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Guide To Roadside Assistance Insurance (Do You Need It?)

Rarely does anyone consider roadside assistance or roadside assistance insurance until they find themselves stranded somewhere, wishing they had it.  While it is not required by law as part of your insurance policy, roadside assistance insurance is the one auto insurance policy you are most likely to need, and that everyone either has or wishes they had at some point in their lives.  Here’s why.

What Happens When Your Car Breaks Down

There are many instances where your car will be rendered undriveable.  What’s more is, it’s guaranteed to be at a time when you need it the most, or at a time when you will find yourself saying, “I really don’t need this right now!”.  

Whenever you can’t start your car, or for whatever reason it becomes undriveable, assuming you are more than 100 feet from an auto body shop and/or you don’t have strong, willing friends to help you push it there, you will need to call a tow truck.  Tow trucks typically charge you by the mile to take you wherever you need to go, so if you don’t have any insurance, you may find yourself at the mercy of your situation when it comes to how hard you will be hit in the pocketbook for their services.  

What is Roadside Assistance Insurance?

Roadside assistance insurance is exactly what it sounds like: auto insurance that covers the cost of getting you out of a sticky situation when it comes to your car and the fact that it will not move any further down the road.  Roadside assistance insurance can be a stand alone policy you have through a company such as AAA, or it can be a part of your overall auto insurance coverage.  It’s worth checking over your current insurance policy to see if you have it, how much of it you have, and whether it’s more expensive/comprehensive to get through your current provider or as a separate policy.  

What Does Roadside Assistance Insurance Cover?

Roadside assistance insurance comes in handy in a myriad of unexpected, stressful situations where you’ll either wish you had it, or be incredibly thankful you do.  Some of these include: 

System Failures

That check engine light you’ve been ignoring, a car battery that isn’t working because you left your lights on, or your car failing to start because of something to do with whatever that mystery noise is that happens when you turn your key in the ignition.

Running Out of Gas

You waited too long to stop at the gas station.  Maybe you thought you had another 10 miles in emergency fumes, but you didn’t, and now your car is slowing down in the middle of the highway. 

A Flat Tire

You ran over something sharp, or you had a blowout.. Either way you are now missing a key part of your car that you need in order to drive it.  And low and behold, your spare tire either isn’t inflated, or you lack the tools/space/skills to change it out. 

You Got Locked Out of Your Car

You left your car keys in the ignition (again).  You will need to call a locksmith to get your door open again. (This may or may not have been a chronic issue with the author in college.)

You Had An Accident

One of the most common reasons; you had an accident, and your car was damaged in just the right way to make it unsafe/unable to be driven. 

Often, your policy will cover the cost of these calls and more, up to your plan limit.  You may also be covered for a certain amount of miles of towing, either to the nearest auto body shop or to wherever you need your car to go.  Some policies even cover legal defense costs (up to a certain amount), and bond should you be arrested in a traffic violation (again, up to a certain amount).  

Don’t Wait For An Emergency

Even if you don’t need roadside assistance insurance, it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!