Roadside Assistance: What Every Driver Should Know

It’s dark. The highway is deserted. You’re driving alone. Still miles from home, you stare at the illuminated patch of pavement ahead when suddenly… an unrecognizable POP from under your hood and your vehicle quickly loses power. You pull to the shoulder, grab your cell phone, and start to rummage through your wallet looking for the 800 number to your auto club.

We’ve all thought about it. And many of us have experienced exactly that scenario. When it happens, we’re proud of ourselves for having the foresight to renew whatever roadside assistance club we belong to.

And whether it’s personal safety and the safety of our family members, free towing, or even a quick tire change, roadside assistance is one of those options that isn’t really just an option. It’s a necessity.

When it comes to selecting the right roadside assistance or auto club for you, consider these facts:

Many vehicle manufacturers now provide comprehensive roadside assistance programs. Whether you lease or own your car, truck, or SUV, check with your dealership to see if one came with your vehicle.

For example, the Isuzu Ascender provides roadside assistance for the first seven years or 75,000 miles.

You may have roadside assistance as a benefit of carrying one of your credit cards. The American Express Gold Card offers towing, emergency fuel delivery, locked key retrieval, and tire replacement any time a Gold Card member is present, anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Emergency assistance plans like On-Star provide wealth of roadside assistance services including help if you get lost or break down, emergency services if your airbag deploys, and will even find you a ride if you’ve been drinking and aren’t in a condition to safely drive yourself.

Auto clubs like American Automobile Association provide quick responses to roadside emergencies as well as travel planning assistance, vehicle financing services, and discounts at approved mechanic garages and hotels.

Be mindful of the benefits of all of your roadside assistance programs so that you’re not paying to duplicate services (like towing), and make sure that at least one of your programs is full-service, meaning it covers almost any unforeseeable circumstance you might face. Keep the numbers of all of your roadside assistance programs (for example, the 800 number for a credit card roadside assistance benefit may not be printed on the actual card) on one sheet of paper, readily available in your glove compartment. Taking a few minutes to review your programs and plan ahead, could save you a great deal of worry and expense when an emergency arises.

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