Tips on Roadside Assistance Plans
Driving down a remote road during a rain storm can be unnerving. The constant sound of rain hitting your car, as wipers rhythmically move back and forth on your windshield is stressful. Children wanting attention from the back seat combine with a distant a flash of lightening, followed by the sound of thunder to provide serious distracts. Suddenly, a dashboard light come on and begins to blink. You feel your car slow down, and then then it stalls completely. Your repeated attempts to start the car fail. You’re stuck. This is the time is when having a good roadside assistance plan could make a big difference in your life.
A person with a roadside assistance plan has the option of staying in their car during a storm and simply calling for help. Their vehicle may be towed to a dealership, or the nearest mechanic. It might just need some gas or a simple repair. Because of the technology installed in a modern car, people don’t even need to know their location. With the use of their cell phone, they can summon assistance. They don’t even need to know their location, because technology will enable help to find them.
There are a wide variety of roadside assistance plans available. Some come from car manufacturers, credit card companies, cell phone companies, insurance companies, as part of a club memberships as well as auto clubs. Each one should be closely evaluated to see if it fits an individual’s situation.
Car Manufacturer Roadside Assistance Plans
Today car buyers are able to obtain a roadside assistance plan from most manufacturers. Most times is comes with the car’s warranty. Since these plans change from one manufacturer to another, they must be read carefully. There are some agreements that cover trip interruption, and will provide up to $1,000 for this as well as a small amount of gas, access to a locksmith service and more. Other agreements only provide service based on specific incident such as a warrantable mechanical condition.
Honda only provides roadside assistance to their customers who purchase their extended service package. The plan they offer provides many good options. Everything from rental car and trip reimbursement, to emergency cash advance, airline ticket help and more is covered.
Chrysler’s roadside assistance that’s provided with their new-car warranty only covers towing for a warranty-related issue.
General Motors recently provided roadside assistance as a part of its warranty. People who purchase GM cars are covered for roadside assistance for five years, or 100,000 miles, depending upon which milestone is reached first.
People who own a Porsche are able to have the nearest dealership dispatch a Roadside Response Team to them. This team will do everything from bring a loaner wheel if needed, to help with a lockout, jump starts and more. They’re just not able to provide a tow.
People who own a Mercedes-Benz can have roadside assistance for their car no matter how old it is, or how many miles are on it. Things such as trip interruption reimbursement and towing are only offered on newer cars that are covered by their warranty. Otherwise, no matter what the condition of the Mercedes-Benz, the owner can get roadside assistance coverage from their car’s manufacturer.
Today’s cars are technologically advanced. Many times simply speaking with a dealership technician on the phone can help a person to do some simple troubleshooting, and then get back on the road. With the advanced computer systems on cars, a lockout can be handled remotely with a simple call from a cell phone. Many times a remote scan can be done of a car’s many sensors, which will identify a problem that can be easily fixed, or provide information for the person on their way to help.
If there is ever some confusion as to what is exactly covered by a roadside assistance plan, it’s usually listed in the warranty booklet or another bit of paper a person receives with their owner’s manual.
Today there are a wide variety of companies and organizations that offer roadside assistance programs.
Credit Card Companies
There are credit card companies that provide a roadside assistance plan for their customers who have their higher end cards. They may also provide it for a fee with their standard credit card programs. The customer may have to pay this fee annually.
Cell Phone Companies
There are even roadside assistance programs offered by cell phone companies. Any offers for a free roadside assistance program from a cell phone company should be looked at very carefully. Cell phone companies have been sued by customers who claimed to be billed for a free roadside assistance plan. Certain programs offered by cell phone companies necessitate that all assistance calls can only be made from the cell phone with the plan.
Some insurance companies offer roadside assistance plans. Unfortunately, there are insurance companies that handle roadside assistance calls the same as they do accident claims. If a person uses the plan too often, they may experience an increase in premiums. A person’s coverage could be at risk if ChoicePoint, who tracks insurance statics, is informed.
Membership add-on plans
The number of organizations such as AARP and Sam’s Club offering reasonably priced roadside assistance plans is increasing. These plans usually operate by being contracted out to other companies that provide roadside assistance nationwide.
One of the oldest and best recognized roadside assistance auto clubs is AAA. Its extensive reach spreads out to over 75 different regional auto clubs. People who are members of AAA are able to have their car towed to a mechanic’s garage, no matter the distance. Members also have the option of having their car taken to another location within a specific distance. These options are determined by a person’s level of membership. AAA is are set up to inspect a mechanic’s garage, and will handle any complaints from one of their members in regards to a certified auto repair facility.
An auto club that is growing in popularity is Better World Club. It provides its members with environmentally based coverage, such as bicycle roadside assistance. Members receive discounts on rentals of hybrid cars as well as the ability to make payments to renewable energy programs and more.
Deciding on a roadside assistance program can be overwhelming. There are a wide range of options, levels of coverage and many details to consider.
It’s important to know your amount of driving, type of car and routes often taken before considering a plan. Ask about the cost of a basic membership, and what it offers. Find out the limits of the plan, such as how many tows are permitted annually for each household member. Know the number of reimbursed service calls, as well as how many are covered by a membership.
Choosing a roadside assistance plan is not easy. The reality is that once a person knows exactly how they’re covered, they worry less when bad things happen to them on the road. Most people will recover the cost of their plan by making just one emergency call.