Consider this when deciding on a roadside assist deal

A reader raised an interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. When she bought her new car, it included – as so many do these days – roadside assist. In her case, it as for the duration of the new car warranty, which was three years.

Such deals are one of the many incentives that car companies are including to make their products more attractive and with auto association costs rising year upon year, one that has obvious appeal to motorists watching the pennies.

Like most of us, the main reason for being a paid-up member of your state or territory’s auto association is the peace of mind that you have roadside assistance should you need it.

It seemed an obvious choice for the reader to let her auto club membership lapse and rely on her roadside assistance package that was part of the purchase price of her new car – especially since almost all car company roadside assist packages are operated by the local auto association anyway.

So far, so good.

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However, after a few years of ownership, and not receiving the auto association magazine which she always enjoyed reading, she realised her car company roadside assist had expired and she was no longer covered.

She approached the RAA to renew her membership, only to be told she would have to pay a joining fee and revert to the lowest membership level. So there was an unexpected expense involved. Perhaps even more worryingly, by dropping from her previous gold membership to the lowest level, such things as car and household insurance premiums would be higher and she would miss out on other membership benefits to which she had previously been entitled.

Keep this in mind before allowing your auto association membership to lapse while you enjoy the benefits of a car company roadside assist program or one provided by your car insurance company.

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Stephen Corby, writing for, adds the following advice: “Shop around and review the deals and you can find emergency roadside assistance for as little as $80 a year. These budget plans are designed to get you back on the road for common problems like flat batteries and running out of fuel. But there are more expensive plans ($200-plus) offered by large insurers for those drivers after premium extras like higher towing distances, a hire car while your vehicle is in the shop and emergency accommodation and transport – a useful extra for those who travel extensively in remote areas.”

Paul Murrell is a motoring writer and creator of, which specialises in “car advice for people whose age and IQ are both over 50”. This article first appeared on

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Written by Paul Murrell

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