How can Road Side Assistance Help You at the Time of Emergency?

3 min read

Last week my neighbors, Rahul and his wife, went out for a long drive. What started as a romantic getaway soon turned into a nightmare when their car broke down in the middle of nowhere and Rahul was left looking for help. As Rahul narrated to me the next evening, the couple were somewhere in the suburbs and couldn’t locate a garage. Since it was the middle of the night, arranging for a mechanic also seemed a remote possibility. Spending a few hours vainly searching for help, it was 4 a.m. in the morning when a car passing by stopped, helped them take their car to the nearest garage and also gave them a lift into the city. What a drive Rahul had! After he finished his story, I enquired why he didn’t avail the roadside assistance service from his car insurance provider.

Rahul was dumbstruck. He had no idea about this feature in his car insurance policy and asked me to enlighten him. Do you know what roadside assistance in your car insurance policy is and how it helps?

What is roadside assistance? : Roadside assistance is a cover provided by your car insurance policy wherein the insurance company helps you when your car breaks down in the middle of the road and you cannot take it to the nearest garage. Whether you suffer from a flat tyre, an electrical breakdown of your car, fuel running out or if you have locked your car keys inside the car, a roadside assistance cover would help you in all these instances.

What does roadside assistance cover? : The roadside assistance feature has a wide scope of coverage. Here are the common instances which are covered by roadside assistance:

  • Towing expenses incurred to tow the vehicle to the nearest garage
  • Minor repairs required to a damaged car
  • Cost of arranging alternate transport to a hotel for accommodation while the vehicle is being repaired. The cost of the subsequent accommodation is also provided in some cases
  • Expenses incurred to help jump start your car battery or to exchange your battery
  • Arrangement for a spare key
  • Assistance for emergency fuel if you run out of fuel
  • Medical assistance in case of injuries suffered due to an accident
  • Flat tyre

How roadside assistance works? : In case you face any emergency which is covered by the roadside assistance feature of your car insurance policy, you would simply have to call the insurance company and request for assistance. The insurer would send you help at the earliest once intimated.

Points to remember : Roadside assistance has some aspects which you should know to understand the coverage and also the exclusions pertaining to the coverage provided by it. Here are some important points which you should remember:

  • The roadside assistance cover is, usually, available as an add-on cover in almost all car insurance policies. To choose for the add-on cover you have to pay an additional premium. In some car insurance policies, however, the roadside assistance cover is inbuilt in the standard coverage of the plan. It is not an optional cover and no additional premium is required in this case. However, compared to inbuilt roadside assistance cover, an add-on cover is beneficial because it provides a more comprehensive coverage to you.
  • In case of fuel running out, roadside assistance cover would arrange for emergency fuel for your car. However, the cost of the fuel would have to be borne by you.
  • Similarly in case of a battery breakdown, roadside assistance would arrange for a replacement of the battery but the cost of the battery would have to be borne by you.
  • Roadside assistance becomes effective only if your car breaks down outside the city of your residence. Car insurance policies specify the geographical distance from the city in which you reside. Emergency faced beyond this distance would only be covered by roadside assistance cover.

Is roadside assistance helpful? : For my neighbor Rahul it definitely was. What do you think? Given the scope of coverage and the assistance provided, the roadside assistance cover is very helpful. In fact, the cover is very relevant for ladies and senior citizens driving a car and facing an emergency in the middle of the road. Whether it is an add-on or it is inbuilt in the policy, roadside assistance cover comes to your rescue when you need it the most. So, the next time you renew or buy a car insurance policy, don’t forget to include the roadside assistance cover in it.

Choose wisely!

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Gayatri Prabhu, Head-Digital Business at Mahindra Insurance Brokers Limited (MIBL) is one those few digital leaders who has the width and depth that is required to execute an ROI driven holistic digital strategy. She cuts through the noise, identifies the critical levers and leads her team to successful execution of the defined strategy. Her core mantra to win new and retain existing customers is: understand the consumer behavior and craft experiences around it.

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