by Ed Sneneh, Chicago Car Insurance Agent
Personal auto policies are normally sold with a number of coverages that are optional in nature. Customers do not have to have all of these coverages to have themselves properly covered. One of the major sources of confusion comes from the lack of differentiation between roadside assistance coverage and towing coverage.
Towing coverage, per se, refers to the limit that the insurance company will pay for each disablement because of a covered comprehensive or collision loss. So, in order for you to have that coverage many companies dictate that you need to have comprehensive and collision on your policy. The coverage is subject to two limits. First is the amount of coverage per disablement (ie, $35, $50, or $70 for each disablement). Second is the number of tows per policy period (i.e. 5 times per policy period.)
Some insurance companies will not offer this coverage for older vehicles. These companies are usually the non standard car insurance companies that will insist on providing this coverage for 10 years or younger vehicle. Vehicles that are older than 10 years will not be able to get the coverage. Standard insurance companies may not have this restriction.
Most companies offer this coverage based on reimbursement basis, where in the even of a disablement the client will tow the car and submit the receipts to the auto insurance company for reimbursement. Some standard companies may offer a number for clients to call if they need a tow because of an accident where the client does not have to pay from their pocket.
Because of the limitations of the towing coverage the rates charges are relatively small, as small as $2.00 to $5.00 for six months. It is always worth it to have that coverage. The rate is always connected with the amount and limits of coverage.
Roadside Assistance Insurance
Roadside assistances insurance is something else. Besides the typical towing, a roadside assistance plan may offer extraction and winching, fuel delivery service, vehicle lock-out, battery service, minor repair service, travel accident insurance, limited legal fees, and more.
Towing coverage is part of a roadside assistance plan, but the opposite is not true. Roadside assistance is a comprehensive insurance plan that includes the towing coverage. For that reason cost of roadside assistance is significantly higher in price than towing.
The rates for roadside assistance plan vary depending on the amount of coverage, extent of covered area and radius of service offered, limits of coverage, and other smaller benefits included. Among the most prominent companies that issue roadside assistance is AAA insurance.
The AAA roadside assistance membership has three levels, the AAA Basic membership, AAA Plus RV, and AAA Premier RV. The following is a chart that explains the differences.
Other companies such as the Progressive auto insurance, the Hartford Insurance, the Travelers auto insurance, and other regional companies may have similar plans. AAA Insurance has the most comprehensive one!