor problems like running out of fuel in the city to repairing your car or towing it back from a highway. Older cars are more likely to need¬†roadside assistance coverage, but new cars can also suffer from dead batteries, fuel leakage, flat tires, and more.

Usually, such services are included in most car insurance policies, where insurers tie up with automobile service businesses to provide prompt service. However, you can also access roadside assistance as an additional or free service via credit card or club memberships.

What does roadside assistance cover? 

A roadside assistance technician getting ready to jump start a car

Roadside assistance covers the following standard services:

  • 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/locksmith 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 tires are stuck in mud or in a similar situation.
  • Fuel delivery service: Even if you’ve been very careful about having a spare gas can, you can still forget to fill it and run out of fuel. Fuel service will bring you enough gas to get you to the closest gas station.¬†

Is roadside assistance free?

In most cases, roadside assistance is not free, since the fee is included as part of the premium in most car insurance policies. However, certain club and credit card memberships offer free roadside assistance to members.

Some credit card companies that offer free assistance include: 

  • American Express Premium Roadside Assistance¬†
  • Chase Roadside Dispatch¬†
  • MasterCard’s Master RoadAssist Roadside Service¬†

You may also be able to access free roadside assistance if you have a membership to auto clubs like AAA or National General Motors Club.

How much does roadside assistance cost? 

The cost of roadside assistance plans varies from $5-100 depending on whether you opt for insurance coverage or a separate package.

  • Automobile club memberships offer roadside plans ranging from $50-350 a year depending on the type and number of vehicles, towing distance, and type of breakdown.
  • Roadside Assistance associations offer different plans based on towing distance – $50-70 per year for up to 5 miles; and $90-115 for up to 100 miles.
  • Some cell phone companies also provide free roadside assistance for the first month and then will charge you $3/month. However, there are several terms and conditions for these services.

A car mechanic filling fuel in the engine of a car as part of Roadside Assistance

How long does roadside assistance take? 

How long an RSA provider takes to reach you depends a lot on where your car has broken down, the accessibility to your location, and the kind of prevailing weather. However, the average response time is between 30-45 minutes in most cases.

  • It’s easier for RSA providers to reach you if you’re stranded somewhere in a city – it will take anything from 30-45 minutes.
  • If you’re stranded on the highway, it might take longer to reach you – perhaps up to an hour. However, RSA providers rarely take longer than an hour as they have checkpoints throughout important routes in the country.

What is the easiest way to sign up for roadside assistance? 

Besides adding RSA to a regular insurance policy, it is also good to subscribe to a dependable car services platform that bundles all these services into one package for you. For example, you can subscribe to the Way+ service from the Way Super Auto App and save up to $1000 per year on roadside assistance and other services! 

What are the benefits of a Way+ subscription for roadside assistance?

Way.com is working to make car ownership affordable for millions of Americans – that means reducing costs for city parking, airport parking, car wash, roadside assistance, and many more car services. The Way+ bundled subscription plan allows you to take advantage of all these services at discounted rates, saving you as much as $1000 per year. You can choose from three curated monthly plans – Ruby, Emerald, and Diamond – which offer a wide range of roadside assistance services at your beck and call!

Some of the benefits of a Way+ subscription for roadside assistance include:

  • Request for assistance through the mobile app‚Äč
  • Request for assistance through call¬†
  • Up to 100 miles of free tow ‚Äč
  • Complimentary Ride-Hailing with Tow¬†(Reimbursable benefit)¬†‚Äč
  • Jump Start¬†‚Äč
  • Flat Tire (Tire¬†Change)¬†‚Äč
  • Lockout Service¬†‚Äč
  • Fuel Delivery¬†‚Äč
  • Winch Service¬†‚Äč‚Äč
  • Roadside Reimbursement¬†‚Äč
  • Rental Vehicle Roadside¬†Reimbursement¬†‚Äč
  • Key Replacement¬† ‚Äč
  • Trip Interruption

You can also access other automobile services like:

  • 2-3 hours free parking (depending on the plan chosen)‚Äč
  • 1-2 free car washes every 3 months (depending on the plan chosen)‚Äč
  • Roadside Assistance¬†Membership¬†‚Äč
  • Free personalized concierge service‚Äč
  • Membership Free Entitlements*‚Äč
  • Traffic Court Defense ‚Äč
  • Auto Theft Reward¬†($1000)‚Äč
  • Service Vehicle Tracking¬†‚Äč
  • Discounted rates for roadside¬†assistance services after free¬†benefits are exhausted¬†‚Äč

How can I subscribe to a Way+ plan? 

All you need to do to access a host of car services is to download the Way app, choose the Way+ subscription you want, and start saving big!‚Äč Need more info on how it works? Check out the video below for a quick run-through!

Save on Roadside Assistance with the Way+ subscription service

Check out our blogs for info on finding top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, and affordable car washes near you.


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