What is Roadside Assistance (and do I need it)?

Caroline Moses
Caroline Moses 30.09.2020

More and more insurers in the last few years have began offering roadside assistance as an add-on to their car insurance packages. But when you’re on a budget, forking out the extra cash can feel like a waste. But is it? We’re breaking down exactly what this feature is, and why you might need it.

roadside assistance car insurance breakdown at side of road

What is Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance is a service created to help you out in the event that your car or vehicle breaks down. The service connects you with the right professional to service your car or get you out of a situation when the need arises.

When you call for help, your insurer will try to solve your problem over the phone, and should professional help be required, will send a roadside contractor to help, or a tow truck to take it to the nearest available mechanic if necessary.

Roadside services cover a multitude of car repairs and issues, including jumpstarts, battery replacements, breakdown tows, tyre changes and repairs, emergency fuel and lockout service.

How Does It Work?

When you call your roadside service provider, the customer support representative will usually ask you a series of questions about your vehicle and the issues you’re experiencing.

Once they confirm your membership by identifying the vehicle and driver, they’ll either help by coaching you over the phone if it’s an easy fix, or dispatch a roadside contractor or two truck to help, depending on what you need.

If a contractor is called, and cannot help to move or get the vehicle working again, your roadside service will then arrange for your car to be towed and taken to the nearest applicable repair shop.

Will This Affect My No Claims Discount?

No! This is a common misconception, but have no fear, calling for roadside assistance is not considered a car insurance claim.

Unlike car insurance, which covers damage or loss of your vehicle, roadside assistance is simply here to get your car moving if it breaks down. So where an insurance claim can cause a premium increase (and a loss of your NCD), calling for roadside assistance will not!

Should I Get Roadside Assistance?

Well, this one is entirely up to you! But to be honest, we recommend it! Cars, even the newest and most-cared for, can break down when you least expect it, and having roadside coverage is an added level of protection for you and your car.

Have an older car? You should definitely invest in roadside assistance. According to AAA, “a car that is 10 years or older is more than twice as likely to end up on the side of the road and more than four times as likely to need a tow.”

Not comfortable handling these repairs yourself? You should also consider roadside assistance. If you aren’t 100% sure how to repair or replace a tire in the event of a flat (which is the most common roadside issue), or other car problems, you’re safer investing in the extra care.

And considering the potholes we see on a daily basis, it’s better to be safe than sorry!