Various variations of a frustrating incident— you have an important meeting at your office and when you are still 10 kms away from your destination, your car suddenly breaks down. Or, you are going to Lonavala to ring in your birthday with your friends when your car’s flat tyre spoils all the fun. And the last one, you are returning from a week-long vacation when suddenly the low fuel light of your car starts beaming and unfortunately, there is no petrol pump nearby.

All these situations are enough to panic your soul. The sad part is that, no one can predict these incidents which arise unexpectedly to shock you. An important step that you can take at this point is to call up your car insurance company. But can you do that? Of course not, because you do not add roadside assistance rider to your car insurance policy!

What is roadside assistance?

A roadside assistance cover is like an add-on attached to a main car insurance policy which offers a multitude of services in case a car meets with an accident or there is a breakdown. It means, if you encounter any of the above situations, the insurer would assist you with a series of services. Though, you are required to pay additional premium to attach this rider to your main motor insurance policy, the most important thing is that it is highly affordable.

What can you get under roadside assistance cover?

Services which are covered under roadside assistance rider are:

  1. Flat tyre: Despite keeping your tyres in a good shape, still there is a possibility of flat tyre. If you have a roadside assistance program, the insurer will send a mechanic to replace the flat tyre at a breakdown location.
  2. Towing assistance: If your car is immobolised after an accident or due to mechanical/technical fault, the insurer tows your vehicle freely to a garage. This service is given when the roadside assistance provider fails to make car drivable again. Usually, towing assistance is available up to 50 kms and beyond that, the insurer charges extra amount.
  3. Arrangement/supply of fuel: If the insured car runs out of fuel, the insurance company supplies emergency fuel to the spot of breakdown.
  4. Battery Jump-start: If the battery of your vehicle is weak or dead, the insurer will arrange an on-spot mechanic who will either jump-start and/or provide you with an alternate battery.
  5. Arrangement of spare key: If keys of your car are lost, the insurer will either arrange for spare keys from your home/office or tow the vehicle to your place.
  6. On-spot technician for minor repair: If the mechanical fault is minor, the insurer will send a mechanic to take care of any on-site repair work.
  7. Taxi-benefit: In case of breakdown, the insured gets taxi services till his or her office/home, while the insurer’s representative tows the immobilised vehicle to a repair centre. Some insurers offer free taxi service benefit up to 50 kms from the breakdown location and charge extra for the journey beyond that limit.
  8. Arrangement of Accommodation: In case your vehicle breaks down or meets with an accident, the insurer will offer free accommodation up to Rs 5,000. Note, this benefit is available only if the accident/breakdown location is more than 100 kms away from the address mentioned in a policy document and the vehicle repair time is more than 12 hours.
  9. Message relay: In case of emergency, the insurer facilitates rallying of messages to family members/colleagues.

Should you add roadside assistance rider to your main car insurance policy?

Let’s have a look at some of the different parameters on the basis of which you can decide whether you should add this rider to your policy or not:

  1. Vehicle Age: A new car owner can think of avoiding this rider as there are fewer chances of break down due to technical/mechanical fault. Also, in most of the cases, car manufacturing companies offer complimentary roadside assistance services usually for the first few years or thousand miles, whichever reach first. However, if your car is old, it makes sense to go for a roadside assistance
  2. Comfort: Every service available under this rider will save you from the trouble of locating the nearest repair centre. You might be arguing that in today’s time of smartphones and tabs, finding a repair centre is not a mammoth task. But trust me, it is painstaking, especially if you are stranded on an isolated road during wee hours or when there is a bad weather. If you want to have all the comfort and convenience, go with a roadside assistance program.
  3. Travelling distance: If your daily commuting is within a small radius of where you live, you can easily reach out to someone in case of mishap and thus, you can avoid this rider. However, if your daily travel is long distances or you take your car to unfamiliar weekend jaunts, go with a professional service provider to handle any unpleasant surprises.

Remember, even if you have a roadside assistance cover, it doesn’t mean that the insurer will take care of all the expenses. The liability under this rider is limited only to facilitating the process, like arranging fuel, towing the vehicle to a nearby garage, etc. The actual cost of services, like fuel, in this case, has to be paid by a policyholder.

But still it is useful!

Though, some services are chargeable, you should add roadside assistance cover to your main car insurance policy to make your entire car commuting easy and hassle-free. And most importantly, you can depend on your car insurer to bail you out from any untoward situation.