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What Is Roadside Assistance in Car Insurance?

car with hood up broken down and person on phone calling for help

Roadside Assistance is an emergency backup plan when drivers finds themselves stranded for any number of reasons and need help. With the best roadside assistance plan, someone with the proper training and equipment will come to help you get back on the road. 

You’re not going to want to, but consider the following scenarios: 

  • You get in your car in the morning before an important client meeting, and you’ve got a dead battery. 
  • A hissing radiator just left your teenage daughter stranded on some lonely road in an unfamiliar part of town sometime after midnight. 
  • With a car full of kids, your spouse just fell victim to a hit-and-run driver, and the vehicle is now nose-deep in a snowbank. 
  • Remember that dead battery before your client meeting? You finally got it jumped, but it left you in such a rush that you locked your keys in your car in another city. 

What’s really scary is that each of these scenarios is so common that you and your family can just about count on at least one similar instance or emergency at some point in your driving lives. That’s why there’s a car insurance benefit on the market known as roadside assistance. 

Most major car insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an option to their car insurance plans. You can think of roadside assistance as coverage that provides peace of mind to policyholders and other drivers and passengers in their families. The next time you or a loved one are stranded at the side of a lonely road, in a parking lot, or even in your own driveway or garage, you’ll be glad you have this emergency service. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

What Kinds of Services Are Offered Through Roadside Assistance? 

Mainly services that are designed to get you back on the road quickly, such as a battery charge, a gasoline delivery, a flat tire change or other minor fluid services. If all else fails, an emergency roadside assistance plan will provide a tow to the nearest, or your preferred, repair shop. 

car getting towed by towtruck

If you consider the various ways you or a loved one might have been stranded at some point in the past, it’s likely that most of those awful occasions would have been covered by a typical roadside assistance car insurance benefit. 

The idea is that the driver with this coverage (or a loved one) can simply call a toll-free phone number to report the need for assistance, and then help is on the way. It’s that simple. 

The insurance company contracts with service providers who can send help 24/7 to charge a battery, deliver gasoline to a thirsty tank, change a flat tire, pull a vehicle out of snow or mud, or provide a tow to a service garage. 

You can even call for covered help if you’ve lost or locked your keys in your vehicle in your driveway or garage or while parked in a rapidly emptying shopping mall parking lot after closing hours. 

The point is that your roadside assistance benefit should make you feel more secure any time you have an inoperable vehicle anywhere and for any reason. If your car isn’t running, your roadside assistance will make it operable or get you to a garage where it can be properly repaired as soon as possible. 

How Much Does a Cheap Roadside Assistance Plan Cost? 

At the high end of a basic roadside assistance plan, less than a quarter a day. The cost of having someone at your beck and call with much-needed emergency help isn’t much, but it depends on how much coverage you want. Most insurance companies charge anywhere from $16 to $120 per year for a roadside assistance plan – again, depending on how much coverage you want.  

Who Should Have Car Insurance with Roadside Assistance? 

It’s helpful for everyone who drives, but drivers with older cars, families with young, inexperienced drivers, and those who drive a lot are good candidates for a roadside assistance plan. 

Just about anyone can find themselves in an unanticipated emergency that leaves their vehicle dead on the road or otherwise disabled when they need it most. That said, some vehicles are likelier than others to leave motorists stranded. If your car is older or it’s starting to rack up mileage and repair bills, you might be a particularly good candidate for this coverage option. 

You might find roadside assistance to be a mandatory policy add-on if you have teen drivers. In the first place, your youngest drivers might not be behind the wheel of your family’s most roadworthy vehicles. Maybe they bought their own modestly priced older vehicle in fair shape at best, or they’re driving the oldest vehicle in the family fleet. 

Furthermore, your young drivers might not have much experience with changing tires, charging dead batteries, or driving in snow. They might be more likely than anyone else in the family to be driving late at night when help isn’t always readily available. 

Yet another hot market for roadside assistance coverage includes those who put a lot of mileage on their vehicles. Does your job depend on frequent car travel? Do you have a challenging daily commute? The more you drive, the likelier you are to be involved in some kind of an incident.  

Are There Any Restrictions or Limitations on Roadside Assistance Coverage? 

Yes, most roadside assistance plans have limits. Every roadside assistance plan is different, with varying restrictions and limitations. This is where you’ll want to have an in-depth conversation with your independent insurance agent. 

For instance, there will probably be a maximum towing distance as a component of your plan. Beyond that, you’ll be charged per mile. There might also be restrictions on how often you can call your service. 

You’ll want to determine whether you see your roadside assistance program as something you might frequently need because of the age and condition of one or more of your vehicles or a benefit to hold for ultimate security but with little expectation that you’ll often need it. 

Either way, your roadside assistance benefit should greatly increase the confidence you and others in your family feel any time you’re behind the wheel, day or night. 

Find Low-Cost Roadside Assistance Online Today 

Depend on your independent insurance agent from Freeway Insurance to help you shop for an affordable roadside assistance program as part of your cheap auto insurance policy. Call us at (800) 777-5620, meet with an agent at a Freeway Insurance office near you, or get a quick online roadside assistance plan quote online today.  

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