In 2015, AAA alone reported rescuing more than 32 million drivers across America whose cars had broken down.
As convenient as owning a car is, they will inevitably break down at some point. When this happens, it’s good to know what your options are.
Two of the most-used options are towing and roadside assistance. But what’s the difference between these two? Many people think they’re the same thing.
To help you make the best decision, we’ll explain the differences between towing vs roadside assistance. Continue reading to find out what they are.
What is Towing?
Towing means your car is transported from one spot to another. This is done on the back of a special flatbed tow truck. Generally, this is reserved for when a vehicle is no longer running.
Vehicles might be towed in other circumstances, even if they run properly.
If someone is arrested or the police state the driver isn’t allowed to move the vehicle, a tow truck company might move the vehicle instead. Some use tow services after purchasing a new vehicle so they can get it home before registering it.
The main idea is that towing services are used when a driver can’t or shouldn’t move a vehicle on their own.
Most car insurance companies offer towing services for an extra monthly charge. This may or may not be included with a roadside assistance package. There may be options available for just towing services or roadside assistance packages.
If a person chooses only towing services, they won’t receive the extra assistance that comes with full roadside packages. This works fine for some people.
Others prefer the option to have extra assistance if required. That is, without having to find someone else to assist after the vehicle is towed home.
When Should I Get My Car Towed?
There are several situations where a person might want to get their car towed. The most obvious and common reason is that the car isn’t running.
Cars stop running for a multitude of things. Some of these things can be easily fixed if you decided to get a roadside assistance package with towing. Other items can only be fixed by a mechanic with a full garage and the appropriate tools.
You might also want to get your car towed if it’s a new purchase. It isn’t legal to drive until it has been insured and registered at your local DMV. Towing the car to your place of residence is a smarter choice than risking a drive.
Everything You Need To Know About Roadside Assistance
These inconveniences eventually happen to anyone that drives. So who do you call when it happens?
If you said Ghostbusters, that’s not quite right! Roadside assistance would be the answer.
But what is roadside assistance, and why is it essential for all drivers? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of roadside assistance and show its necessity.
What is Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a service package designed to help drivers with easy fixes. It is a service that comes to your aid when your vehicles breaks down or leaves you stranded. For example, if you’re driving and your car battery suddenly dies, this is where you would call roadside assistance.
What Does Roadside Assistance Do?
Simply speaking, roadside assistance comes to your rescue if you end up being stranded due to a problem with your vehicle.
When you find yourself stranded, call the number of your roadside assistance company and tell them your issue. They will send a mechanic out to assist you and inspect your vehicle.
What’s included in roadside assistance packages varies from one provider to the next. Towing is often provided as part of a roadside assistance package, but it isn’t always. Besides towing, the following items are generally included:
- Battery service
- Flat Tire Service
- Fuel Delivery
- Lockout Service
- Extrication Services
What Is Covered Under Roadside Assistance?
But what are these services actually for? Most policies have strict guidelines on what their roadside assistance packages will cover. Let’s look at the most commonly included services to see what they are.
If your vehicle left you stranded, you’d need to get it to the mechanic. Towing is an option that’s usually included in most policies. Even though towing companies will tow your car to the closest mechanic, keep in mind, there may be limitations on miles, and they could charge extra for driving to a preferred location.
Batteries occasionally die and need to be recharged. With a battery service, you can get your car jumped. This service does not include supplying replacement batteries if yours won’t charge. Most roadside assistance plans help with dead batteries by jump-starting your battery.
Flat Tire Service
In the US, there are 220 million flat tires per year. A flat tire poses a threat to other drivers on the road, so you’ll want this fixed as soon as possible. Roadside assistance will send a mechanic to change your flat to a spare.
This is where a person comes to change your flat tire. They will remove the flat from the vehicle and replace it with a new one that can be driven on.
This service does not include a replacement tire. The person calling must have a spare tire of their own. Spare tires are usually located in the trunk or on the back of some vehicles.
Ever forgotten to get gas? Your car suddenly starts sputtering because there isn’t any more fuel to drive with.
That’s where fuel delivery comes in. With this service, someone will bring you an allotted amount of gas gallons to get you to the next service station.
You might know this as a “car locksmith service.” If you’ve locked your keys in the vehicle, someone will come to help you unlock it. No broken windows are necessary.
This is like tow services, but for a very short distance. Extrication services help you get your car moving again if it becomes stuck.
When might a vehicle become stuck? It could get stuck in the mud, in a ditch, or even in soft sand.
When Should I Call Roadside Assistance?
Only use roadside in an emergency. If you purchase roadside assistance from your insurance provider and call multiple times a year, this shows you as a risky customer. Be cautious and wise about when and how to use roadside assistance.
If you need a quick fix to help get you moving again, you might want to call roadside assistance. You’ll have to verify you have this service.
Besides your car insurance provider, your cell phone provider might offer a package. These packages can also be bought from individual service providers. However, if you have roadside through your insurance, and use it considerably, this does not indicate that your rates will increase.
It’s also important to note that roadside assistance pertains to the owner of the vehicle only. In other words, if you’re driving with your friend, and they get a flat tire, roadside assistance would not cover them simply because you’re present.
Call roadside assistance if:
- You have a flat tire
- Your battery dies
- You run out of fuel
- You’ve locked your keys in the car
- Your car is stuck and won’t move
Where Can I Get Roadside Assistance?
Many insurance companies will offer roadside protection in addition to your insurance policy. Other companies such as AAA are companies that strictly offer the service, and are usually more expensive.
Some cell phone companies like AT&T and Verizon provide roadside assistance also, so check with your provider. A few car companies (not all) offer roadside assistance when you purchase the vehicle, so you could have it and not know. Credit card companies have jumped on the opportunity to serve motorist with roadside assistance as well, some for free like American Express.
Each company has different plans, so be sure to examine the plan before purchasing, and ask questions. Not all providers grant the same services, and there could be restrictions. Typically the plans are all processed as a flat rate no matter your driving history.
Before deciding on a provider, shop around until you find the best rate for the services you think are worth it. Start with your insurance company first and branch out from there.
Is Roadside Assistance Worth It?
The answer to this question is, it varies.
Some instances where roadside assistance would be necessary is if you drive a significant amount of time or your car is more than a few years old.
Older cars tend to break down more often, so roadside assistance could be a worthy investment.
If you drive a great deal, for work or other reasons, having roadside assistance may help, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place.
When one of these 20 common car problems arise, roadside assistance could be there to give you the support you need. Hopefully, this has answered the question, “What is roadside assistance?” and provided some insight. Are going to consider roadside assistance today?
Towing Vs. Roadside Assistance
Many people don’t understand the difference between towing vs roadside assistance. While towing sometimes comes with roadside assistance packages, the two aren’t the same.
A tow service is for when your car won’t run. It helps move your vehicle to a safe spot like your home or an auto mechanic shop.
Roadside assistance is for getting your vehicle moving again. These packages offer assistance for small issues that can be easily fixed.
With roadside assistance, you drive the vehicle away on your own. With towing, the vehicle doesn’t drive and must be transported on a flatbed.
Need a Tow?
Need more information on towing vs roadside assistance? Having car problems and need to get towed? Contact us today. One of our associates will be happy to assist you.