13 Dec Explaining How Roadside Assistance Works in 5 Simple Steps
Roadside assistance is a useful resource for any driver to have. However, to get the most out of a roadside assistance program, it’s helpful to know the ins and outs of how roadside assistance actually works.
Understanding roadside assistance involves learning how roadside assistance operates, how to get roadside assistance, and what advantages roadside service provides. Keep reading to learn more about how roadside assistance operates and whether it would be beneficial for you.
How Exactly Does Most Roadside Assistance Work?
Roadside assistance is a vehicular service that steps in to help motorists that are stranded by (usually minor) vehicular trouble.
Many of the problems that motorists run into on their commutes, such as flat tires or dead batteries, can be corrected on the road with the right know-how and equipment. This can help drivers avoid expensive towing fees and help get them back on the road faster.
How Do People Pay for Roadside Assistance?
In many cases, roadside assistance is set up as either a rider on an automotive insurance policy or through a third party as a subscription membership.
With roadside assistance memberships, such as AAA, drivers pay an annual subscription for comprehensive roadside assistance services. As part of an insurance policy, roadside assistance usually involves an additional charge on your insurance premiums.
Along with assistance for minor roadside emergencies such as lockouts and flat tires, roadside assistance programs also offer additional benefits at a surcharge, such as travel benefits that extend the roadside assistance coverage of the driver.
How Do People Get Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance can be obtained in several different ways. Here are the methods that people generally use to secure roadside assistance:
- Automotive insurance: Most major automotive insurance companies have some kind of roadside assistance rider for their insurance policies. Roadside assistance provided by insurance may be hit and miss about quality or availability.
- Roadside assistance membership: Many businesses such as AAA provide roadside assistance services in exchange for an annual subscription. These fees can be somewhat expensive, and you may end up paying for services you don’t need or use.
- Pay-per-use roadside emergency services: If you don’t have membership to a roadside assistance club, you have the option to obtain roadside assistance through pay-per-use services like Mach1 or by calling an independent automotive repair shop.
The advantage of using a pay-per-use roadside assistance program like Mach1 Services is that it’s essentially the best of both worlds. You only have to pay for the services you contract, like you would with an independent mechanic. However, you still have access to vetted roadside assistance professionals that you would have with a roadside assistance club membership.
How Does Roadside Assistance Work with Mach1 Services?
With Mach1 Services, roadside assistance can be ordered from independent roadside assistance contractors and vetted mechanics in the same way that you can order food or a taxi from a rideshare service. This network allows consumers to draw on a wide network of independent roadside assistance professionals available to come to their aid.
Mach1 Services doesn’t operate off an annual membership fee that may or may not pay for itself. Instead, Mach1 Services can be ordered through a free app available on either Apple or Android systems. After signing up on this free app, drivers can order local roadside assistance whenever they need help.
Mach1’s software app is one of the biggest advantages of using the service. By providing GPS navigation to roadside assistance techs and a line of direct communication between customers and techs, Mach1 brings a new level of efficiency and effectiveness to the process of lining up roadside assistance. It’s a system that works well for both customers and mechanics, too.
5 Simple Steps to Understanding How Roadside Assistance Works
If you’ve never used roadside assistance before, it might seem like an intimidating experience. Part of that is just the fact that nobody has to contact roadside assistance if they aren’t already in a jam or having some kind of problem with their car. This makes most contact with roadside assistance stressful by default.
Luckily, understanding how roadside assistance works before you need it takes a lot of the mystery and stress out of the exchange. Having a roadside assistance option ready to go in case you run into trouble can make any trip more relaxing. These are the five simple steps you need to follow to understand how roadside assistance works.
Learn How to Get Roadside Assistance
To understand how roadside assistance works, you need to make sure that you have access to roadside assistance in the first place. The last thing you want to have to do when you’ve just had a breakdown or a flat tire is figure out where your roadside assistance will be coming from. This situation is complicated even further if you’re in a remote area.
Even if you already have roadside assistance through your auto insurance policy or a roadside assistance membership, it’s still a good idea to download Mach1 Services since this pay-per-use roadside assistance app is free. This immediately gives you an additional option for roadside assistance if you have trouble at no extra cost.
Learn How to Use Roadside Assistance
After you’ve signed up for roadside assistance, the next step to understanding how roadside assistance works is to learn how to use it. Even if you don’t need to activate your roadside assistance for months or years after you sign up for it, it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with the mechanics of how your chosen roadside assistance service works.
Here are a few tips for learning how to use roadside assistance:
- Familiarize yourself with the app. Most roadside assistance services have software applications that you can download on your smartphone or tablet. Be sure to go through these apps when you don’t need roadside assistance so you can navigate them easily under stress if your car breaks down.
- Read the fine print. Whichever roadside assistance service you choose, you should make a point to read through exactly what benefits are associated with your roadside assistance service. You may have access to benefits you aren’t even aware of that you could be using.
You should make an effort to learn how your roadside assistance program works before you ever need help. This will help you keep a level head and will keep you from getting worked up if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
Learn About Additional Benefits in Roadside Assistance
All roadside assistance programs offer comparable services, but some roadside assistance policies may offer additional benefits as part of the package. These benefits include services such as the following:
- Extended trip assistance: Many roadside assistance programs are somewhat localized, but you can apply for extended protection for out-of-state coverage if you’re going on a cross-country trip.
- Inspections: Some roadside assistance programs offer extended mechanical services such as pre-trip checks or emissions inspections.
- Hotel discounts/trip interruption insurance: These types of roadside assistance benefits are often found as riders in roadside assistance for automotive insurance policites. These kinds of benefits are relatively specialized and most useful for people who do a lot of travel by car.
The additional benefits available in your roadside assistance program will vary from policy to policy. This is why it’s important for you to check the specifics of your chosen roadside assistance contract to see what you’re covered for.
Learn Whether You Need Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance sounds like a smart choice no matter who you are, but some people can benefit more from a roadside assistance program than others. Here are some reasons why you might want to invest in roadside assistance
- You drive an older vehicle. Older vehicles are more prone to breaking down than newer vehicles, and they’re less likely to have towing services covered under warranty by the dealership. Roadside assistance can be a good idea if you’re driving on an older car battery or have other minor mechanical issues with your car.
- You can’t change a tire. You might have a jack and a spare in your vehicle, but they aren’t much use if you don’t know how to safely use them to change a flat tire on your car. Many people may be intimidated by the prospect of changing a tire on the side of a busy freeway, too. Roadside assistance can do it for you, and you’ll know it’s done right.
- You do a lot of driving. If you don’t drive your car much or only drive it near your home, you might not get as much use out of a paid roadside assistance program and could probably get by with a free pay-per-use program instead. If you are a regular long commuter, however, you’ll want as many options for roadside assistance as possible.
Buying a paid roadside assistance subscription is a personal choice, but it’s a good idea to sign up for free roadside assistance programs like Mach1 Services regardless of your car’s condition. These pay-per-use service accounts cost nothing except an app download on your phone, so they’re a good backup plan if you run into trouble on the road.
Learn How to Pay for Roadside Assistance
The final step in understanding how your roadside assistance works is to figure out how you’ll be paying for roadside assistance if you need it.
If you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy on your car, you might be surprised to find out that you’re already paying for some roadside assistance services. You might also choose to use a free roadside assistance network instead.
These are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to paying for roadside assistance:
- Pay-per-use roadside assistance networks only cost money when you use them. A roadside assistance club membership will cost a subscription fee regardless of whether you call in for assistance or not, but pay-per-use networks only charge for the services themselves.
- Keep your credit or debit card handy on the road. If you sign up for an automated dispatch roadside assistance service you’ll already have your payment information set up in the system and you’ll be charged accordingly. But it’s always good to have an alternative form of electronic payment in case something goes wrong.
- Keep a few hundred dollars in cash on hand. If you end up needing a full car tow, you might have to pay money directly to a tow truck driver and get reimbursed by your roadside assistance policy later. Most tow companies can accept cash for a tow at any time. However, they may be unable to take a credit card payment after hours.
By far the easiest way to pay for roadside assistance coverage is to roll it into your insurance policy or sign up with a free pay-per-use roadside assistance plan like Mach1 Services. If you’re really worried about having access to roadside assistance, you might even want to do both.
What Is Covered By Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance covers a wide variety of different problems that might strand you on the side of the road while driving. Here are a few of the services that roadside assistance can provide to stranded motorists:
- Car tows: If a car can’t be jumped off or fixed with a spare tire, it may need to be towed to an automotive repair shop for mechanical diagnosis.
- Gas delivery: Roadside assistance is able to deliver gas to motorists who become stranded from running out of fuel.
- Jump-starts: If a car dies due to a dead battery or alternator, roadside assistance can jump the vehicle off and get it running long enough to drive it to an automotive repair shop for replacement parts.
- Flat tires: For motorists stranded by a flat, roadside assistance is able to change the flat with a spare. Some roadside assistance programs may even be able to plug and repair a flat tire on the side of the road.
- Lockouts: A lockout occurs when a driver is accidentally locked out of their vehicle on the side of the road. This is a common occurence with auto-locking doors on newer vehicles. Roadside assistance can deploy a locksmith to help the driver get back into their car.
Roadside assistance can handle any problem short of serious mechanical trouble. Knowing they can call for help if they run into trouble puts many drivers at ease, especially on longer trips.
How Do I Know If I Have Roadside Assistance?
There are a few different ways you can check to see if you have roadside assistance. If you signed up for a roadside assistance membership club, you should know about it already. But here are a few methods for checking to see if you have roadside assistance as part of an insurance rider:
- Check your insurance policy. You should have paperwork for your automotive insurance policy that breaks down all of the services you’re paying for. This will tell you whether you have roadside assistance as part of your policy or not.
- Call your insurance agent. If you find the paperwork for your automotive insurance policy confusing, try giving your insurance agent a call. They can tell you quickly whether or not you have roadside assistance on your policy, and they can have it added to your policy if you want it.
Signing up for a free roadside assistance program will give you the benefit of knowing you have roadside assistance access regardless of your insurance policy.
Roadside Assistance Can Provide a Quick Rescue
No matter which roadside assistance program you go with, making sure you have access to roadside assistance when you need it can make you safer and more relaxed on the road. By being prepared for roadside emergencies ahead of time, you can focus on just enjoying the road when it’s time to drive.