It’s two in the morning and you’re headed home from an office party. Suddenly, your car splutters and dies, and the next thing you know you’ve stopped on the side of the road. Who are you going to call at this hour? You don’t want to wake any of your friends, maybe they don’t even live nearby, what will you do?
That where roadside assistance services come in.
Emergency road service coverage, when added to your auto insurance policy, can be a lifesaver. It’s relatively inexpensive, and can provide you much peace of mind. Let’s look at roadside assistance coverage and how it can help you.
What is Emergency Road Service Coverage?
As you may have gathered, emergency roadside assistance is help that’s sent to you in the event of a breakdown. Maybe you have a flat tire, or maybe your car is stalled. Perhaps you’re leaving home and your car just won’t start.
When purchased as part of your auto insurance policy, a roadside assistance service to you is usually provided at no additional cost. Even if you make a silly mistake like run out of gas, you can rest assured that help is on the way with a gallon or two to get you to the next station.
Now, emergency road service coverage isn’t going to cover the cost of your vehicle repairs. We’ll take a look at that in a moment. But when you just need help changing a flat or jumping the battery, a majority of policies will cover you for that service.
What Does Emergency Roadside Assistance Cover?
Emergency roadside assistance is just that. In the event of an emergency, you’ll receive assistance from a service provider. A contracted company will usually arrive at your location within an hour or so, and the technician will help you get back on the road or get your car to the nearest repair shop.
While all policies are slightly different, you can generally expect your insurance to cover:
- Installation of spare tire (you provide the spare)
- Enough gas to get you down the road to a gas station
- Jump-start your battery
- A tow to the nearest repair shop
- Recovery if you’ve gone off-road
- Locksmith labor
- Minor mechanical labor
In short, the goal of your “roadside assistant” is to get you back on the road or to get you and your vehicle to a safe place if you find yourself stranded. As you shop for your policy, be sure to ask your insurance agent exactly what’s covered by your insurance.
Emergency Road Service Coverage vs. Auto Clubs
As you’re likely aware, there are several “auto clubs” in the United States that provide roadside assistance to you. For instance, AAA is a popular choice among motorists for emergency road service coverage and travel planning.
However, there are advantages to purchasing your roadside assistance through your insurance company. The primary benefit is simple: convenience.
Let’s assume you’ve been in a minor accident and cracked your windshield. With one call, you can file a claim and have your vehicle towed to a repair shop. (Don’t forget to also get a police report!)
Cost may be another determining factor in your decision. Depending upon your coverage and your insurance provider, your emergency road assistance may cost from $5 to around $100 per year. Compare that to AAA, which costs as much as $119, or Good Sam which costs up to $120.
Compare towing allowances, maximum calls per year, fuel allotment, and other perks. You should also consider whether the retailer and travel discounts offered through auto clubs are worth the additional cost to you.
Do I Need Emergency Road Service Coverage?
No, there is no state in America that requires that you carry this type of coverage. However, because it’s so affordable, it’s a good idea to consider roadside assistance.
People who may appreciate roadside assistance include:
- Parents who travel frequently with children (it’s hard to change a tire with three kids in the car!)
- Drivers whose vehicles are old or somewhat unreliable
- Those who don’t usually have extra cash on hand for a tow
- Frequent out-of-state travelers who aren’t familiar with destinations
- Older people, new drivers, or disabled people who may be physically unable to push a car or change a tire
Simply put, emergency road service coverage is so inexpensive that it’s almost silly not to add it to your policy. Speak with your insurance agent about what’s covered and determine whether it’s a good option for you.
Conclusion: Choosing Roadside Assistant Services
Not everyone knows how to change a flat. And not everyone wants to. In the event that your vehicle is temporarily disabled, emergency road service can provide you a helping hand and get you back on the road safely.