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Should You Buy Roadside Assistance Through Your Car Insurance Company?

Alexa Goyette

At some point in your life, you might need to get roadside assistance. Maybe you got a flat tire, ran out of car, had your car break down, or skidded on ice and hit a guardrail. No matter the cause, your car is stuck and you need some help. Immediately after running into this issue, you’d probably think to call AAA to tow your vehicle. However, AAA and similar services are usually more expensive than simply purchasing roadside assistance through your insurance company, a feature that many insurance buyers don’t know much about.

Most of the big auto insurance companies offer a roadside assistance add-on that can supplement your policy. Although most people would save money by purchasing this feature, it’s not the best choice for everyone. If you currently don’t have roadside assistance through your auto insurer, could this be the right choice for you?

What It Covers

Roadside assistance almost always covers the following: dead battery jump starts, flat tires, moving your car so it is no longer stuck, fuel delivery and car lockouts. Check with your insurance company to make sure they will cover each of these features.

More: Compare car insurance rates

How Insurance Companies Charge for It

A majority of auto insurance companies charge for roadside assistance with an added expense to their customers’ monthly premiums. These rates may increase or decrease based on the make and age of the car. Allstate is the only large-scale insurer that does things differently. Rather than adding the roadside assistance feature to its customers’ bill, Allstate charges for roadside assistance when it needs to be used. That means Allstate customers might never need to use this feature, but if they do, they’ll simply see a spike in one premium payment.

How Does It Work?

Some insurance companies offer an app for its customers to use in case they’re in need of roadside assistance, but all insurance providers have a hotline they can be reached at. Once you call the hotline, your insurer will arrange the tow truck and repairs. All insurance companies’ hotlines are available for 24/7 support, so you’ll never be stranded.

What’s the Catch?

If you have full coverage car insurance, you should be in the clear. Most car insurance companies require their customers to have collision and comprehensive car insurance in order to add on the roadside assistance feature. Although most insurers advise its customers to invest in at least one of these types of car insurance anyway, many people don’t invest in anything other than liability insurance, as this is the only one required in most states. If you don’t already have collision or comprehensive insurance, adding on this type of coverage will increase your monthly premiums.

Roadside Assistance Without Your Insurer

If you choose not to add roadside assistance onto your auto insurance policy, you’ll need to be a member of AAA or a similar service. These companies should cover the same types of services that your auto insurance company offers. The biggest difference you’ll see if you decide not to use roadside assistance with your insurer is the price. AAA oftentimes costs more than adding roadside assistance to your insurance company. However, you can get discounts by being a member of AAA or a similar service, so you might save money on other fronts. Like most insurance companies, AAA charges its members to have the service for a period of time, even if the customer does not need roadside assistance at all; unless you are a customer of Allstate or certain small-scale insurance companies, this will be the case for you.

In conclusion, adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy is worth it in most cases. The only times it isn’t worth it is when the customer doesn’t have collision or comprehensive insurance and doesn’t plan on purchasing it. Also, if the customer believes that he or she will utilize the AAA discounts frequently, it might be the smartest move to stick with AAA. Otherwise, most people will save a substantial amount of money by purchasing roadside assistance through their auto insurance companies. Get in contact with an insurance agent to see if you would benefit from adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance company.