If you travel a lot, whether it's for business or pleasure, you're at a higher risk of breaking down. Simply because you're out more often than the average person, you’ll probably need roadside assistance sometime. That being said, are you taking steps to protect yourself from the unknown? What are you going to do if you get a flat tire, if your car breaks down, or if you run out of gas? Sure, you could call a tow truck, a friend, or even hitch a ride with a stranger (don't do that). Or, you could just pick up your phone and call your roadside assistance company. Don't have one? Here are a few examples of companies and what they have to offer.
AAA, American Automobile Association, is one of the most well-known companies for their roadside assistance program. They've been around for what seems like forever, and they have a pretty large customer base. They also have different packages available.
With the 200k package you can pay $99 (if already a member) or $160 (if you're not a member) and get a lot of great stuff: 4 oil changes, 1 tire rotation and balance, 1 alignment check, 1 ac pressure check, 1 top off all fluids, 1 electrical system check, 1 break inspection, 1 oil change for a friend, and 1 wild card (1 tire rotation, 1 battery service, or 1 tire repair) every year. In my area, oil changes are about $30 each, so after my four oil changes, I can get all the other stuff for another $40–that's a great deal! If you're not a member here are some of the best perks they offer:
- Roadside assistance
- AAA discounts
- AAA maps & tour books
- AAA travel services
- AAA car care
- Comparable insurance rates
- Auto glass repair & replacement
- Tires to purchase
- Battery service
GM Motor Club
Contrary to their name, you don't have to own a GM to be a part of the GM Motor Club. In fact GM Motor Club is called that because they cover their members, not the vehicles. So not only are you covered in your car, but you're covered if you're driving someone else's car, even rentals!
A difference I see in the GM Motor Club is that they don't restrict you in your towing miles. By that I mean, GM will literally have you towed to the nearest qualified repair facility, no matter how far. Also, if you're more than 100 miles away from home and you have an accident, you're eligible for up to $750 in reimbursements for lodging, meals, car rental or transportation costs within five days of the collision. Their membership programs start at only $84 per year. Here are some of their offers for being a member:
- Emergency towing
- Lockout service
- Flat tire change
- Fuel service
- Battery jump-start
- Trip reimbursement
- Entertainment discounts
- Maps & trip routing
It seems pretty obvious that your car insurance company would offer roadside assistance, but most people forget about that. A great benefit to this is they usually only charge you an extra $5 – $10 a year for a lot of the same benefits the other companies offer.
The majority of big name cell phone companies like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon offer roadside assistance programs. These are great because they go based on you, not your car. So if you're out with a friend, you're covered. However, you must have your phone with you and be able to provide an address as to where you are. That might not be the best thing if your phone is dead or if you've lost it during your accident. Another downside is you won't be able to participate in all those great discounts you get from being a member. However, at less than $3 a month, who can complain?
There are tons of programs out there like the ones I mentioned. Each program has benefits, just like each program has its downfalls, but it has definitely opened my eyes as to what's out there. If you'd like to compare the programs more, here’s a chart to show you the price differences. Stay safe and happy travels!
This has been a guest post by August from Granite Falls, NC
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