Is there anything worse than dealing with your car breaking down while on the road? Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons why that can happen; from tired and worn out batteries that refuse to come back to life after a pit stop to punctures, overheated engines or sometimes even fairly major problems which could take days to fix.
Nobody wants to be stuck on the highway or side roads with a broken down vehicle. It can be dangerous, you have places to be already, and if you have the kids with you it’s even worse. It’s at times like this that you are glad of the breakdown policy you have paid monthly without fail, after all, at least it will only take a quick call to have someone on their way to fix things up, right?
Well, maybe, but it would be a risky move to take anything for granted, and to be honest, after you have broken down is not the most sensible time to start asking the right kind of questions.
When you have a car that won’t go you want more than guaranteed roadside assistance, you want help to be immediate too; and simply having a breakdown policy in play doesn’t necessarily mean you will get either.
Don’t risk getting stuck if your car breaks down while away from home – protect yourself by taking a look at these tips on how to ensure you can access immediate roadside assistance should you ever need it.
Tip #1 – If you want an annual assistance plan read the small print before purchasing
The idea of being protected 24/7 is comforting, but the reality can be quite shockingly different. Most plans offer tiers of service, each priced to cover the very basic, then rising in cost as various extra options are added to the package, so make sure you have opted into those you think you would appreciate having access to. Otherwise, you may find out that:
- your car is not covered if it breaks down within a certain number of miles from your home address.
- that locking the keys inside doesn’t qualify for a call out under your policy.
- that the number of calls for roadside assistance you can make is limited per year.
- that a repeat call for the same problem within that policy year may not be covered.
- that your recovery isn’t a priority unless certain conditions are met, (such as having small children along with you or being classed as a vulnerable adult after a certain time of day) – so there could be a very long wait.
Assistance policies can be amazing things, so long as they provide what it is you are looking for. If they don’t then they are simply a false economy.
Tip #2 – Do some research and collect your own emergency help resources
This should only take an hour or two to do, and by actually looking for recommended companies, and then calling them to check they offer the service you require, you can leave the house knowing you have numbers for trustworthy, local towing and roadside assistance businesses who you can trust to provide immediate help should the situation arise where you need them. No fuss, no monthly fees, just good old fashioned honest service. If you are traveling interstate you can do the same for the rest of your route, unless local companies have connections elsewhere in the country.
If you decide to join a standard breakdown service as a way to get roadie assistance following a breakdown watch out for hefty additional charges which tend to be applied.
Tip #3 – Download some relevant apps
There are several free apps around for both Android and iOS devices which connect to 365 days a year, 24/7 roadside assistance which can be accessed as and when you actually need help. There are no ongoing fees or hidden costs – you simply pay as and when you need to call them out. As you’d expect from a modern, techie option like this you can track the movements of your assistance provider as they head towards you, and also share the tracking link with your contacts so they know where you are, and what is happening, in real time.
There are several apps around to look at, and they offer a good alternative to traditional roadside assistance programs providing they do actually deliver on what they promise. As always, it’s important to do your homework ahead of time, so you can be sure that all types of roadside assistance provider you consider are well reviewed.
Tip #4 – Don’t forget to let people know you require immediate assistance
It may seem obvious, but if you are calling any kind of roadside assistance provider make it clear that you are looking for immediate help. You may need to add extra details, perhaps that you are alone, or traveling with small children, or have a health condition which requires regular attention. A genuine rescue or breakdown company will not make promises they cannot keep retiming for callouts to those who have self-identified as needing priority assistance, leaving you free to keep calling to find someone who can help right now.
Some last thoughts
We all know it pays to keep your vehicles in good condition, with regular checks of all the basics like oil, water, tires, brakes, lights, battery and so on, plus regular servicing and dealing with any issues at an early stage rather than letting them go and leave you vulnerable to a breakdown. It is equally important to feel confident you have some solid leads on where and how to get immediate roadside assistance from a trustworthy and reliable source, should you ever find yourself needing it.
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