Avoiding Roadside Assistance Headaches

Recently, we’ve had several complaints about roadside assistance wait times and service issues so we wanted to share some feedback to help avoiding road assistance headaches.

Wait time for service are out of control

I experienced this myself, last summer.  I was stuck on the side of the road for FOUR HOURS! You might be asking yourself, “Why did you wait so long?”  The answer is because the service provider sent the wrong service to me, TWICE.  I had a flat tire – but didn’t have the lug nut key to remove the tire and replace it with the spare.  I explained this to the service provider, twice, yet they sent out someone to change my tire instead of a tow truck to get me to a tire shop where the correct service could be performed.  Eventually they did and I was back on the road.

What you need to know about requesting roadside assistance service from your carrier 

If your auto policy is with a carrier like: Nationwide, Progressive or Safeco, they – like many others – outsource the roadside assistance to a third-party, national service provider, called, Agero.  Agero then subcontracts the work to a local provider.  Once the provider comes out to perform the service, you sign an invoice acknowledging that they completed the work.  They, then, turn in that invoice to your carrier to get paid. You pay nothing at the time of service.

Labor shortage and gas prices are making it hard for Agero to find contractors willing to perform services locally leading to long wait times.

The carrier – your insurance company – does not have access to wait times; they do not choose the local contractor; they don’t have any control over the service providers at all.

What you can do about it

Each carrier allows for you – as the customer – to pick your own contractor to perform the roadside assistance and get reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expense *subject to policy limits, terms and conditions.  So, if you need roadside assistance and don’t want to wait for service and you have a favorite local contractor that provides an already covered service (see below for a list of covered services), feel free to call them and pay out-of-pocket for the service. 

Just remember that in order to get reimbursed, you’ll need to turn in a detailed receipt showing: the vehicle that was provided service, location of service, the service provided and the total cost incurred.

Services typically covered by your carrier’s Roadside Assistance Program

  • Towing (mileage restrictions apply)
  • Lockout Service
  • Flat/Low Tire Change
  • Fuel delivery service
  • Battery Jump

Make sure to read your specific policy’s terms and condition regarding this coverage for a full understanding all of services covered, max payout amount, etc.

Do Roadside Assistance claims affect my insurance rates

Short answer: sometimes.  Depending on your frequency and usage, these claims can affect your insurance premium with some carriers.

Last, some dos and don’ts to avoiding roadside assistance headaches

We know that any claim can be an inconvenience, but it is never okay to treat anyone with disrespect.  Please don’t yell at the person on the phone taking your request, the local service provider or your agent.

Give your carrier’s roadside assistance vendor an opportunity to provide you with service to avoid paying anything out of pocket. If they fail on the first try, then call your preferred local service provider. Pay for the service and reach out to your agent/carrier to help get you reimbursed.  Make sure to provide the detailed receipt/invoice as mentioned above.  Expect the refund could take up two weeks.

Don’t wait till the last minute to find a local service provider that can provide you with roadside assistance.  Waiting till the last minute leaves you scrambling, stressed and further inconvenienced. 

Keep their number handy.  Save the number in your phone and label it in your phone as “Local Roadside Assistance Guy” so it’s easy to find.

Be kind. Be patient.

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