September 13, 2011

What To Know About Car Insurance Roadside Assistance Programs

Roadside assistance is a very popular option on many car insurance policies. The function of roadside assistance is to cover the costs of towing, gas and water delivery and other services that might be necessary if a vehicle suddenly breaks down. Most roadside assistance programs are extremely inexpensive. Many cost less than five dollars per month, and this can seem like a great deal, particularly for drivers who frequently take road trips or spend time driving in new areas. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when considering this special type of coverage.

Many car insurance providers have their own guidelines as to how their roadside assistance programs can be used. They may only cover costs from approved towing companies, or they may insist that drivers contact a customer service representative when roadside assistance services are necessary. This allows the car insurance company to control its costs and to ensure that the roadside assistance program is profitable. Many insurance companies have special arrangements with towing companies that keep costs low, and when a driver calls a different towing company, the insurance company has to pay more than expected for the services. In order to ensure that an insurance company will pay out on a roadside assistance claim, drivers should understand the correct procedure for getting assistance. Otherwise, a claim may be outright rejected or only partially covered by the car insurance provider.

Another important aspect of roadside assistance coverage is the type of services that the add-on will pay for. Most car insurance companies have a fairly broad definition of roadside assistance. They'll pay for towing bills and gas & water deliver regardless of where a driver's vehicle breaks down. Many insurers will even pay for roadside assistance if the policyholder doesn't own the vehicle that he or she is operating. However, some roadside assistance programs may restrict coverage to a certain geographic area or to certain types of services. Again, drivers should contact their insurers to ensure that their coverage will work as expected if a claim ever needs to be made.

Car insurance roadside assistance programs are usually worth the money, especially for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road. A single towing bill can easily cost a few hundred dollars and chances are good that every frequent driver will need roadside assistance at some point in his or her life. However, as with all car insurance add-ons, it's important to understand how coverage will operate in order to get the best possible value from a roadside assistance program and to avoid any unwelcome surprises when submitting a claim.