Is Emergency Roadside Assistance Worth the Money?
When you get stuck with a dead battery, flat tire or locked keys in your car, emergency roadside assistance can be lifesaving. Many companies offer this service for a small fee or as an add-on to your auto insurance policy.
The best time to purchase this service is when you are buying a new vehicle or during the first year of ownership, according to some experts. This can help prevent costly breakdowns that can happen later on down the road.
You can purchase roadside assistance through your car dealer or auto manufacturer, credit card companies, car warranty providers and car rental agencies. However, it’s usually more affordable to buy the coverage directly through a membership organization like AAA.
A good roadside assistance plan can be worth the money if you regularly drive long distances or often find yourself stranded on the side of the road. But it’s not essential for all drivers, and you may decide it’s not right for your needs.
Costs and Benefits
Roadside assistance plans typically include several services, such as towing, fuel delivery and flat tire changes. Some provide other options, such as jump-starting a dead battery or lockout services.
Some policies also require a membership card, while others offer coverage based on the vehicle you’re driving or anyone in your household who has an enrolled phone. Some policies have annual limits, but you can often make unlimited calls.
Coverage Limits and Excessive Claim Risk
Purchasing a roadside assistance plan doesn’t mean that you’re getting a blank check for any costs that you might incur. Some programs have coverage limits, such as the number of miles you can drive before they start charging you for towing or other services.
It’s also important to consider the geographic coverage of a roadside assistance plan. For example, if you live in an area where there isn’t much of a network of service providers, your coverage might not reach you when you need it most.
In addition to the coverage limits, you might want to look into how many claims you can make per year before your coverage stops. Too many service claims can raise your insurance rates.
You should also know that most roadside assistance plans will not pay for major car repairs. You should set aside an amount each month in a separate savings account for these kinds of expenses.
Who Should Have Roadside Assistance?
Generally, people who drive frequently or who have cars with a high value should purchase this type of coverage. It can also be useful for drivers with older vehicles that don’t receive regular maintenance and may have more expensive parts.
If you are in the market for this type of insurance, talk to your American Family Insurance agent about adding it to your current policy. Or, you can sign up for this service through our mobile app.
Where to Buy It
Various companies offer roadside assistance, but some are better than others. Some offer the service as an add-on to your auto insurance, while others have a separate program that you can access via their mobile or online apps.