Some type of emergency road services have been around since the first car was driven off the lot over a hundred years ago. Today, consumers have almost too many choices when it comes to figuring out how to handle emergencies while they are traveling.
Many auto manufacturers now offer free road side assistance with the purchase of your new car. This may sound a bit redundant to many car owners since if the car breaks down under warranty, the dealership usually needs to come and tow it back for repairs. However, breaking down completely is usually the least of your problems and the lowest occurrence of on the road complaints when calling for help.
Most emergency road services cover all types of problems from running out of gas to fixing a flat tire. There are many optional services available when you choose your plan and your service provider and of course the more options you choose, the pricier your plan. Some of the options are almost mandatory if you want to get your money’s worth out of the annual membership, however. Options such as free battery charges, and free fluid top offs when they service your car for other reasons are certainly worth the few extra dollars you would pay.
Another option that is worth the money and should be seriously considered is being able to have a two truck take your car to a destination of your choice (usually within 50 miles). Without this, should something happen to your car while you are traveling, you don’t need to be forced into having your car taken to a garage you aren’t familiar with.
Also make sure that you are what’s covered – not just the car! This might sound strange, but your real goal is to make sure you are safe on the road and can get help when you need it. In other words, if you need to borrow your mother’s car and it breaks down, make sure the service provider will still come out to help you. And, if your mother needs to borrow your car, she will be able to call for assistance as well. It works both ways.
As you research different plans, make sure you understand exactly what you are getting for the money you are paying. Are you limited as to the number of visits or service calls? Some plans don’t make it very obvious but if you read the small print you’ll see that you only have three or four chances to make service calls. Also find out if your car can be serviced at your house. Not all problems happen while you’re driving, but some plans just don’t cover home visits no matter what.
Pricing varies greatly. Don’t make your decision simply based on the cost though. Decide what you need and go from there. Do plan on spending about $120 a year for decent coverage. And don’t make the mistake of assuming a new car won’t have any problems. Even brand new tires can blow and transmissions can malfunction.