What is Roadside Assistance Cover in Car Insurance?

Roadside Assistance (RSA) cover offers the much-needed relief to a car owner if his/her vehicle breaks down or has a mechanical failure on the road or at home. It can be very frustrating to be stranded in an unfamiliar place with no access to a mechanic. This is where the RSA cover comes in handy.

Some car insurance companies offer this protection as an inherent part of the comprehensive car insurance policy. Others offer it as an exclusive add-on insurance cover that can be opted for at the discretion of the car owner.

Coverage Under The Roadside Assistance Service:

The incidents covered by the Roadside Assistance scheme are many, some of which include the following:

  • Mechanical/electrical breakdown - If the vehicle has broken down at home or on the road, the insurer will arrange for a mechanic to repair it at the site of the breakdown. The mechanic will assist the car owner with battery jump start, replacement of flat tyre, and other minor electrical or mechanical repairs. In case the car owner has been locked out of the vehicle, pickup and delivery of spare keys will also be provided.
  • Towing - If the insured vehicle is involved in an accident, the insurance company will arrange for it to be towed to a nearby network garage or authorised service centre safely.
  • Fuel delivery - If the covered vehicle has run out of fuel, the insurer will arrange for up to 5 litres of fuel to be delivered to it. However, some insurers set certain limits on the number of times this service will be provided during the policy term.
  • Hotel stay - If required, the insurance company will arrange for the car owner to be put up at a hotel in the vicinity of the garage where the vehicle is being repaired. He/she will have to bear the cost of the accommodation.
  • Alternate vehicle - The insurance company will arrange for an alternate vehicle/taxi that the car owner can use while the insured vehicle is undergoing repairs. This facility is usually provided to only one destination.
  • Medical coordination - If the car owner is in need of medical assistance following the immobilisation of the insured vehicle, the insurance company will arrange for the same. However, the cost of treatment and medical bills will be borne by the policyholder.
  • Urgent message relay - Some insurance companies assist the insured to get in touch with his/her family and relay urgent messages through conference calls.
  • Delivery of repaired car - Some insurers help in delivering the repaired car to the residence of the policyholder, in case he/she is on tour.

Car insurance companies allow the emergency incident to be reported via an SMS or a phone call. Once the insurer is notified, a mechanic/patrol vehicle will be sent to the location of the vehicle in the shortest possible time. The car will be provided the necessary service and it will be restarted or towed to a reliable workshop.

Is It Necessary To Opt For The Roadside Assistance Cover?

If your comprehensive car insurance policy does not offer you the RSA cover, you can choose to opt for it separately. This totally depends on your insurance needs. The Roadside Assistance cover is useful for people who use their vehicles for long drives and those who are uninitiated of the basic repair work for their cars. It can also prove to be very useful for elderly drivers.

  • Age of the vehicle - In case you own a brand new car, you may not need the RSA cover since the car would be in top working condition. The car dealership may also offer you this facility for the first few years. Roadside Assistance cover is more useful for the owners of older cars.
  • Frequency of use - If you use the vehicle to travel long distances frequently, it is advisable to opt for this cover.
  • Convenience and cost - If you are someone who values the convenience offered by such services, then the RSA cover is ideal for you. Also if you happen to use this service, you will save considerably on the expenses incurred otherwise for getting assistance.

FAQs On Roadside Assistance Cover:

  1. How does the insurance company manage timely help for breakdown events?
  2. The car insurance company will have a partnership with some garages throughout the country that provide Roadside Assistance services to the customers of the insurer. The closest garage will be contacted as and when the insurer is intimated of the emergency. The garage chosen to provide the service will be based on the vehicle itself, its location, and other circumstances.

  3. Which insurance companies offer Roadside Assistance service?
  4. Almost all leading motor insurance companies today offer the Roadside Assistance facility to customers. For instance, Reliance General Insurance offers this facility at no additional costs. However, all taxes and tolls will have to be paid by the policyholder.

  5. How much does the Roadside Assistance cover cost?
  6. The RSA cover is offered to car owners at a nominal cost by most insurance companies. The actual cost and availability of the add-on cover will be at the discretion of the insurance company based on the specifics of each application. Since it is a very useful add-on, it is highly recommended for all car owners.

  7. Do I get legal advice under this add-on cover?
  8. Some insurance companies offer legal assistance under the RSA cover after road accidents. The insurer only connects the policyholder to the legal advisors. The actual cost of the services availed will be borne by the car owner.

  9. Does the Roadside Assistance cover have some exclusions?
  10. Yes, the basic exclusions under the comprehensive car insurance cover hold good under this add-on cover as well. However, you should contact the car insurance company to get a clear picture of the exclusions.

GST Update: GST of 18% is applicable on car insurance effective from the 1st of July, 2017

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