You’re driving alone on a two-lane country road when the night sky above you begins to fill with ominous clouds. The wind picks up and trees start to bend and sway.
Suddenly, a huge tree limb snaps free and falls in the road directly in front of you! You slam the breaks and are forced to swerve to avoid hitting it, landing you deep in a drainage ditch on the side of the road.
As you get out of your car to survey the damage, you realize your car is stuck and tiny raindrops start to fall. It starts raining harder.
You look around at the bleak landscape. There’s not a house in sight. Should you walk in the rain until you find the nearest town? Or should you wave down a passing vehicle at the risk of them not having your best interests in mind? Then suddenly … you remember that you have roadside assistance insurance! Just a cell phone call later, a tow truck is on the way.
This is a good example of why it’s a good idea to consider purchasing roadside assistance insurance. Many things can cause you to be stuck in a lurch and you never know when, how or under what circumstances it could happen.
What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?
Roadside assistance insurance can cover everything from unlocking your car (you left the keys inside again!) to pulling you out of a ditch. Essentially, it assists you when you’re out on the road so that you can either get rolling again or need to tow your car if it’s not drivable.
Here are the services most widely offered under roadside assistance:
- Locksmith services
- Tire change
- Battery jump
- Refilling radiator
- Gasoline and oil if you run out
- Labor for repairs
However, the exact coverage can vary from company to company and plan to plan. Also, be sure you know if the plan covers the driver or the automobile. For example, one plan may cover you, regardless of which car you’re driving. Another may cover your automobile itself, regardless of who is driving.
But perhaps more than anything, your service should be fast and reliable. Roadside assistance does you little good if it takes 10 hours to get a tow truck or a battery jump when you’re broken down on the side of a dangerously busy interstate. Make sure the service has a 24/7 toll-free number to call and an excellent reputation for responsiveness and timeliness.
Who Needs Roadside Assistance?
Probably every driver could benefit from a roadside assistance plan at some point, but some drivers need it more than others. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking at purchasing a roadside assistance plan:
Do you routinely drive far away from home and familiar places?
If so, a roadside assistance plan would give you an extra measure of safety. Just one phone call could put you in touch with reputable service people if you have an automobile emergency in an unfamiliar or remote area.
Do you routinely drive in sketchy or high-crime areas?
A roadside assistance plan enables you to remain in the safety of your automobile while someone is sent to help you. You don’t have to risk being outside your car to change a flat or jump a battery.
Do you know much about automobiles?
Anyone who is essentially unfamiliar with their car’s inner workings should consider a roadside assistance plan. A professional mechanic might be undaunted by battery trouble, but an inexperienced teenage driver might be.
How physically capable are you of dealing with an auto emergency?
Anyone who is chronically ill or has serious physical limitations should definitely purchase a roadside assistance plan for safety reasons.
Would you just feel better having a roadside assistance plan?
It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.
What Do You Need to Consider in a Roadside Assistance Plan?
As with other types of insurance, roadside assistance plans do have limitations and restrictions. A few things to consider:
- Any maximum amounts on the policy such as the maximum the plan will pay for a lockout service.
- Maximum tow distances.
- How often you can use the service.
- Which drivers and which automobiles are covered.
The good news is that roadside assistance is not terribly expensive, and there are many different places you can purchase coverage. Organizations such as AAA offer this service, and your auto insurance company probably already has a plan that you can simply add onto your existing coverage. (If you go with your current auto insurance provider, be sure to find out how your premiums would be affected by adding their particular plan)
Roadside assistance plans are available for motorcycles as well as automobiles. So whether you are driving two or four wheels, roadside assistance policies can provide a great measure of safety and reduce driving stress for relatively few dollars.