Locked in car keys, a burst tire, dead battery, or running out of fuel in the middle of a traffic jam. These occurrences can happen to any of us at any time leaving us stranded. Thankfully, there is roadside assistance.
A solid roadside assistance plan can become a lifesaver.
Importance of roadside assistance
Imagine you are driving around in an unfamiliar territory, and suddenly, your car stalls. Without roadside assistance, it’s easy to stay stuck by yourself, without any help, waiting for hours for a Good Samaritan to appear. But with roadside assistance, you don’t have to worry. A simple phone call ensures that professional help is sent out for your rescue including emergency response.
As such, every driver should consider having roadside assistance. However, it’s an even more crucial service for specific categories of drivers including;
- New licensees and young drivers;
- Elderly persons;
- Parents with small children/infants;
- People living with disabilities;
- Drivers with vehicles over 12 years old;
- People living in remote areas;
- Long drive commuters and long-distance road trippers.
Roadside assistance programs do vary with many providing services including;
Battery jump-starting: This includes restarting your dead battery or replacing the dead one with a new one at an extra cost.
Towing: Providers take your car from where it has stalled to a mechanic near your specified distance. Note: If the car is towed past its limit destination, you may incur extra charges.
Punctures: This includes a professional replacing your flat tire using your spare one. They may also bring a spare one for you if you have more than one puncture.
Fuel-delivery: Roadside assistance will provide enough fuel to enable your car to reach the nearest and safest gas station. In case this service is separate, the latest local petrol prices will apply.
Locksmith and lockout services: This includes helping you to open a locked out car door. Lockout services include unlocking the door using a long-reach or pump wedge tool while locksmith services include duplicating new car keys.
So, ready to get roadside assistance? Here are things to consider when looking for roadside assistance.
The service list
This is the first thing you should consider. Don’t assume a company provides the services you desire. Pay attention not only to major services like towing or flat tire repair but also minor ones like bringing you a new battery or offering minor repair services.
The array of services provided should satisfy your needs regardless of your vehicle type and roadside assistance needed.
The service areas/locality
Most roadside assistance covers a certain territory and radius. This is the applicable number of miles your roadside assistance will offer services before charging you for extra miles. Some companies may provide an extra three miles before charging per extra mile, which can get expensive.
Consider choosing a roadside assistance company that provides flexible services within the geographical area that meets your requirement.
For example, opt for roadside assistance that covers multiple counties, where you may frequent. Go local if you don’t usually drive out of your region. It saves money.
Availability is vital. Choose a roadside assistance company that is available and ready to rescue you 24/7. Accidents and unwanted road mishap are unpredictable; you may get a flat tire at midnight or a dead battery during harsh/inclement weather. You don’t need your roadside assistance shutting you out during such times.
Consider roadside assistance with flexible working hours, including catering for emergency needs whenever they happen.
Knowing the cost is important in choosing the ideal provider. Don’t just opt for the lowest priced, instead choose a company with outstanding referrals, reputation and is moderately priced.
There are various options for purchasing roadside assistance. Most popular manufacturers and car insurers provide roadside assistance coverage as an add-on option, or you can purchase from independent companies.
Bundling up your roadside assistance with your other car services and from the same provider, will offer you cost-savings and convenience.
Remember, even if the cost is a vital factor, your pricing decision should be based on additional features and various coverage levels. For example, independent companies provide added perks like travel discounts, theft monitoring and vehicle inspection, but it’s more expensive.
Ask for the cost breakdown to prevent surcharges during towing and hidden fees during repairs.
However, your credit cards may offer the cheapest option of roadside assistance programs as a complimentary perk, but they often provide minimal services.
Exceptions and Accidents
Roadside assistance coverage provides wonderful rescue during non-life-threatening emergencies, but they don’t act as a substitute for serious emergencies or car insurance.
If involved in an accident, dial 999, call your car accident lawyer, and follow accident protocols to avoid being charged with accident violations.
Besides, understanding your roadside assistance benefits exceptions will minimize misunderstandings. For example, during a car break down, your roadside benefits will cover the towing cost, but anything else, including repairs, is your responsibility.
Reputation & proper licensing
Never underestimate your preferred roadside assistance reputation and their past experiences. Hence, you need to understand their working style, customer feedback and reviews. Knowing what other clients say about your potential roadside assistance provider will differentiate between shoddy and reputable companies.
The reviews will enable you to choose a qualified company that is aware of its client’s entrusted responsibilities.
Ensure your roadside assistance provider has proper licensing, including comprehensive insurance, in case your vehicle gets damaged while in their possession.
If you are stranded by the side of the road, the safety of everyone in your car should be your first priority. Remain within the safety of your car until roadside assistance arrives, use flares, emergency lights, reflectors or flags to warn other drivers.
Roadside assistance provides loads of benefits for most drivers ensuring peace of mind. Choose one with an array of services that fully caters to your needs.