Roadside assistance is a very useful service which will help a motorist whose vehicle has broken down on the side of a road. The extent of the services provided by roadside assistance, as well as the duration of the coverage will vary from person to person. This usually depends on where the driver has roadside assistance from as there are various ways to get it - certain premium models of cars have this service included for varying lengths of time in different packages; credit card companies can also offer roadside assistance as part of various promotions. However, the most common source of roadside assistance is through a full coverage auto insurance policy.
What Roadside Assistance Involves
Not all breakdown problems are covered by roadside assistance, but the service does take care of most common issues at no cost to the driver. For instance, a contractor will come and change a flat tire, but only if the driver has his own spare. If he does not, the contractor will tow him to the nearest facility where he can get the tire fixed, but this comes at the expense of the driver. The towing service is usually free.
If the car has a dead battery, someone from roadside assistance will come and jumpstart it using their own cables. If this does not work, however, the contractor will tow the driver to the nearest repair facility.
There is some confusion regarding the responsibilities of the people working for roadside assistance. They are not required to fix whatever is wrong with a car, but rather get it into a position where it can be fixed by another professional, usually at the cost of the driver. As seen above, if the fix is not easy and immediate, then all a contractor can do is take the driver and his car to the nearest mechanic's garage.
If there is anything mechanical wrong with the car, the contractor will often not even attempt any kind of repair jobs and just tow the car. If the vehicle runs out of gas, roadside assistance will deliver gas to the stranded car, but only a small amount (around three gallons), just enough to allow the driver to reach a gas station.
Lastly, if a driver locks himself out of the car, a professional locksmith is dispatched to him and will re-key his vehicle, but the driver is required to pay for the services and the materials of the locksmith.