Can I get roadside assistance near me?
One way to get roadside assistance is using AAA, a nationwide organization familiar to many people. Another standard option is including roadside assistance with your car insurance. Each option has benefits; the purpose of this article is to help you decide whether to include this coverage in your policy.
What is roadside assistance?
If you’ve been driving for a few years, you know things happen on the road. Sometimes you experience minor events and sometimes significant events, but these events have one thing in common: you’re stuck. Whether it’s a dead battery in your driveway or a flat tire on the side of the road two states away, you need help getting your vehicle operating again.
If you choose to include roadside assistance with your car insurance, you have access to the help you need. Please know this coverage will not pay for repairs or parts; the key word is “assistance.” The following are some typical scenarios and how this coverage will help.
Your battery is dead
Maybe someone left an interior light on overnight, or the headlights get left on too long. All you know is that the battery in your car doesn’t have enough juice to start your engine. Roadside assistance can provide a jump to your battery, allowing you to continue on your trip. The coverage will not pay for a new battery, only to jump-start your battery.
You run out of gas
There must be something wrong with the gas gauge because you would NEVER let your tank get so low that you run out of gas (ok, am I sharing too much?). Yet you are on the side of the road with insufficient fumes left to get you to a gas station. Roadside assistance can help by bringing you some fuel to get you to the nearest station.
You will need to pay for the gas, which typically will not be covered by insurance. That’s not a problem since you would have paid for the gas anyway if you had not run out of gas.
You have a flat tire
You ran over a nail and punctured your tire. Did you forget to change out the winter air (sorry, couldn’t resist the cringe-worthy “Dad” joke)? Regardless of the cause, your tire is flat, and you can’t get where you need to go.
If you have a spare tire in your vehicle, roadside assistance can send someone to change that tire for you and get you rolling again. The coverage will not pay for a new tire or even to repair a tire, but getting the tire changed can get you back on your way.
Lock your keys in your car?
Not every car has an app that allows you to unlock your vehicle. Not every car has a feature that won’t let you lock the door if a key gets left inside. The feeling of looking in the window and seeing the keys lying there is discouraging. So close yet so far.
Roadside assistance might be able to send out a locksmith to your location and get you back on your way. The service would not pay for a new key fob or lock change, but it might pay for the experts to arrive.
Your battery is not dead, you did not run out of gas, none of your tires are flat, and you are not locked out of your car. But your vehicle breaks down, and you need it towed somewhere for some form of repair. Roadside assistance can provide a tow truck that will take your vehicle to a repair facility.
Each insurance company will have different guidelines on how far they will pay for towing. It might be fifteen miles or fifty miles or some other distance. You can have the vehicle taken anywhere you can convince the tow truck driver to drive. But the insurance company will only pay for a certain distance, and you will pay the rest of the cost if you want it taken further.
Should I include roadside assistance in my car policy?
This optional coverage is typically very inexpensive, so it can be helpful to include in your car insurance policy. Knowing you have coverage to assist you can be comforting when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
However, you need to be aware of the potential impact of using this coverage. Anytime you use any portion of your policy, the insurance company considers that a claim. To be very clear, making a claim on your insurance policy is not a problem.
What is essential to know is that making repeated claims is a problem. To use an exaggerated example, let’s assume that you had a flat tire last week and used this coverage. Then this week, you ran out of gas and called again. Next week you leave your lights on and need your battery jumped.
Those are three separate claims, and the insurance company may consider that a trend. At a minimum, this will lead to higher costs for you. Depending on the number of claims, the insurance company may decide not to renew your policy.
Also, having the other option mentioned at the beginning of the article, or one like it, is something we strongly suggest you consider. If you call AAA in the above scenario over three weeks, that will not impact your insurance rates.
Being so inexpensive is why you include it in your policy; when you are stranded, and AAA is not around to help. Trying not to use the coverage will help keep your insurance costs down. We have this conversation with clients frequently when they are shopping for insurance. More information about that process is in the article how to get car insurance.
How can I get roadside assistance added to my car policy?
Adding roadside assistance to your auto policy is easy. Simply give us a call or complete the contact form below and we’ll help you add it to your coverage.
In order to add this feature, you must have at least comprehensive coverage for the vehicle. That applies to any car you want to add roadside assistance to.
Not a car insurance client yet? We would be glad to discuss your options. To begin, tap the ‘Get A Quote’ button below, and one of our insurance professionals will contact you!