UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Whether it’s a flat tire, a large mud puddle, or engine trouble, nobody likes being stuck on the side of the road with an immovable vehicle. Predicting the future is impossible, but being prepared is simple. Purchasing roadside assistance insurance coverage from your policy provider can either cover your towing expenses up front, or reimburses you for them after you’ve paid out of pocket.
How to Choose Roadside Assistance Insurance Coverage
There are many different Roadside Assistance programs available to you, and not all of them come directly from your insurance company. So whether you’re considering a 3rd party Roadside Assistance package or going directly through your insurer, it’s important to shop around. Carefully select a policy that caters to your budget and your needs. There are a few key things you should look for when deciding on a policy. Most drivers – and rightfully so – make finding a good price their first priority. But there are other important questions to consider, too:
- How many drivers can you cover?
- How many tows per year does your coverage provide?
- How many miles can you tow your vehicle and still be covered?
- Can you get services 24/7, 365 days out of the year? Or are there restrictions?
You should also look into additional services and discounts that your Roadside Assistance may offer. Some programs, such as AAA, offer discounts for vehicle maintenance services and/or seemingly unrelated services, such as prescription lenses. Others, such as those offered through auto insurance providers, are more bare-bones (but less costly).
Roadside Assistance Insurance – Options, Options, Options
When people think about roadside assistance automobile insurance, they think of auto clubs. This is the most direct way to obtain roadside assistance. Membership covers the driver and oftentimes additional drivers no matter what car they are driving at the time of service. But some of these clubs put some potentially expensive charges into their fine print, so be sure to read your contract very carefully.
When automakers provide complimentary road side assistance, it is usually associated with new or certified vehicles. Roadside assistance obtained in this fashion is generally bound by limits imposed by the dealership, usually in the form of maximum mileage or amount of time. But there could be additional costs if your tow truck has to take you farther to get to the right location, if your preferred dealership isn’t open when your vehicle is towed, or if you have to take it to a non-authorized shop.
Auto insurance companies also offer roadside assistance plans. They are very similar to auto-club plans in that they don’t have very many restrictions – with the exception of the specific vehicle covered, of course. Most insurance providers only cover you if you use the service to tow the vehicle you are currently insuring on your auto policy. There is also the risk that your monthly premiums may go up of you make too many Roadside Assistance claims.
Credit card companies and cell phone providers have begun offering this service as well. The most common restriction with cell phone companies is that the roadside assistance only covers the person with the cell phone at the time. So, if you left your phone at home, it is possible that you can be turned away. Some credit card companies have offered the service, but then billed their cardholder’s account at a later date. When obtaining a plan through these mediums, keep a wary eye out for the details.
|Company or Club||AAA||Allstate||BP Auto Club||GM|
|Yearly Cost (Add a Member)||$34||$0||$0||$0|
|Service Call Limit||4||3||4||4|
|Towing Limits||5 miles||$100||5 miles||Unlimited|
|Tire Change Assistance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dead Battery Service||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|