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Almost all drivers have been there. Maybe you’re on your way to work or running some errands when you realize your tire is flat. Or perhaps you’re coming out of the grocery store, and your car won’t start. In either of these scenarios, you most likely had a moment of panic where you were left to wonder how you should handle it and how long it would take to get you back on the road. Roadside assistance is the best way to get you back up and running, and many car insurance companies offer it as optional coverage. However, not all roadside coverage is created equal. Keep reading for the ultimate guide to Travelers’ roadside assistance.
In general, purchasing roadside assistance is a good investment, regardless of price. Fortunately, the cost is relatively minimal compared to what you get for your money. Especially when it comes to Travelers’ roadside assistance. Travelers offers a comprehensive roadside assistance program with two options available to customers; the basic and premier plans.
The basic roadside assistance plan is $144 annually, which amounts to only an additional $12 a month. The premier plan is $240 a year, or $20 a month, and affords the same coverage as the basic. However, the towing mileage increases, a trip interruption benefit is added, and some personal property coverage is offered.
While many companies may offer towing and labor coverage, it doesn’t cover nearly as much, and the payment is substantially different. Some companies only pay up to a specified dollar limit; $40, for example. With the average cost of $5.00 per mile, a towing limit of $40 will only cover an 8-mile radius. In addition, you often need to submit an invoice for towing reimbursement after paying out of pocket, which reduces the benefit of purchasing such coverage. If given the option between choosing towing and labor coverage or roadside assistance, the roadside coverage is often the better bang for your buck.
Travelers basic roadside assistance plan is the more economical of the two plans they offer. While most roadside assistance plans will offer a small allowance for towing mileage and some basic service, Travelers offers the following:
- Towing up to 15 miles or the nearest service station
- Dead battery or jump start (excluding the cost of the battery)
- Gas delivery (excluding the cost of gas)
- Flat tire change
- Car lockout services
- Winching services
All of the above services are covered up to eight incidents a year. This specified number of incidents is particularly significant because many insurance companies do not disclose the number of incidents you are allowed to make in a given term. Instead, they treat each incident as a claim against the policy, which means they either increase the price of your policy as a result or deem you ineligible for continued coverage due to loss frequency. Even AAA only allows four incidents a year, which is half the amount Travelers offers to their customers.
Customers get everything included in the basic plan with a few additional perks with the premier roadside assistance plan. The towing mileage offered is increased to 100 miles from the 15 that the basic plan offers, which is a significant upgrade. The premier plan also offers a $600 limit for trip interruption and $500 for personal property coverage. Trip interruption occurs when you are 100 miles away from your primary residence, and your car is disabled. Travelers will provide $200 per day, up to $600 for hotels, food, and any alternative transportation with the premier roadside coverage.
Personal property coverage is expressly excluded from most auto insurance policies. Suppose your car is broken into and your items are stolen. There is no coverage from your auto insurance policy as these items are covered under your renters or homeowners policy. But with Travelers premier roadside assistance, customers are afforded up to $500 for any damaged or stolen property, which is a noteworthy benefit.
As with any other insurance coverage, there are some exclusions with the Travelers roadside assistance. Specifically, the cost of materials. Roadside assistance will not cover the cost of new tires, batteries, car fuel, or any other replacement parts for your vehicle. It will also not pay for any additional labor or repairs needed. These expenses are part of the general maintenance of owning a vehicle and should be considered when you purchase your car.
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate need for roadside service, contacting Travelers is easy. Simply call their claims line at 1-800-CLAIM33 (1-800-252-4633) and select option 3 for immediate roadside assistance. This line is available 24/7, so you can get the help you need anytime you may need it.How Does Travelers Roadside Assistance Compare to Other Providers?
How Does Travelers Roadside Assistance Compare to Other Providers?
|Travelers Basic||Travelers Premier||AAA Basic||Progressive||State Farm|
|Cost Per Year||$144||$240||$129||$23||$48|
|Incidents Covered Per Year||8||8||4||varies||3|
|Towing||15 miles||100 miles||100 miles||15 miles||Nearest, no limit|
|Winching/ Extrication||√||√||Free if reachable from road||100 ft||Free if reachable from road|
|Car Locksmith||√||√||$100||1 hr||1 hr|
|On-Site Mechanical Adjustment||√||√||√||1 hr||1 hr|
|Fuel Delivery||√||√||Free delivery, Free fuel||√||√|
|Flat Tire Service||√||√||√||√||√|
|Personal Property Coverage||$500|
|Auto/Stereo Theft Reward||$1000 auto/ $400 stereo|
|Legal Defense Reimbursement||$100 – $1000|
|Emergency Electric Vehicle Charging||√|
|Identity Theft Protection||√|
|Passport/ ID Photos||√|
|Products/Services Discounts||Extensive Discounts|
There are many advantages to purchasing roadside assistance coverage through Travelers rather than another insurance carrier or AAA. While many roadside services offer the same basic coverage, there are some notable differences. Compared to their competitors, Travelers cost per year may be a bit higher, but they offer broader options. For example, Progressive’s roadside assistance coverage is $23 a year but limits their winching/extrication service to 100 feet and their locksmith and mechanical adjustments to only one hour. State Farm’s program costs $48 a year but has the lowest number of allowable incidents per year at three and limits your tow to the nearest facility. This means that the shop your car is towed to may not be one you’d prefer or one that is not the most convenient for you. In addition, they will potentially upcharge for winching/extrication and limit certain services to one hour. There are no additional fees listed with Travelers roadside option, but it’s always best to double-check with an agent.
AAA is the most comparable in roadside coverage to Travelers premier option but offers a few more services to their customers. Only slightly less money per year at $129, AAA offers their members the same towing mileage as Travelers premier and some of the same services such as jump start, flat tire, and mechanical adjustments. If you need winching or extrication, it is available for free if the car is reachable from the road. Otherwise, there may be an additional fee. AAA also offers some coverage for trip interruption, but only up to $500, whereas Travelers offers more. But the most significant difference between AAA and Travelers roadside program are the additional features that AAA offers their members:
- $1,000 auto theft reward and $400 stereo theft reward
- Free fuel delivery
- $100-$1,000 reimbursement for legal defense
- Emergency charging for electric vehicles
- Bicycle breakdown
- Identity theft protection
- Passport/ID photos
- Products/services discounts
Notice that AAA offers some personal property coverage to their members, but only for stereos and is limited to $400. For example, AAA will offer you nothing if a $1,000 laptop is stolen from your car, but Travelers would provide $500 towards the replacement. It’s also important to note that AAA does limit the number of incidents per year to 4, whereas Travelers offers twice this amount. This can be especially useful for a family with multiple cars or an individual who is often on the road. A car can break down at any point in time, a battery can die, or a person can lock their keys in their car. If this happens more than four times in a given year, AAA will not allow additional service calls. So if you have multiple cars and drivers or are on the road a lot, a plan like Travelers might be the better option for you.
With the various options available, which roadside assistance should you choose? First and foremost, it’s critical to compare quotes from a few different companies and compare them against the coverage provided. This goes beyond just the roadside option. Contact an insurance agent to discuss your specific needs and what would make the most sense for you. This may be purchasing an insurance policy through State Farm with limited roadside assistance options and becoming a AAA member. Or it could benefit you to purchase a Travelers insurance policy with the premier roadside assistance. It’s always helpful to discuss with an expert to determine the best option for you.
Secondly, consider the financial stability and reputation of a company. How long have they been in business, and do they have the resources to cover any losses you may have? Reading reviews, checking their financial rating from AM Best, or ratings from the Better Business Bureau are all great places to start. Lastly, pay particular attention to who is providing the roadside service. Many insurance companies use third parties for their roadside assistance, which means that the service is not as quick as it would be otherwise. This is where reviews can come in handy. Also, feel free to talk to friends and family about providers they have used for their roadside needs and who they would recommend. Regardless of which company you ultimately choose, roadside assistance is a feature worth considering!