It's officially winter – meaning, it just got a lot easier for car trouble to strike. While roadside assistance seems like an service that any responsible driver would want to add to their car insurance policy, there may be some pitfalls that come with buying a program from an insurer, according to Insurance.com.
Some consumers fear that multiple claims for roadside assistance, whether for a flat tire or a stalled engine, will be recorded and lead to higher car insurance premiums. While Amy Bach, the executive director of United Policyholders, said it is justified for policyholders to worry about how claims will affect their rates, she told the website that it is "unlikely" that filing even two claims a year will have a negative affect on their insurance.
However, requesting roadside assistance on a frequent basis could indicate that a car is unreliable and at risk for accidents, causing insurers to boost their prices.
"When you file claims, insurance companies look at their frequency, severity and who's at fault," Bach said.
One of the biggest strikes against insurer provided programs is that most companies cover the vehicle, not the driver. This means that a policyholder is unable to access roadside assistance if they are driving a vehicle that is not registered to them, unlike separate assistance programs that will usually cover members even if they are not in their own car.
The Auto Club of Southern California announced that poor weather conditions caused them to recently receive more calls for roadside assistance than every before, when 25,000 Auto Club members requested help within a 24-hour period. The company recommends simple driving techniques like driving slowly, keeping distance from other vehicles and driving in center lanes to lower the risk of car trouble during bad weather.