But Dad, SHOULD I add roadside assistance to my car insurance?

Remember when your dad first handed you the car keys and then spent thirty minutes telling you what to do with them, so you were so late there was no point in going out anyway? And you always thought your dad was just long winded! Either way, parents have some valuable lessons to pass on to their kids, and one of those lessons is that you should never hit the friendly highways before adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy.

Before you pick up the phone and cancel your services purely on principle, sit back and relax. If you have roadside assistance, you are not only in good company, but you are also making a good decision. You never know when you’ll get stuck on the side of the Interstate in the middle of the night because your starter decided to blow a gasket, and the last thing you want is to depend on a stranger for a ride to the nearest gas station to get a … to call a tow truck.

If roadside assistance is part of your car insurance, you don’t have to worry about it. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call your car insurance company and they will send a tow truck your way. And because adding this roadside assistance service is usually cheaper than, say, getting caught by the police for driving 80 in a 55, you can enjoy that peace of mind without your bank account paying the price.

Of course you knew that. Your father told you that story the day he sent you to college. What you probably didn’t know is that your car insurance company’s roadside assistance may be unnecessary. Maybe you already pay for emergency services and don’t even know it!

How is that possible?

1) Many organizations offer the emergency service option as a standard part of their membership plans.

2) Some companies, like AT&T, offer roadside assistance as part of their general service packages – and the amount they charge may be so low that you wouldn’t even notice it without a quick look.

3) There are a number of companies, such as AAA, that specialize in roadside assistance, and many drivers buy into this decision for themselves (and their children) as soon as they start driving.

Why does it matter? For starters, you really don’t want to have to pay for double roadside assistance. That just takes a bite out of a budget that’s undoubtedly already stretched thinner than you’d like. Not to mention that removing this service from your insurance plan puts you on the path to low-cost auto insurance – it may not cost much to purchase emergency services from your insurance company, but if you’re trying to cut the fat outside of your policy every little bit helps.

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So, the next time you decide to look up car insurance quotes, remember what your dad told you and find out if roadside assistance is part of your insurance company’s standard package.