Understanding Your Roadside Assistance Options

Automotive Articles

When you're stuck on the side of road because your car is suffering from a dead battery, empty gas tank, or even accident-related damage, few reassurances bring as much comfort as the knowledge that help is on its way. Every vehicle owner should invest in some type of emergency roadside service -- but what are your options, and how do they stack up against your future needs? Here are some of the primary sources of roadside assistance to consider.

Your Auto Insurance

Auto insurance not only provides essential financial protection in the event of collisions, vandalism and accidents, but it can also extend a limited form of roadside assistance. In most cases this amounts to reimbursement for towing expenses, covering a set number of miles per tow and a set numbers of tows per year. This might be all the roadside assistance you need if you:

  • Live in urban areas where a nearby repair shop is never more than a few miles away
  • Own a reliable, recent-model car that receives regular maintenance
  • Rarely deal with accidents, burglaries, or other incidents

Insurance-provided towing will get your car to a suitable "first aid station," but it won't do much to get you back on the road right then and there -- and if you exceed the towing allowance, your premium might go up. It's best used once in a while, or when other options aren't available.

Your Cell Phone or Credit Card Provider

If you never paid much attention to all the little optional extras that come with a typical cell phone contract, you'll want to don your glasses for this particular piece of fine print. Leading cell phone providers typically offer roadside assistance for their customers who find themselves in unexpected trouble. They won't replace any major components, but they will tow your car, put gas in an empty tank, change a flat tire, unlock a locked door, jump-start your battery, pull you out of the mud, and provide other relatively simple fixes

One advantage of cell phone roadside assistance plans is that they're quite literally mobile. Whoever has possession of the phone at the time of the incident can receive the service, whether it's you, your family member, or a friend who has borrowed your car. At just a few dollars per month, it's also relatively cheap.

Credit car roadside assistance programs behave much the same as the cell phone programs. For a small monthly fee, you receive the same types of assistance. in most cases, you'll pay varying rates for different types of service calls.

The Auto Manufacturer

Is your car still under warranty by the manufacturer? If so, then you may be covered for roadside assistance similar in scope to that of a cell phone service plan. The nice thing about this arrangement is that you've already paid for it, and you can use it as your sole assistance resource for however many thousands of miles the car enjoys warranty protection (up to 100,000 miles in many cases). The downside is that you lose your roadside assistance the moment your car falls out of warranty -- a moment that can be all too easy to ignore or forget. Additionally, the coverage only applies to that one car, not any other vehicles you may be driving when trouble strikes. 

An Auto Club

Auto club coverage sits at the peak of the roadside assistance mountain, and deservedly so. These clubs charge annual fees, but they deliver a much wider range of helpful options. In addition to all the little things you'd expect, you may also have access to such valuable services as:

  • Reimbursements for major repairs (within a set period time)
  • Money toward your legal defense in an auto-related court case
  • Money toward local emergency room care
  • Coverage of multiple vehicles
  • Coverage of two-wheeled vehicles as well as four-wheeled vehicles (even bicycles!)

Your final choice of roadside assistance plan will depend on whether you already have some form of coverage, how many vehicles you want to cover, how likely your vehicle is to break down, and (of course) what your budget allows. But whatever form of roadside assistance you choose -- it sure beats being stranded!


2 April 2015

use a rental car for family road trips

Are you planning your family vacation for this summer? Are you considering driving to your destination instead of flying so that you can save a little money? Well, driving your own car might not be the best plan. Did you know that you can get a rental car for your vacation and avoid putting all of those miles on your personal vehicle? My site contains tips that can help you choose a rental car for your family vacation and how to plan the trip to keep everyone in the car happy. Hopefully, you can create as many joyful road-trip memories as my family has.