When your vehicle lets you down by breaking down on the side of the road or won’t start for some reason when you are trying to go somewhere it can be most inconvenient at the best of times. Most drivers won’t know how to fix the problem they are faced with, nor have a mechanically minded person available to call. This is where roadside assistance can help. But what exactly does roadside assistance cover and is it worth the extra cost? Let’s find out.
What Is Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a form of protection for you if your vehicle was to break down. These days most insurance companies sell roadside assistance, state-based motoring clubs like RAC sell it outright and others like AAMI and Allianz offer it as an optional extra with your comprehensive motor insurance. Usually, motoring clubs and car insurance companies will partner up with many third-party businesses that provide towing services and roadside assistance. The actual service provider that comes to your aid will depend on the location where your car has broken down, you will usually get the closest and most appropriate provider dispatched to your location.
Roadside Assistance Services
Here are the most common roadside assistance services provided:
Battery Jumpstart / Replacement
- Roadside assistance service includes jumpstarting you flat battery, the provider will attend with a jump pack and will be able to start most vehicles. Your battery may have gone flat due to leaving the headlights on or something in the vehicle like the radio. Sometimes a flat battery can be caused by something electrical like an alternator and other times the battery itself may need to be replaced. Roadside assistance will generally be able to replace your battery but the battery itself will be at your cost, the installation should be covered by the roadside assistance policy, but this will depend on the policy entitlements.
Flat Tyre / Wheel Change
- Flat tyres can be changed by roadside assistance providers as long as the vehicle is equipped with a roadworthy spare. Providers will generally carry all the tools necessary for changing the tyre with the spare. For those who have no experience in changing a flat tyre, roadside assistance will be of benefit if this situation was to occur.
Lockout / Locksmith
- Roadside assistance can be obtained when you have locked your keys in the car or boot. Special tools are used by these professionals to enter the car to retrieve the key. If the ignition barrel is faulty, the fob is not recognised or the key has been lost or stolen, roadside assistance will generally tow the vehicle to a mechanic, dealer or locksmith. Depending on the policy, locksmiths may also be provided to replace the key or fob if possible, at the site where the issue took place.
Out of Fuel
- If your vehicle has stopped because you have run out of fuel, roadside assistance will normally bring a small amount of unleaded or diesel (approximately 5 litres) to your location so you can then drive to the nearest fuel outlet to refuel. Some roadside assistance policies will provide this emergency fuel at no cost or some at full cost, once again depending on the policy. If you have run out of LPG gas, the vehicle is normally towed to the nearest fuel outlet that provides LPG.
- Roadside assistance can provide professional technicians that may be able to identify problems with the vehicle and provide repairs if the problem is minor. Generally, most problems with cars today are more complex and cannot be fixed on the side of the road. Many vehicles may need to be plugged into a computer to diagnose the fault and this is also not possible to do on the side of the road. If the problem is not minor, roadside assistance will normally provide the towing service of the policy to tow the vehicle to a mechanic or repairer.
- If roadside assistance providers are unable to get your vehicle going, they will tow your vehicle to a repairer or place of safety. You should check the towing limits that will be outlined in your roadside assistance policy. Generally, most roadside assistance providers will only cover a certain amount of kilometres for towing (i.e. 10 kilometres) from the breakdown location to the repairer or destination. If your vehicle needs to be towed further then the distance allowed, you may have to pay the additional excess kilometre charge and these prices can vary. Some other providers will only tow you to the closest available repairer and some others will cover up to 100 kilometres from the breakdown location to a repairer or destination. These all depend on the roadside assistance package you have purchased, it is always a good idea to read the fine print.
Do I Really Need Roadside Assistance Cover?
That is the question, do you really need to have roadside assistance. It’s like anything and how many times are you really going to need it. Some people may use it several times a year because the car they drive may be problematic so it is worth it but then for some they never or hardly ever use it so it is a complete waste of money. You really need to look at the roadside assistance policy you are purchasing as the more expensive policies cover most problems that arise but the cheaper policies will only offer a very basic service and you may need to pay more for a service you thought you already had. In addition to this most roadside assistance providers will charge a premium to join if you need the service urgently, this could be three times the amount of paying a one-off provider for the service required. Most towing companies like us at Executive Towing Services provide towing services and roadside assistance at a one-off cost for the service required. We can bring you fuel, jumpstart your vehicle or provide towing to a repairer for a cost that may be only a quarter of the fee charged for a yearly roadside assistance policy. Do your research before committing to any policy and if you would like to know more information on what services we provide, you can call us on 0410 471 056 or use the contact us form on our website.