Will Auto Insurance Pay to Jumpstart Your Car?
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You depend on car insurance to cover certain damages. But will car insurance pay to jumpstart your vehicle? Or do you need to pay for vehicle jumpstarts out of pocket?
A standard car insurance policy will not cover the cost of jumpstarting a vehicle. Yes, your dead battery may be unexpected, but it’s also an avoidable problem. Your car insurance won’t cover flat tires, dead batteries, and other avoidable issues related to wear and tear. These are expected parts of car ownership.
However, some insurance policies, including policies with roadside assistance, will cover car battery jumpstarts.
Standard Insurance Policies Do Not Cover Dead Batteries
If you need to jumpstart your vehicle, then your battery died. Maybe you left a light on overnight. Or, maybe your battery is old and needs replacing.
Whatever the situation may be, your standard insurance policy does not cover dead batteries.
Even if you have full coverage car insurance, dead battery jumpstarts will not fall under any of your coverages. You cannot make a claim through comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, for example.
The only time insurance covers dead battery jumpstarts is when you have roadside assistance. You might have roadside assistance through your insurer. Or, you might have it through a third-party like AAA or Urgent.ly. Roadside assistance costs between $40 and $225 per year and can cover things like fuel delivery, towing, and dead battery jumpstarts.
How Roadside Assistance Covers a Battery Jumpstart
Roadside assistance is an optional car insurance coverage that should cover a dead battery jumpstart.
If you have a dead battery, then contact your roadside assistance number and request a jumpstart. The company will send a technician to your location to jumpstart your battery.
A standard roadside assistance policy covers service calls up to $100. Beyond that, you may need to pay out of pocket. A standard battery jumpstart will be covered, although if you are requesting a jumpstart in a remote location, then you may need to pay additional fees.
Most roadside assistance plans cover a certain number of service calls per year – say, three total calls. If you’re making more than that, then you may need to pay out of pocket. All plans also have maximum limits. They might only cover 50 miles of towing, for example, or a tow to the nearest service station.
Check your insurer’s roadside assistance plan to see if it’s the right fit. Most plans have multiple tiers. You can add basic dead battery jumpstart coverage for as little as $40 per year.
Other Battery Jumpstart Options
A typical battery jumpstart costs $60 to $125, depending on your location. Ordering a battery jumpstart on a remote mountain road will cost more than a jumpstart in the suburbs.
There are other battery jumpstart options:
Jumper Cables: You can use jumper cables or booster cables to restart a dead battery. You’ll need at least one other vehicle (or some other source), but you can restart a dead battery with no roadside assistance required.
Jumpstart Kit: You can buy dead battery jumpstart kits for under $150. These kits need to be recharged regularly, but they can be stored in your glove box, giving you an instant dead battery jumpstart any time – with no other vehicle required. If you work in remote locations, deal with cold weather, or are concerned about your car battery, then these kits can easily pay for themselves with a single-use.
Request a Rideshare: If you have jumper cables and you just need someone to give you a boost, then call Uber or another ridesharing service. You might pay $10 for the nearest Uber or Lyft to come to your location and jumpstart your vehicle. However, it can be faster and cheaper than traditional roadside assistance.
Call a Local Towing Company: You don’t need roadside assistance to request a battery jumpstart. You can still request a battery jumpstart and pay out of pocket. Call a local towing company to inquire about having them come out to give you a jumpstart.
Call a Friend: If you have a dead battery close to home, then you might be able to call people to give you a boost. Your friend might even have jumper cables.
Battery Maintenance Tips
Insurance companies don’t cover dead batteries because they’re an expected part of car ownership. With proper maintenance, you can avoid dead battery issues.
Car battery maintenance tips include:
Clean Corrosion: The top of the battery can become corroded over time. Clean corrosion from around the battery cables. Use a tablespoon of baking soda, a cup of water, and a non-metallic brush, then flush the area with cool water. Corrosion can prevent a battery from starting your vehicle – even if the battery is otherwise fine.
Replace Old Batteries: Your car’s battery eventually needs to be replaced. If you notice your car struggle to start, or if you have had dead battery issues before, then buy a new battery. Check your battery’s label for a description of its expected life (typically 60 to 84 months, or 5 to 7 years).
Watch for Signs of a Weak Battery: If your headlights look dim at idle, then brighten when you rev the engine, then you likely have a low or failing battery. Or, if your car seems to struggle to start, then it could be a battery issue.
Avoid Frequent Short Trips: If you make frequent short trips, but haven’t gone on a long drive recently, then you might have battery issues.
Double Check Indoor Lights: If you have kids or pets, then it’s easy for an indoor light to be accidentally turned on. Double-check indoor lights and other things that can wear down a battery before you leave your vehicle.
With basic maintenance, you can avoid dead battery issues.
Final Word on Battery Jumpstarts and Insurance
Insurance does not cover dead battery jumpstarts – unless you have roadside assistance. Roadside assistance covers things like towing, fuel delivery, and dead battery jumpstarts.
If you don’t have roadside assistance, then you may need to pay out of pocket for a dead battery jumpstart. Alternatively, you can use jumper cables, call a friend, or use a dead battery jumpstart kit.
Insurance does not cover dead battery jumpstarts because they’re an expected part of ownership. They’re also avoidable. With proper battery maintenance, you can avoid dead battery issues.