Insurance industry insiders often say that, as a policyholder, you often must ask yourself whether your existing coverage still fits the existing environment, your lifestyle, changes in your family structure – such as births – your professional status and your business aspirations. The key element here is to constantly monitor your risks and make sure you have proper insurance for all kinds of risk events. Roadside assistance insurance is one coverage plan that gives you peace of mind knowing that someone, for example, would come to your rescue if you are stranded at 2:30 a.m. on US 45, somewhere in Tupelo, Miss. or at the intersection of I-75 and I-85 in Atlanta, Ga.
What Is Roadside Assistance Insurance?
Roadside assistance means someone saves you from an uncertain highway environment if you are stuck at your present location, typically because your vehicle has incurred a mechanically and structurally damaging blow. In insurance lexicon, terms like "roadside assistance," "emergency roadside repair" and "breakdown cover" mean the same thing. Breakdown cover insurance includes everything from jumpstarting and towing your vehicle to changing your flat tire. Other services include giving some spare fuel to help your automobile make it to the closest gas station, helping you if you are locked in your car, and pulling you and the vehicle out if the latter is stuck in snow. To learn more about roadside assistance insurance, talk to your insurance agent and see what terms and conditions that are applicable to your situation if you were to get such coverage. I have used AAA emergency roadside repair service for years and find it very effective – and fantastic.
Why Would I Need a 24-Hour Insurance Plan?
You need a 24-hour insurance plan – that's, roughly, the other name for roadside assistance insurance – if your job requires you to travel long distances, all the time. Typically, the company would pay the insurance premiums, so you don't have to worry about it unless you own the business. I think you also need breakdown cover even if you are just the Average Joe and don't have a job whose requirements include nightly treks every now and then. I am a great fan of 24-hour insurance coverage because the odds that you would need roadside help at least once a year are high – especially if you are a big traveler – and the repair costs for even one roadside intervention typically outweigh the annual premium you would remit to the insurer.
Is Commercial Roadside Insurance Different Than Individual Coverage
Yes, commercial roadside insurance is more comprehensive, which makes sense given that a company, say, a delivery business, has more vehicles on the road at any given point in time than you or me, who can drive only a car at a time. A typical business breakdown cover policy includes things like:
- Towing up to a set geographical threshold – usually 75 miles or the closest gas station or mechanic's garage, whichever is shorter
- U.S.-placed calls answered and, in some cases, Canada calls
- A limited number of service calls answered each year, after which a specific rate applies
- 24/7 client service
- Provision of services as varied as jumpstart, flat tire, flat tire change and limited fuel delivery
- Help in lockout and lost key situations
How Do I Reduce My Roadside Assistance Premiums?
To reduce your breakdown cover premiums – and all insurance plans, while we're at it – you should try three things: increase your deductible, improve your credit score and overall creditworthiness, and consider an all-in-one or bundle coverage plan.
- Increasing your deductible means that you would dole out more cash before the insurance company does its part and come to your financial rescue if you need emergency roadside repair. This tactic has upfront benefits because you pay lower premiums, but the problem arises when the unthinkable happens and you need roadside assistance service or pay for it. To make sure you don't run out of money when an adverse yet insurable event happens, open a savings account and try to build up a small nest egg by, say, transferring 1% of your take-home pay to a specific savings account each week, fortnight or month.
- Improving your credit score is the right thing to do, whether or not you intend to buy roadside assistance insurance or to reduce premium payments. Your FICO score typically results from myriad factors, running the gamut from payment history and overall indebtedness to types of debt and usage ratio – which is how much you have spent on each credit card divided by your overall credit limit on each card.
- Choosing a bundle coverage plan makes economic sense because you lump all coverage types into one big jumbo insurance plan. That way, you save money because the insurance company gives you great discounts and thanks you for your overall business.
In essence, roadside assistance coverage shows how emergency repair services can influence key forces in your life or business to make you more confident and entrepreneurial. If you know that someone will come to your rescue no matter where you are stuck on a highway, for example, then you could focus on other aspects of your business or life, shifting the risk to the insurance company. Roadside Assistance Insurance 101 touches on things like coverage type, premium reduction, service offerings and commercial roadside insurance.