When you're on the road, it is always smart to make sure that you have some kind of emergency coverage. However, the choice between the two main types of coverage—auto club coverage or emergency roadside assistance coverage from your auto insurance company—can be rather difficult. The two kinds of coverage are equal in some ways, but quite different in other ways. Here are the similarities and differences.
The benefits of auto club coverage and a roadside assistance plan from your insurance company are often similar, but they will rarely match up exactly. Some of the most common types of coverage may include
- Gasoline or diesel delivery if you run out of fuel unexpectedly
- Towing if your vehicle is in an accident or otherwise non-operational
- Locksmith service if you're locked out of your vehicle
- Battery jump starts if your battery is dead
- Tire changes when you have a flat tire
There are often variations from one plan to the next in terms of how wide the coverage is. For example, both an auto club and your insurance company's plan may include vehicle towing, but be sure to check on how many tows are included in a calendar year. Additionally, check on how many miles each tow includes. Even something seemingly small, for example how many gallons of gas will be delivered if you run out of fuel, can vary widely from one plan to the next.
Auto club membership may be more costly than an emergency roadside assistance plan from your insurance company. The main reason for this is that your auto insurance company can add the coverage on to your existing policy, and you'll often get a price cut for doing so.
In many cases, an auto club will offer extra benefits in the form of discounts. For example, auto clubs may offer their members discounts on hotel rooms, rental cars, and even vacation packages. Some retailers even offer discounts to the members of certain auto clubs. In contrast, an insurance company's roadside assistance plan is typically limited to exactly that: roadside assistance. While the extra discounts may be especially attractive to the frequent traveler, they may not be important to others. If the auto club and the insurance company are dead even in terms of benefits and cost, the discounts may be one way to break the tie!
For more information on emergency roadside service, talk to a professional.