How to Pick Roadside Assistance Plans: Everything You Need to Know
The global roadside assistance market is expected to reach $38.5 billion a year by 2028. As cars become more complex to repair, it is becoming less feasible for drivers to fix them on the spot. So how can you ensure you get the right coverage for the best price?
There are a number of considerations to take into account. Read on as we help you pick roadside assistance plans that suit your needs.
Are You Already Covered?
Before you do anything, check the small print and benefits of your recent purchases. Roadside assistance coverage can often come bundled into a number of other packages. You may have forgotten about it or you may not actually know you have it.
Many new cars or certified used vehicles may have a roadside assistance provider included with the warranty. This will last for the length of the warranty, and can even run alongside extended warranties if you have purchased them. Auto insurance plans and even credit card agreements may have them included.
Reimbursement vs Service Provider
Roadside assistance plan options come in two basic models. These are the reimbursement and service provider methods.
Reimbursement is much more basic. You have to arrange your own methods of towing, repairing, and changing tires. Your receipts are then submitted to the company and they pay you the money back.
While these plans sound like a hassle, they can be beneficial. If you only drive in a small town or locale and have a pick-up expert on hand, then you can save money with his type of plan. The only downside is you need the money when you call for roadside assistance, and many people can underestimate the large cost of recovery.
A service provider model is a more traditional approach. With this, you call for roadside assistance and are sent someone to assist you. Many will provide apps so you can track the service provider and get an estimated time of arrival.
Where to Get Roadside Assistance Plans
There are a number of places you can get roadside assistance plans. It pays to shop around in advance. Prices can vary depending on how and where you get your plan from.
Direct From Organizations
Going direct to providers is often the most comprehensive way of getting coverage. Many of the plans here will apply even if you are in someone else’s car. If you rely on driving for your job or have multiple vehicles, they are the best bet.
The result is that they can cost a lot more than going through an insurance firm or one bundled with a warranty. However, they will come with travel protection and discounts. This roadside assistance membership coverage is an all-in-one solution for all your family protection and is well worth checking out.
Many roadside assistance coverage plans are offered with auto insurance policies. While they offer great value, it is often hard to assess the small print and modify plans. Many of them also stick with the reimbursement method of payment.
In some cases, you can contact the insurance company and ask for coverage even if you don’t have a plan. If you can save money by switching plans and going for the combined bundle, then do so.
It is rare that a new car does not come with roadside assistance coverage. This will usually last the length of the warranty, around four to five years. As it is often at no additional cost, you should check what it covers in case emergencies do occur.
Credit Cards and Cellphone Providers
Both of these providers may offer roadside assistance plans at a low additional cost or none at all. Check the terms and conditions for these as they often have limitations and are not the most comprehensive.
What to Ask Providers
When searching for a policy, it will quickly become apparent they’re not all created equal. In fact, they can be extremely different in their provisions. Below are the main factors that you should check.
Can I Cover More Vehicles?
When searching for a provider, you can often get discounts by including more cars. These can even include company and rental vehicles. Check with the provider how much this additional coverage costs.
What Are the Limitations?
Your plan will have an amount specified in the small print regarding how many call-outs you can make per year. If you drive long distances, you may wish to get this increased. This obviously results in a marginally more expensive policy.
Limitations are also placed on towing distances. For example, you may not be able to get towed to a location closer than three miles, or one further away than 100 miles. If this is a problem you may need to ask for an adjustment to the policy.
How Easy Is the Service to Use?
The least you would expect is a charge-free number you can call. For many, this should be a 24-hour service.
Other companies may offer more interactive or modern methods, such as mobile applications. These allow you to track service providers and estimated arrival times. Some manufacturers even provide a device you can call direct with, though this is gradually being phased out.
How Much Do Plans Cost?
There are too many variables to give an exact amount and cost. You can expect plans to be approximately $40 to $60 for a standard plan in the first year. Some comprehensive plans with added extras can end up costing hundreds of dollars.
On the flip side, some plans can come for free if bundled with credit cards or insurance. You just need to check they have the right level of cover for you.
Pick Roadside Assistance Plans
Now you know how to pick roadside assistance plans, set a budget. Take time to shop around and see what the best value is from different providers.
If you found this article useful we have many more to help. From maintenance to buying a vehicle, we can help get the most from your car in the coming year.