Roadside assistance provides towing and other emergency roadside services—like lockout services, flat tire replacement, jumpstarts for dead batteries, fuel delivery, winching, and battery service if your car breaks down.
What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is an emergency service designed to provide no-cost towing to a repair facility, as well as other services in the event of an emergency unrelated to a collision.
Here is what’s usually included:
- Towing in the event of a mechanical breakdown, including overheating, suspension failure, loss of power steering, misfiring engine, and transmission failure. Towing is normally capped up to a certain amount of miles, so if your car is very far away from its destination, it’s possible you’d incur an additional cost.
- Flat tire assistance, including a tire change, so long as you’re able to provide a fully inflated spare. Towing is available if a spare tire isn’t available or can’t be installed.
- Roadside assistance will jump-start a dead battery. Some roadside assistance providers will also offer you the option for battery service and replacement, usually for a fee.
- If you run out of fuel, roadside assistance will provide fuel delivery to get you back on the road to the nearest gas station. Sometimes this includes the cost of fuel, which is usually limited to one gallon.
- Locksmith services will be provided in the event of a lockout. If your key is lost or stolen, they may need to tow your vehicle to a qualified repair shop or dealership.
- If your car ends up in a ditch or is trapped in mud or snow, roadside assistance will offer winching to pull your car out. (If the car was involved in an accident, then the tow would be covered by your collision coverage rather than roadside assistance.)
Other services may be available and some exclusions may apply. These will vary depending on the roadside assistance service provider. The provider may also provide trip interruption assistance for your peace of mind, including covering the cost of a rental car or a hotel room when your ride breaks down in East Nowhere, Indiana.
Isn’t roadside assistance covered by my car insurance policy?
If you have car insurance, and you get into an accident that leaves your car undrivable, then towing is covered by your policy. Keep in mind that coverages and benefits (like towing) provided by car insurance companies vary, so be sure to read your policy.
Here are two examples of what car insurance covers:
- If your car is rear-ended while you are stopped at a light, leaving your bumper and exhaust hanging, you might not be comfortable driving the car. With a call to your insurance provider, a tow truck will be dispatched, paid for by the insurance company. The service provider will tow your vehicle to a collision repair shop.
- You are T-boned when driving across an intersection. You are taken to the hospital to be checked out and to make sure you don’t have whiplash or other injuries. The police tow your car to the city lot. Once you are released and ready, you’ll call your car insurance company. They will send a tow truck for your vehicle, covering the cost of the first and second tow, as well as any applicable storage charges.
On the other hand, these sort of scenarios are typically not covered by traditional auto insurance:
- You’re driving 65 miles per hour down the interstate when your car starts overheating. You quickly pull over and call your car insurance company for a tow truck. The representative would likely inform you that, unfortunately, towing wouldn’t be covered by the policy because this was a mechanical breakdown.You’d be left calling for a tow to the repair facility,and paying for towing expenses.
- You get locked out of your car on a freezing cold morning. Since this wasn’t caused by a car accident, your auto insurance would not cover the cost of locksmith services. Without roadside assistance you’d have to call for a lockout service and cover the cost.
Does Lemonade Car offer roadside assistance?
Lemonade Car includes roadside assistance as part of a car insurance policy when users drive with the Lemonade app. It’s included for each car listed and covered by a Lemonade insurance policy as long as the user’s account is set up correctly in the Lemonade app. Other car insurance companies offer the option for a customer to purchase emergency roadside assistance as an endorsement, or for a monthly or annual fee.
While offered as part of your car insurance policy, the actual services are provided by a Lemonade partner with a network of roadside assistance and towing service providers across the country.
How do I get roadside assistance service?
Other insurance companies that offer roadside assistance services may have different procedures for how to request assistance. Some have a mobile app, others have a dedicated phone line.
Whatever method you choose, a service provider will be issued for service or towing. If a mobile app is used, you may be able to track your service provider through it.
Occasionally, the wait for service may be extensive, especially in rural areas, during inclement weather or particularly busy times. Depending on your roadside assistance provider, you may order the tow at your expense. You would then submit receipts for the towing service for reimbursement.