Roadside Assistance: What does it cover, and is it worth it?
Roadside assistance is a great add-on to consider to help prevent being stranded on the side of the road. Imagine this – you’re driving along and you start to hear the dreaded thud, thud, thud of a flat tire. You pull over to the side of the road and, sure enough, one of your tires is flat. You know you’ve got a spare in the trunk, but you can’t remember the last time you changed a tire. Then you think – I’ve got roadside assistance. One quick call later, and someone is headed to your location to change your tire. They arrive within the hour, put the spare on for you, and give you directions to the nearest affiliated tire shop where you can get a discount on a tire repair or a new tire.
What do I do if my car breaks down?
If you wind up in a situation where your car breaks down, don’t panic. Here are a few steps you can follow to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
- Turn on your hazards.
- If possible, make your way over to the right shoulder.
- Note your location.
- If you are stopped on a highway, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked.
- If you are in an emergency situation, call 911. This is especially important if you were unable to get your car out of the way of traffic.
- If you are not on a highway and traffic is light, you can exit the vehicle through the passenger door.
- Open your hood to signal that you are broken down.
- Call roadside assistance.
What can roadside assistance fix?
The specifics of what your roadside assistance covers will vary from plan to plan, but most cover:
- Tire changes
- Jump starts
- Battery replacements
- Fuel services
They can usually not help with anything that requires a mechanic. In that case, your car will just be towed to the nearest mechanic or destination of your choice.
How do I get roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is available from a variety of different places. Before you choose which service to go with, you want to consider what each one covers, the price, and reviews from previous customers.
Included with your car’s warranty
If you’ve recently purchased a new or certified, pre-owned car, you may already have roadside assistance for the duration of your car’s warranty. Many major car manufacturers from Hyundai to Volkswagen include this service, so be sure to check your warranty information before buying additional coverage.
Auto insurance company
Some insurance companies offer add-on roadside assistance for existing policyholders. One benefit of going this route is you usually get a significant price break. One caution to going with your insurance company is that a call for assistance is considered an insurance claim and could affect your future rates. If your specific insurance provider doesn’t offer roadside assistance, some do offer coverage for non-policy holders, but at a significantly higher rate than policyholders.
Membership organizations are a popular way to get roadside assistance, with the most well-known one being AAA. One thing membership organizations offer different from other roadside assistance plans is perks such as hotel and restaurant discounts.
Credit card company
You might be surprised to find out that you are already covered by your credit card company should you need roadside assistance. Some cards include roadside assistance up to a certain dollar amount automatically whereas others provide you the benefit of discounted roadside services.
Telco and apps
Some cellular carriers and subscription-based applications offer or provide roadside assistance for a fee or even as a perk of membership.
How much does roadside assistance cost?
The cost for roadside assistance can vary widely from less than $20 per month to more than $100 per month. If you go with coverage from your existing insurance provider, you’re likely to find the cheapest price. The higher prices are usually for premium tiers with membership organizations. Premium tiers usually allow you benefits such as farther towing mileage. Bear in mind that you may have to pay extra for things like gas that is brought to you even though there is no charge for the service of bringing the gas.
How many times can you call roadside assistance?
Most roadside assistance companies allow you to make unlimited calls. However, you will probably be limited in the number of service requests you are allowed. For example, a AAA member is allocated four service calls per year in which someone comes out to your vehicle.
Can I use my roadside assistance for someone else?
Sometimes you can use your roadside assistance for someone else, and sometimes you can’t. It depends on who you purchased your coverage through. If you’re a AAA member, your coverage is tied to the person, so you can use it even if you’re a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. If you purchased your coverage through your insurance, it’s tied to your vehicle, so you cannot use it as a passenger in someone else’s car. To know for certain whether you can help someone else with your coverage, call your roadside assistance company.
Is roadside assistance worth getting?
It’s never a bad thing to have a professional to call for help in case of an emergency, but there may be situations in which the benefits of having roadside assistance do not outweigh the costs. Here are some things to consider in your decision to purchase roadside assistance.
- Cost: How much does the service cost? Does the provider negotiate discounts on my behalf? Do those discounts counterbalance the cost of the service? Keep in mind that the average cost of a car tow is between $75 and $125.
- Age of my car: How old is my car? If it’s new, it may already be covered by a warranty. If it’s older, it may be more likely to break down. AAA reported that cars 10 years old or older are twice as likely to break down as their younger counterparts.
- Car usage: Do I drive a lot and spend a lot of time on the road? Do I have a long trip coming up? Do I frequently drive to new places?
- Stress: Am I going to worry if I don’t get it? Will I feel better if I do?
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself the age-old question – is it better to have something and not need it or need something and not have it?
24/7 365 assurance
Even the best-maintained cars can wind up with a flat tire or a dead battery. Roadside assistance provides 24/7, 365 assurance that help is always nearby.
With 24/7 Roadside Assistance that provides towing, tire changes, gas for refueling, locksmith services, and jump-starts, Life360 helps you make sure your family gets where they need to be safely and on time.
That’s why Life360 is trusted by more than 25 million members worldwide.