What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is a form of protection when your car breaks down while on the road. Typically professional assistance is just a phone call away. It’s like your safety net when your car fails on you and you have no clue what to do.
In Malaysia, you can pretty much get roadside assistance cover when you buy a car insurance with a basic cover. The roadside assistance cover makes up to a more comprehensive coverage.
While that may be the case, some insurance companies offer roadside assistance cover on its own too. Which means if your car doesn’t have a roadside assistance cover yet, you can purchase it as an add-on.
Roadside assistance usually includes a number of services. Although the kind of services will vary between providers, here are some of the most common inclusions in roadside assistance products.
1. 24-hour emergency towing assistance
This service can be incredibly handy when your car breaks down and it’s not possible to repair it on the spot. The service provider will usually assist you to tow it to your preferred location.
Although towing location can be entirely your choice, there may be charges if the towing exceeds a specified mileage limit set by the insurance company.
2. Minor roadside repairs
Once upon a time, we could perform a fair amount of DIY repairs on our vehicles when we faced with a vehicle breakdown. It was probably way easier back in the day because cars weren’t so complicated then.
But with today’s complex, more intricate engine systems and mechanical build up, it’s probably wise to get a professional to have a look at the problem.
Roadside technicians are likely to assess your vehicle on the spot to see what needs to be fixed and if it can be fixed right away. But usually, they would have already done a brief assessment of your breakdown via phone when you call in for help. So before they get to the breakdown site they would’ve already had an idea of what to do.
The one thing that you will need to keep in mind is that they will only cover the labor cost. If there are additional spare parts required, you may need to pay for the cost of the spare parts.
Here are some common minor roadside repairs and assistance:
- Fuel delivery
- Battery replacement
- Jump-start your vehicle
- Fuses replacement
- Fit new drive belt
- Repair hose damaged fittings
- Other basic fixes
However, if the problem is a lot more serious, they’ll arrange for a tow.
3. Flat tire, help!
A flat tire can be such a nuisance when you are on your way to an important appointment. All dressed up and getting grease on your clothes is just not how you want your day to go.
The safety aspects of fixing a flat tire by the roadside with fast cars driving by could also hinder you from fixing your flat tire. So changing flat tires is always a common type of service offered under the roadside assistance program.
4. Other services
The service listed above are the most commonly included in a roadside assistance service. But some insurance companies include additional services that can cater to situations you may not have even thought of until you really face some serious car trouble on the road.
Alternative travel assistance – In case you get stranded somewhere because of a car breakdown or an accident, roadside assistance can help to arrange for a taxi, make hotel reservations or rent a car.
When you need to bring your car back to Malaysia – Some insurance companies offer services to tow your car back to Malaysia in case you have car trouble outside of Malaysia. Typically, roadside assistance is extended to provide towing services in neighboring countries such as Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei.
Ambulance – When you’ve just had an accident and are injured, roadside assistance can also help to arrange for an ambulance pick-up to bring you to the nearest hospital.
Notify family members – They can help to relay messages to your friends and family that you’ve just met with an accident.
Family and friends roadside assistance – Some insurance companies extend their roadside assistance cover to your family and friends’ vehicles. The only condition is that you must be in their vehicle too.
Keynotes to look out for in a roadside assistance
- Is this roadside assistance available 24/7?
- How can I get hold of roadside assistance when I get into car trouble?
- Is there a limit to the number of call-outs for assistance?
- Is technical advice included in the roadside assistance hotline?
- What are the geographical limits to my roadside assistance? Does it include assistance when I go off-road?
- Are there any financial limits for the different services or benefits offered?
Roadside assistance may vary between each insurance companies. Ultimately each one will have terms and conditions that are not the same.
So it’s always wise to read up your policies to fully understand what you are covered for to avoid surprises when you really do have car trouble.
Companies that offer better Roadside Assistance
There are only a few companies that offer a more comprehensive roadside assistance service as an add-on to their motor insurance policy. Allianz for instance, offers a product called “Enhanced Road Warrior” that you can buy in addition to your normal motor insurance cover.
It’s definitely worth to have and shop around for
If you’ve got your car insurance and road tax covered before your next renewal due date, that’s good. But did you check if you already have a roadside assistance? And if you have do you know what exactly is included in your roadside assistance cover?
Roadside assistance services may be seemingly small to you but when you have to fork out your money unexpectedly while on the road, shaken by an accident or simply stranded somewhere with no clue on how to fix your vehicle, roadside assistance will be your rescue on that day.
Not having roadside assistance is like taking a chance at your money. And if you already have one, get to know your roadside assistance services.