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  • Roadside Assistance Cover in Car Insurance

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    It is natural for a machine like car to have flat tyres, battery problem or any sort of mechanical problem, it can cause a disturbance in your journey. And if it has happened in the middle of nowhere, then getting a help or a mechanic to repair is just too difficult. But if you have this cover or you are familiar with roadside assistance, here is all you have to know.

    Roadside assistance service is available as a part of the basic comprehensive policy by some insurers while others offer it as an optional or add-on cover along with the basic policy. The insurance company will offer emergency services immediately on intimation in situations like puncture, battery leakage, towing service, empty fuel tank, etc.

    Roadside assistance cover:

    It covers the following:

    • Towing services
    • Spare key adjustment
    • Telephone assistance
    • Refueling
    • Minor repairs
    • Alternate transport accommodation
    • Battery jump start

    If you are traveling somewhere out of the city and suddenly the car encounters a problem, then call the insurer immediately to avail the assistance. The insurer will have networks with various garages or have outlets of its own in many locations to tackle such situations. On intimation the insurer will send help immediately of what you request of from the above.

    There are few factors to consider before buying this as an optional cover:

    • The age of the car is one of the main factors to opt for this service if not available in the basic policy. As the car ages, the chances of a mechanical or engine problem is higher when you particularly take the vehicle on a long drive. That is why most insurers do not offer this service for car aged more than 5 years. And if they did offer the annual charges keep increasing every year.
    • Every insurers offer a particular number of roadside assistance service per year. So it is advised that you check for the higher number of service before availing it. However, if you are thinking of going on a long trip, then it is better to get the vehicle checked for vital components.
    • The plan price is mainly based on the age of the car, the number of services you opt for and for the type of route you may want the service for. If you are opting only for city limited services, the cost would be lesser than if you had chosen both city plus highway services. There is no standard price fixed by the IRDA for this, and it depends solely on the insurer. So before you choose one, make sure you have thought it through.

    Roadside assistance is an essential cover that every car owner has to buy to get immediate help from insurer in emergency situations. If it is available with the comprehensive policy then there is no need to buy it separately, else you should consider buying it as a standalone policy. Getting your car serviced regularly and getting it checked by the dealer before going on long trips would be advisable to avoid such breakdowns.

    h2>Is the roadside assistance cover necessary?

    When purchasing a car insurance policy, car owners are under the impression that most services are inclusive with the base policy. However, this is not true. If it is a third-party car insurance policy, coverage for repairs or replacement of parts of the property of the third party is extended by the insurer and coverage for medical expenses as well. With a comprehensive car insurance policy, the policyholder as well as the third party are insured following an accident.

    That said, though a comprehensive car insurance policy coverage can be availed under a number of circumstances and not just in the case of accidents,  its coverage and services are limited as well. Here comes in the need for add-on covers. Though they have to be purchased over and above the premium of the car insurance policy, they enhance the coverage of the policyholder and in the end, reduce the out-of-pocket expense. One such add-on cover that is useful is the roadside assistance cover. If the vehicle of the policyholder breaks down, then assistance will be offered and in case the repairs are going to take a while, some insurers also offer accomodation benefits for the policyholder. However, one should purchase the roadside assistance cover based on their needs and several factors as listed below:

    • The age of your vehicle matters

    Generally, for new vehicles, car manufacturers offer the roadside assistance cover as a bonus feature when they purchase the vehicle. However, the roadside assistance cover will be applicable for the first few years only. If the car manufacturer is offering the roadside assistance cover, then it wouldn’t be necessary to have the roadside assistance add-on cover with one’s car insurance policy. However, if the vehicle is older, say more than 5 years, then having the roadside assistance add-on cover is absolutely necessary as it would cover the costs  of repairs if the car does break down. Plus, if the car does break down in the middle of nowhere, then having the roadside assistance add-on cover will be absolutely crucial.

    • The distance you travel

    If you’re travelling by your car within the city limits, then opting for a roadside assistance cover might be of no use as there would be several service stations at hand. However, if you’re one that travels past the city limits and commutes every single day using your car, then having the roadside assistance cover will come in handy at some point. With the roadside assistance cover, the repairs or replacements of the parts of the car which cause the breakdown will be taken care of by the insurer. Of course, this will be limited to the coverage of the add-on cover.

    • Gets the job done conveniently

    If you’ve got the roadside assistance add-on cover with your car insurance policy, then you do not need to fret if your car breaks down either in the city or on the outskirts. The insurer will locate your car and either get the job done on the spot or have it towed to the closest service station. In addition, most car insurers as already mentioned, offer the accommodation facility if it is going to take a while before the car is fixed. Following a breakdown, all that the policyholder has to do is to inform the insurer, rather than circle around to find a garage to get the job done.

    • Cost effective

    Just by having the roadside assistance add-on cover, policyholders will be able to save quite a bit of money if his/her car does break down. The policyholder will avoid having to go to a garage that will either charge extra to get the job done and dupe the policyholder altogether for the cost of the repairs. With the roadside assistance add-on  cover, the expenses for the repairs are taken care of, and the policyholder or the car owner will not get duped in the process or get charged extra for the service of the vehicle.

    • Discounts or a complementary feature

    In order to lure customers into choosing them rather than their competitors, insurers offer discounts on add-on covers and sometimes, might even offer it as a complementary feature with the base car insurance policy. If so, then following a breakdown, the service to get the car back on to the road will be completely free.

    Customers or existing policyholders can opt for the roadside assistance cover when purchasing the car insurance policy or when renewing their car insurance policy. The roadside assistance cover can be purchased by the policyholder, if he/she has a comprehensive car insurance policy and not just a third-party car insurance policy. The roadside assistance cover has to be purchased separately from the base car insurance policy.

    Roadside Assistance Cover FAQs

    1. How can I be sure that the roadside assistance offered by the insurer will come to my aid if my car breaks down while I’m outside city limits?

    Car insurers are tied up with garages across the country. Once you have intimated the insurer that your car has broken down, the insurer will contact the closest garage and request them to arrive at the spot where the car has broken down to get the job done. Since the garage is listed with the insurer, most often, the expenses to repair the car will be taken care of between the insurer and the garage - cashless facility. If the cashless facility is not an option, the policyholder will have to pay for the break down expenses and submit the bills to the insurer for a reimbursement.

    2. Do all motor insurance companies offer the roadside assistance?

    Yes, all motor insurance companies offer the roadside assistance cover. That said, some insurers offer the roadside assistance cover as part of the base policy and no extra premium has to be paid for it while others offer it as an add-on cover and it has to be purchased over and above the premium of the car insurance policy.

    3. Is it cheaper to repair my car following a breakdown rather than opt for a roadside assistance cover?

    In most cases, not having a roadside assistance cover and choosing to pay for the breakdown expenses from your own pocket will turn out to be more expensive. Since most often your car would break down in an area that you are not familiar with, you stand the chance of getting duped for the service charges and the price of the car parts, if replacement of the parts is required. However, the roadside assistance cover is convenient as the insurer will organise the mechanics, who will then come to the spot of the breakdown and carry out the services. The service expenses will be borne by the insurer as well, up to the coverage limit.

    4. Are there any cases where the coverage for service expenses with the roadside assistance cover will not be taken care of by the insurer?

    The exclusions for the roadside assistance add-on cover comply with the exclusions of the base car insurance policy. If the breakdown was consequential, or due to any other situation as listed in the exclusion list of the policy document, while the service might still be offered, the policyholder will have to pay for the expenses from his/her own pocket.

    5. Can I make a request for the roadside assistance any time of the day?

    Yes, the roadside assistance service is available 24/7 - anytime of the day. Even if the policyholder raises a request at midnight, the service will be available. If not, the insurer will arrange accommodation for the insurer till his/her car is repaired.

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