Flat Tire ⋅ Engine Trouble ⋅
Out of Gas ⋅ Lockout ⋅
All of these are issues that may require you to call
upon your roadside assistance coverage or even get a rental car in some circumstances.
If you’ve ever been broke down on the side of the road, you know how scary it can feel and having this protection is a good idea for everyone.
Still, we understand it can be confusing to know how these coverages work. This post will hopefully make it clear so if you ever find yourself in one of these situations, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Most companies offer their own roadside assistance. Each have their own rules so you’ll want to be sure to check with your agent to know what your particular company covers.
Typically however, things like
- changing a flat tire
- short distance towing
- fuel delivery
- jump starts
- lockout assistance
are available with the majority of companies.
The Good: It’s pretty cheap! For most people, this coverage only amounts to a few dollars of their monthly premium. That makes good sense when you compare it to the out of pocket costs for the same services.
The Bad: It only covers a car you own. While that may sound like a “duh!” statement, if you don’t have this on all of your vehicles, you’re not fully protected. Also, not all companies offer a hotline for emergency assistance. If you have “towing and labor”, in many instances you must pay out of pocket for the services provided then submit your receipts to the company to get reimbursed for your expenses. Additionally, when you use the service, it can show up as a comprehensive loss on your claims history.
What We Recommend: Get a AAA Membership. As agents, we all carry a AAA membership for several reasons:
- Get all of the same roadside protection on ANY car you’re in! Even if it’s not your car, your AAA membership will provide roadside if you’re a passenger, borrowing a friend’s car, even if you’re locked out of the house!
- It’s cheap too. There is the upfront membership cost of $59 but that works out to less than $5 per month!
- No out of pocket expenses when you do have a roadside emergency! With AAA, you just call their hotline and services will be sent out to your location. No need to try and find your own tow truck or locksmith while you’re stranded on the road.
- No claims! Use of this service will never show up on any claim reports.
- Plus there are a multitude of additional benefits that have nothing to do with roadside services including discounts on everything from restaurants to prescriptions, free travel guides & road maps (whose dad doesn’t have a AAA atlas in the trunk?), and now they even offer identity theft monitoring with their Protect My ID® service which is free to members!
Car rental can be used in the event of a covered loss. Your policy defines what constitutes a covered loss, but typically covered losses include:
- Hail damage
- Theft or Vandalism
- Collision Loss
If you’re car is out of service due to one of the above, you may need a loaner car to get around until you can repair or replace your car. This is when you can use your rental reimbursement.
If you’ve you’ve opted for the rental coverage, look at your declarations page, for a number similar to this:
That number represents the amount your company will pay each day for you to have a rental car with a maximum dollar amount they will pay for the duration of the time you have that car. Most often when you have a claim, the claims adjuster will set this up for you. You should not have any out of pocket expenses unless you go over the maximum dollar amount. This is nice because it allows you to get the car up front while your car is being repaired or replaced.
The Good: If your car is out of commission due to a covered loss, this allows you to have transportation until your vehicle is ready. The cost for the coverage, like towing and labor, is generally a very small portion of the premium.
The Bad: Not everything situation qualifies as a covered loss. For example, if your car breaks down due to mechanical failure, you can’t use rental car coverage while your vehicle is being serviced.
What We Recommend: We think if you carry full coverage on your vehicle, it’s worth it for the minimal additional cost. However, we strongly encourage you to read your contract with the rental car company as you will be responsible for the vehicle and each company has their own policies when renting, even if it is in relation to a claim.
As always, if you have questions do not hesitate to contact us! We have decades of experience and are ready to help! 402-492-8020