Skip Navigation LinksNorCal Cars > Articles > Buying Vehicle Insurance > Automotive Roadside Breakdown Assistance

Understanding Car Roadside Breakdown Assistance

Despite the increasing reliability of modern vehicles, breakdowns are still a common occurrence. From minor electrical and mechanical faults – broken batteries, poor starter systems, and other high-stress low-cost issues – all the way to highly expensive breakdowns and repairs, millions of drivers are plagued by on-road breakdowns and unwanted mechanical malfunctions every year.

Of course, it's not limited to car drivers either. Roadside breakdowns are common for motorcyclists, truck drivers, and owners of almost every type of road-worthy vehicle. Often, the breakdowns occur well outside the reach of mechanical shops and gas stations, leaving car owners with no choice but to either tackle the problem on their own or invest in car roadside breakdown assistance.

Roadside assistance is available as part of a number of insurance packages, or as an individual assistance package. Car owners will likely want to take care of it as part of their standard insurance package, saving administrative time and cutting down on the amount of work in the event of a claim or query.

It's wise to look for insurance policies that include roadside assistance as part of their coverage. Not only are they generally less expensive than individual roadside assistance packages, but their all-in-one design makes it more simple to submit claims or call for help. When you're lost on the side of the road, convenience becomes important, and a quick phone call is often the difference between a successful journey and an overnight inconvenience.

For this reason, it's best to look for insurance packages that include road assistance in all states. Major roadside breakdowns occur most frequently on long-distance journeys, particularly those that span multiple states, and being out of range for roadside insurance can be a major inconvenience. Most national insurance providers will be able to service your vehicle no matter what state or region it's located in, and even smaller providers are likely to be part of a larger roadside assistance network.

Once you've found an insurance company that offers roadside assistance, it's worthwhile to invest in a policy that fits your needs. Some motorists are unlikely to require detailed roadside repairs or mechanical assistance, and merely need access to a support vehicle or towing company. Others, particularly frequent long-distance travelers, may need access to a full roadside repair team.

Another point of difference is between motorcycle roadside assistance and car roadside assistance. On a per-mile basis, motorcycles can require significantly more maintenance than their four-wheeled counterparts, leaving motorcycle owners with breakdowns that are frequently larger in scale than a similar car breakdown. Thankfully, a range of motorcycle-only roadside assistance packages are available, providing motorcycle transport, basic repairs, and roadside insurance that's specifically tailored for motorcyclists.

Most roadside breakdown assistance packages are affordable, offering detailed and valuable service in exchange of monthly or weekly payments. However, there are still some features to look for, and some other features to look out for. The first is a toll-free assistance number. Believe it or not, some insurance companies operate on a toll-enabled line, requiring their mobile customers to pay cell fees and calling costs to make a simple insurance or roadside assistance claim.

The second is a detailed, skilled, and qualified roadside breakdown team. While a range of companies offer roadside insurance options, quality and staff training can vary between them. It's best to look for a roadside assistance provider that knows your type of vehicle extensively. For this reason, many motorcyclists choose to go with a motorcycle-only roadside insurance provider, and many sports car owners pick performance-based insurance.

Finally, motorists should look for roadside insurance groups with a wide breakdown and assistance support area. A number of smaller insurance providers lack the resources to cover wider areas, and simply provide car roadside assistance in their local area. While worthwhile for in-town support, this type of service typically isn't of any use to long-distance motorists and frequent highway travelers.

This leaves motorists with two options. The first is to look for a smaller insurance provider that's part of a national roadside assistance network. The second, and most popular option, is to seek insurance coverage from a large company. Offering advantages in both service and cost, larger insurance providers typically have access to a large network, a range of different services, and can offer roadside insurance for almost any national location.

Roadside assistance was once a one-off thought for many drivers, but it's now a fundamentally important part of vehicle insurance. There's often no warning as to when a breakdown or severe mechanical problem may strike, and with roadside insurance on your side, even the most major roadside breakdown can be treated quickly, easily, and very conveniently.