You find yourself stranded on the side of the highway. Sitting in your car, you see the steam coming from out under the hood – it has overheated. You were not in an accident, but you need assistance.
Now you’re thinking back to when you signed up for auto insurance, and you had the option of adding roadside assistance to your coverage. Would adding it to your USAA insurance plan have been worth it? Alternatively, is it still cheaper to pay for a tow truck when you need it rather than invest in roadside assistance for those “maybe” situations?
Most consumers face this very question when facing the option of roadside assistance. USAA, like most insurers, offers roadside assistance coverage to help policyholders if their car breaks down, but isn’t in an accident. It is an optional layer of coverage.
USAA partners with existing, local networks of businesses, such as towing companies, and they contact them when a policyholder needs assistance and arranges the services.
If you are wondering whether adding roadside coverage to your USAA policy is worth it, you need to consider what they cover, whom they partner with, and if it makes financial sense.
What Does USAA’s Roadside Assistance Cover?
Every insurer operates differently in terms of what assistance they cover. For USAA members, when you add it to your policy, you unlock:
- Towing: If your vehicle will not start or cannot be driven safely, USAA offers towing services. They can tow your car to a local mechanic of their choosing. If you have a specific mechanic, there may be a fee depending on how many miles outside the coverage area you drive.
- Jump-Starting Your Battery: USAA’s partner does offer battery services. They will meet you at your vehicle and help jump-start your battery. If it does not engage, they will offer to tow the car to a local repair shop.
- Flat Tire Repair: Whether you do not have a spare or you cannot get the lug nuts off to replace a flat tire, these services come out and help replace that tire with a spare. Like most insurers, USAA does not offer to replace a tire on a motorcycle – only standard passenger vehicles.
- Lockout Services: Lockout services help you regain entry to your vehicle. They typically use a pump wedge or long tool to reach in and unlock the door. When lockout services cannot open the door, a locksmith may dispatch to your location to help gain entry or re-key so that you can open the door and start your vehicle again.
- Gas Delivery: If your car runs out of gas, USAA’s partner will bring fuel to your location and give you enough to drive to the nearest gas station safely.
Who is USAA’s Roadside Assistance Partner?
USAA contracts, as of 2019, with Agero Roadside Assistance. Agero is a network of providers that contracts with local towing companies and locksmiths to bring service to USAA members throughout the U.S. When you need roadside services, you can request them directly through USAA’s website or by contacting their partner at 800-531-8555.
Agero’s program has been around for 45 years, and they have built an extensive network of providers. Their customer service ratings are comparable with other roadside assistance networks, and USAA is not the only insurer to pair up with them.
Do You Have to Use Agero?
USAA does allow its members to submit receipts for roadside services for reimbursement if they do not use Agero. So, if you call a local tow company and pay for it out-of-pocket, USAA will allow you to request a refund through their website. However, if you use their partner, you do not have to pay out of pocket or deal with a claims process.
Is USAA Roadside Assistance Worth the Extra Cost?
Roadside assistance is not free, but it is not expensive either. Over the span of your annual premium it comes out to a few dollars per month, but the question is, do you need it? Before you pay every year for roadside assistance, ask yourself if it makes financial sense, and whether it is smarter just to save that same amount in a bank account to use it for the off chance you actually breakdown.
Some things to consider include:
- Age of Your Car: Naturally, the older the car, the more likely it is to breakdown. However, if you have a brand-new vehicle, you probably do not need roadside assistance. Also, most manufacturers offer complimentary roadside services to new vehicles for the first 10,000+ miles. If you have a lease, your lease agreement might include roadside services already.
- Commute Distance: How far do you drive? If your commute is only a few miles from your home, and you rarely go on vacation, then it might not be worth the investment. However, if you travel a lot, drive long distances for work, and go on weekend adventures, then it could be a good choice.
Lastly, do not forget that some credit card companies offer free roadside services as a membership perk, like American Express. So, you may already have coverage without even knowing it. If you don’t, consider the likelihood you will breakdown, and whether you want to pay monthly for a “maybe” service.