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Drive a lot? Consider buying roadside assistance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drive a lot? Consider buying roadside assistance

Charles Essmeier
July 20, 2006

It can be frustrating to have your car break down on the highway. Few people will stop to offer help to disabled drivers. You may not have a cell phone with you, so you’ll have to walk to find help. And even if you do have a phone with you, how likely are you to know the number of a nearby towing service? All of these things combine to make a bad situation worse. A good solution, particularly if you spend a lot of time driving, is to pay for a roadside assistance plan.

A roadside assistance plan is a form of insurance. You pay for the service from a variety of sources; you might even buy it from your car insurance company. The annual fee that generally costs less than the cost of a single tow can be quite a bargain should you be unlucky enough to have a breakdown as the cost of towing a car even a short distance can easily amount to $100 or more. If you live in a rural area where services are not readily available, roadside assistance could save you several hundred dollars on just a single breakdown.

Here are a few sources you might consider for buying a roadside assistance plan:

  • Your car insurance company – Most provide basic towing services for a small annual fee added to the cost of your regular premium. Rates vary from company to company, but towing service can often be had for as little as $10 per year.

  • AAA – The American Automobile Association includes roadside assistance as part of their basic annual membership. The cost varies, but typically runs between $40 and $80 per year. The services they offer are not limited to towing; gasoline, repair of flat tires and even locksmith services are available should you lock yourself out of your car or run out of gas.

  • AARP – The American Association of Retired Persons offers a roadside assistance plan for members. The cost is similar to that of an AAA membership, and you must be at least 50 years of age to join.

    If you spend enough time driving, you will eventually have a breakdown while on the road. It isn’t just the province of defective auto lemons; it eventually happens to all cars. It would be nice if everyone could plan when and where to have a breakdown, but that just isn’t possible. It is, however, possible to be prepared for those types of emergencies. A roadside assistance plan is an inexpensive way to make sure that you and your car can be towed to safety in case of a roadside emergency.

    ©Copyright 2006 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including LemonLawHelp.net, a site devoted to information regarding lemon laws for automobiles and Car-Insurance-Help.net, a site about car insurance.



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