About Roadside Assistance
If you have never been stranded with your car on the road, you may be wondering if roadside assistance is worth it. But when you consider that about 69 million vehicle breakdowns (that’s roughly 1 of every 3 drivers!) occur every year, according to Agero, roadside coverage starts to make a lot more sense. Here’s the rundown on some things to consider that can help you answer a question perplexing many drivers: Do you need roadside assistance?
What is Roadside Assistance, and What Does It Cover?
Roadside assistance is a group of special services you can count on to “rescue you” if your vehicle has mechanical problems or you end up in another covered automotive emergency. Here are some general examples of when you might call roadside assistance for help.
- You’re in need of a tow
- You’re locked out of your vehicle
- You’ve run out of gas
- You’re lost and need directions
- Your car needs a jump-start
- You have a flat tire
- You have some other mechanical issue
Remember, the details of roadside coverage vary from company to company, so be sure to read what services are included before you buy. Many plans, like the one Direct Auto offers, provide 24/7 coverage, meaning you can get help anywhere at any time.
Ways to Get Roadside Assistance
When choosing a roadside assistance plan, you have several options, including:
- Through your insurance company: One of the easiest ways to get roadside coverage is by adding it to your auto policy.
- Through an auto club membership: Membership options, like through a motor club, are an option, but is typically more expensive than insurance-provided roadside assistance.
- On a pay-per-use basis: Some companies, like Allstate, offer pay-per-use models for people to use on an as-needed basis with no existing policy required.
- Cell phone provider, car manufacturer, or credit card company: Some cell phone companies, auto manufacturers, and credit card companies provide roadside services to their customers. However, you might be paying per use and there could be limits (like miles driven). Read the terms so you’re not counting on them when you shouldn’t be.
Is Roadside Assistance Required?
Roadside assistance is not a state minimum car insurance requirement like liability coverage (required in almost every state). But if you want to ensure you’ll have help available when you encounter a problem on the road, roadside assistance could be a necessity for you. You might prefer the peace of mind a roadside assistance plan provides over the cost of coverage.
How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost?
Costs for Roadside Assistance vary across companies and membership levels. A roadside assistance plan can cost anywhere from a few dollars each month (like one through Direct Auto) while others could cost you several hundred dollars a year.
Adding roadside assistance to your car insurance policy is usually cheaper than purchasing an auto club membership plan, and while there are credit card companies that offer roadside assistance benefits, they usually involve a flat fee for each service. Compare rates and services across all your options, and if you’re a Direct Auto customer or interested in becoming one, contact Direct Auto to learn more about getting a Roadside Plan.
Is Roadside Assistance Worth It?
Roadside assistance can offer peace of mind, convenience, and safety to help you keep driving wherever you go. When you consider that many common services you might need on the side of the road or in a parking lot (like lost key/lockout service and towing) can easily set you back $100 or more, a few dollars each month for roadside coverage doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, the roadside coverage Direct Auto offers typically pays for itself after just one use. For example, as a member, you’re covered for 24-hour emergency towing services meaning you would not have to pay out of pocket for towing services in the event of a roadside emergency because that service is covered up front. Paying out of pocket for services is almost always going to be more expensive than adding roadside to your insurance policy or purchasing a membership.
Should I Get Roadside Assistance?
If you are 100% sure that nothing will ever go wrong on the road, then probably not. But then again, how many of us can predict the future? Paying for roadside coverage is ultimately a personal decision, but here are some things to consider.
- How much you drive: The more often you drive, the more likely you are to eventually have a breakdown or blown tire.
- If you travel a lot: Taking road trips can be full of anxieties, like getting lost or hitting heavy traffic. You might not want to add the fear of breaking down and being stranded on the side of the road to the list. Roadside assistance can show up for you whenever and wherever you need it, even if you’re far from home.
- How reliable your vehicle is: While it won’t help you avoid a flat tire, a dependable vehicle that doesn’t break down might make you more inclined to forego roadside coverage. If you have an older vehicle that is more prone to breakdowns and doesn’t warn you when your keys are in the car, roadside might be a good investment.
- How handy you are: If you know how to jump-start your vehicle or change your own tire, you can avoid some scenarios that would leave others stranded or waiting on roadside assistance. However, some mechanical issues might be too much for you to fix on the side of a highway, so roadside coverage could still be a good investment.