Picture yourself driving down a quiet country road (or a major highway), enjoying the views and cranking the tunes, feeling the freedom of the open road. Suddenly, your car emits an alarming sputtering sound, and before you know it, it comes to a complete halt. Your heart sinks, and panic sets in as you realize you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. What do you do now?
This is where roadside assistance coverage can save the day. Roadside assistance is like having a guardian angel on standby, ready to come to your rescue when you’re facing totally unexpected car troubles.
Let’s look at what roadside assistance coverage typically includes and why it’s a nice-to-have and often necessary part of your car insurance policy.
What is roadside assistance coverage?
Roadside assistance coverage is a valuable add-on to an auto insurance policy that provides assistance and support when your vehicle experiences a breakdown, malfunctions, or becomes immobilized due to a whole number of reasons. Whether you have a flat tire, run out of fuel, experience a dead battery, or face more complicated issues like engine trouble, a simple call to a verified roadside assistance provider can be a real lifesaver.
What does roadside assistance coverage include?
The specifics of roadside assistance coverage vary depending on the insurance provider, where you live (or where you’re driving) and the level of coverage you select.
Most standard roadside assistance plans typically offer the following:
- Towing: If your car cannot be fixed on the spot, roadside assistance will arrange for a tow truck to move your vehicle to the nearest qualified repair garage or your preferred mechanic.
- Battery Jump-Start: If your car’s battery dies, roadside assistance will come to your location and jump-start your vehicle to get you back on the road. In addition to jump-starting your vehicle, some plans offer battery replacement services if your battery is flat-out dead.
- Flat Tire Assistance: If you have a flat tire, roadside assistance will send someone to replace the flat with your spare. If you don’t have a spare tire or the issue is more complicated, they may tow your vehicle to a repair shop.
- Fuel Delivery: If you run out of fuel, roadside assistance can deliver a small amount of fuel to wherever your car is — just enough to help you reach the nearest gas station.
- EV Charge Down: Some roadside assistance services now offer specialized support for EVs and may either provide portable charging services or arrange a tow to the nearest charging station.
- Lockout Service: If you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle, roadside assistance will unlock your car so you can get back in.
- Winching: If you get stuck in a ditch, on a muddy road, or in the snow, roadside assistance can send someone to help you get your car unstuck.
- Minor Mechanical Repairs: In some cases, minor on-the-spot repairs may be available — like replacing a headlight bulb, fixing a stuck horn, or replacing a hose.
Why is roadside assistance coverage important?
Having roadside assistance coverage can make a huge difference when you find yourself in a tough spot on the road. Here’s why it’s nice to have this safety net in place:
- Safety: Knowing that you have roadside assistance coverage to turn to in emergencies provides peace of mind and reduces stress while out on the road — especially in unfamiliar or potentially unsafe locations.
- Convenience: Dealing with a breakdown is no fun, but roadside assistance can streamline the process and get you back on the road faster.
- Savings: Without roadside assistance, you might end up paying hefty fees for towing and other emergency services that coverage could take care of.
- Available 24/7: Roadside assistance operates around the clock, so no matter when you encounter a problem, help is just a phone call away.
- Versatility: Whether you’re on a road trip, commuting to work, or simply running errands, roadside assistance coverage applies wherever you go.
Is roadside assistance built into every car insurance policy?
Roadside assistance is not typically included in standard car insurance policies in the United States. However, many insurance companies offer it as an optional add-on (for an additional cost) or as part of a comprehensive coverage package.
Generally, roadside assistance packages include some combination of the following:
- Basic Assistance: This covers the most common breakdown scenarios like towing, jump-starting a dead battery, flat tire assistance, and fuel delivery.
- Extended Towing: Some plans limit the distance they’ll tow your vehicle. An extended towing distance package allows for longer tows, which can be useful if you vacation by car or commute long distances.
- Trip Interruption: This helps with car rental, lodging, or dining expenses incurred if your car breaks down while you’re far from home.
- Concierge Services: This is a more high-end roadside assistance package that offers help making hotel reservations, booking flights, arranging alternative transportation, and more.
Also, some car manufacturers or third-party companies offer standalone roadside assistance plans — an alternative to adding it to your car insurance policy.
Get back on the road quickly with roadside assistance coverage
Having car problems is problematic enough, but roadside assistance can turn a stressful situation into a manageable experience. It’s a small investment that can yield immense peace of mind, ensuring you’re protected and cared for while behind the wheel.
Speak with a Guided Solutions insurance agent to understand what coverage options are available to you and if roadside assistance can be added to your policy.