If you find yourself stranded on the highway due to a mechanical breakdown or an accident, it will be a great relief to know your vehicle can be towed safely to a repair shop or your home, hassle-free.
So it’s a good idea to check in advance if towing to a destination of your choice is covered by your auto insurance policy – and whether that covers mechanical breakdown as well as accident situations.
Then, if the worse does happen, it’s one less thing to worry about.
It may be that your auto insurers will offer you a deal where they combine another company’s roadside assistance with your auto insurance for a lower subscription than you could get by going directly to the company offering roadside assistance.
That is the sort of valuable advice you get from an experienced insurance broker, like the ones you see on this page.
Alternatively, it would be worth it for your peace of mind to subscribe to a roadside assistance program like the American Automobile Association’s ‘Towing Coverage’.
Whatever way you arrange your roadside assistance it’s always a good idea to check in advance how any towing will be accomplished.
For example, some companies will dispatch their own tow truck to your vehicle no matter where it is and tow it to the nearest repair shop.
On the other hand, other companies leave you to pay for your own tow and reimburse you later. In this situation the companies usually have an upper limit on how much they will pay – usually around $50.
But, although you will have to pay any extra yourself, it does mean you have more flexibility in regard to where you are towed. So it means you can choose to be taken to your regular repair shop rather than some unknown mechanic.
If you do have towing coverage as part of your auto insurance it’s a good idea to check the scope of this, because it might only cover you for towing after an accident, as part of the repair of the vehicle, and not for mechanical breakdown, in which event you’ll have to arrange this separately.
Even if you don’t actually have specific coverage for towing on your auto insurance policy, your vehicle can still be towed to a repair shop if it’s involved in a collision or other type of covered accident.
That’s because towing is an essential precursor to getting the vehicle repaired.
Of course, you will need to have collision coverage which covers repairs if you are at fault in the accident. But if the other driver is at fault, their insurance will pay under their basic liability policy.
If your vehicle needs to be towed to the shop after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood, then you will need to have comprehensive coverage to take care of that.
Generally, your insurers will reimburse you with whatever you’ve paid for being towed, provided you have the relevant policy – either collision or comprehensive cover. But the payment will count towards your deductible.
However, it’s often the case that a repair shop will collect the car from the scene of an accident without charging at the time and then simply add the towing charge into the general repair bill, so you’ll end up not paying.
If your auto insurance company does not pay for towing due to mechanical failure, it might well be to your advantage to join a specialist automobile club – like the AAA, for example, and pay a monthly subscription. That’s because motor clubs often offer a wider range of roadside assistance than just towing: for example, changing flat tires or bringing gas if you run out or starting your vehicle if the battery goes flat.
It could also be worth your while to check if your cell phone provider has a roadside assistance plan.
Some mobile phone companies do offer a roadside assistance program within your phone plan, whereby you can add the subscription to your regular monthly phone bill for a few extra dollars. That could be cheaper than going direct.
There is usually a limitation on the number of times you can take advantage of the service within a particular time frame.
However you arrange your roadside assistance, you should always keep the phone number for the service in your mobile phone so that you can dial it at any time.
It’s also a good idea to scan your membership card and keep a print out of it in your wallet in case you need to call from another phone.
Then you’re ready for whatever life throws at you.
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