Roadside assistance plans can help you to rest easy, knowing that you have a company to call and rely on should your car break down on your journey. But are roadside assistance plans worth the money?
It can be challenging to make financial decisions based on what might happen, so this guide is designed to talk you through the benefits of roadside assistance and whether it’s worth investing in a roadside assistance plan to cover your vehicle.
What Is A Roadside Assistance Plan, And What Does It Cover?
A roadside assistance plan is a standard and basic program that ensures you can access assistance should your vehicle break down on the road.
You will need to check with your policy provider and read their literature on the matter. Still, often a roadside assistance plan will only cover your vehicle if it breaks down in a location that is a significant distance from your home. Generally, if your car is less than half a mile from your home, you will not be able to recover the vehicle with roadside assistance.
Roadside assistance will ensure that you can access the following services should your vehicle break down on the road:
- Repairs – if possible, a vehicle repair person will travel where your car has broken down. They will carry out the necessary maintenance to ensure your vehicle is running again.
- Towing – if the mechanic cannot fix your car at its current location, then you will be able to get your vehicle towed to the nearest garage to be fixed. You must check to ensure your plan covers towing in addition to repairs.
Roadside assistance can help to ensure you can recover your vehicle if you break down on the go. Towing and repairs will cost you a significant sum should you need roadside assistance without a plan.
Personal vs. Vehicle Cover
Depending on the situation, there is a significant distinction between personal and vehicle roadside assistance cover that could impact whether you can access assistance.
Here are the definitions of personal cover and vehicle cover:
- Personal cover – covers you no matter which vehicle you’re driving. So, if you break down while driving another car, you can still access assistance. You can extend your cover policy to cover your family, and you can also be a passenger in the vehicle, given your providers’ regulations. It will not be covered if you aren’t in your car and another person is driving it.
- Vehicle cover – covers the vehicle. So, no matter who is driving the car, they will be able to access roadside assistance. This cover is the best option for those who drive only one car. You should invest in vehicle cover if you plan to lease your vehicle.
Traditional vs. Insurance Cover
Another vital distinction to note when deciding which kind of roadside assistance plan is right for you is whether to choose a traditional or insurance-type cover:
- Insurance cover – with insurance-type roadside assistance cover, you will have to pay the upfront costs for any repairs or towing required and claim back the amount from your provider later.
- Traditional cover – with standard cover, you simply receive all of your plan’s benefits once you have paid the fees.
What Doesn’t A Roadside Assistance Plan Cover?
Your roadside assistance plan may not cover all issues you encounter on the road. Some examples of things providers don’t often cover:
- Running out of fuel.
- Road accidents – are usually handled by your insurance provider.
- Breakdowns caused by human error (i.e., filling up your car with the wrong fuel type)
- Breakdowns with animals or pets.
- Breakdowns due to a car that isn’t roadworthy.
- The costs of replacement parts.
According to Luke Hancock, fleet manager at Bin There Dump That USA, having the peace of mind that you have a backup is a game changer when it comes to trouble on the road.
Are Roadside Assistance Plans Worth It?
Ultimately, yes. Although roadside assistance is usually one of the more basic cover plans, it can still help access roadside assistance without incurring hefty costs. Having your car repaired on the side of the road or paying to have your vehicle towed can be very expensive.
Covering these incidents is in the best interest of drivers who do not have the savings or resources to finance vehicle recovery independently. You may wish to opt for add-ons or a more extensive plan that covers more breakdown situations just to be sure (for example, you may opt for at-home assistance to ensure you can have your vehicle repaired or towed from your home).
You need to ensure that you can cover both your vehicle’s cost and insurance and breakdown cover, particularly if you do not have significant savings or earnings to cover emergencies, and if your car is continuously breaking down, it’s a good idea to know when to speak to a car dealership or a lawyer – this could mean your car is a lemon and you might be entitled to compensation.
Roadside assistance coverage is a serious consideration for those who do not have hundreds of dollars readily available to recover our vehicles. Roadside assistance cover can help you to ensure you do not get into debt due to expensive recovery charges. Consider whether you can afford roadside assistance coverage or whether you need to re-evaluate the financial risks that come with owning a vehicle.