Roadside assistance can be purchased on its own from motoring clubs such as NRMA, RACQ and RACV, or from some major car companies when you purchase one of their cars. You can also get roadside assistance through some comprehensive car insurance policies.
What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is designed to get your vehicle back on the road in the event of a breakdown. It generally includes cover for:
- Battery issues – jump-starting a flat battery or supplying a replacement battery
- Flat tyres – inflating or changing a tyre if you have a spare
- Towing – towing your car to a nearby mechanic (up to a certain distance)
- Keys – if you lock your keys inside your car, helping to unlock your car. If you lose your keys, helping with the cost of getting new keys or of retrieving your spare key (up to a certain amount)
- Emergency fuel – delivering emergency fuel so you can reach the nearest petrol station
Inclusions will vary depending on the provider and policy you choose, so it’s a good idea to compare your options to see what you will be covered for.
How does roadside assistance work?
If you call your roadside assistance provider for help, they will usually ask you a series of questions about your vehicle to see if they can solve your problem over the phone. If they can’t, they will send out someone to help you. Alternatively, depending on your roadside assistance provider, you may be able to answer these questions online or via a mobile app.
Many providers offer 24/7 roadside assistance and may let you make unlimited callouts. Some providers will also provide assistance regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time it broke down.
Keep in mind that you will generally have to pay for any parts you need – for example, if you need a replacement battery.
Which car insurers offer roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is available as a standard or optional extra on some comprehensive car insurance policies. At the time of writing, Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is the only policy in Canstar’s database that includes roadside assistance as a standard inclusion. It comes with two free callouts per year, up to certain limits. If you need additional callouts, an extra fee applies.
Of the 62 comprehensive car insurance policies in Canstar’s database, 28 policies currently offer roadside assistance as an optional extra. This means you will have to pay extra for it. These are:
- 1st for Women – Comprehensive
- AAMI – Comprehensive
- APIA – Car Advantage – Comprehensive
- Australian Seniors – Comprehensive
- Australia Post – Gold Comprehensive
- Budget Direct – Gold Comprehensive
- Coles Insurance – Comprehensive, Comprehensive Plus
- GIO – Comprehensive, Platinum
- Huddle Insurance – Comprehensive Fixed Kilometre Plan, Comprehensive Unlimited Kilometres
- ING – Comprehensive
- Kogan Insurance – Comprehensive
- Ozicare – Comprehensive
- Qantas – Comprehensive Cover
- RAA – Comprehensive
- RAC – Comprehensive
- RACQ – Comprehensive
- RACT – Comprehensive
- RACV – Complete Care, Comprehensive
- Real Insurance – Comprehensive
- Suncorp – Comprehensive, Comprehensive Advantages, Comprehensive Extras
- Virgin Money – Comprehensive – Price Saver
- Woolworths – Comprehensive
Source: Canstar.com.au as at 30 October 2020
Some car insurers also allow you to buy roadside assistance as a standalone policy (meaning you don’t have to have a comprehensive car insurance policy with them). Some providers may offer a discount on their car insurance policies to customers who are also roadside assistance members.
Main image source: Zivica Kerkez (Shutterstock).