Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance

If you’ve ever locked your keys in the car or had a flat car battery, you’d appreciate the convenience of roadside assistance.

Roadside assistance, also known as breakdown cover, is a service that provides assistance to motorists, who have become stranded as a result of mechanical failure or other vehicle-related issues.

The service is often provided through the motorist’s car insurance policy as an add-on cost, which is paid annually.

Some car insurance providers even offer the service free-of-charge to policy holders, as an extra incentive to lure or retain customers.

Others offer discounted introductory rates, such as ‘three months free cover’ to win new business.

How it works
Membership usually entitles the customer to 24/7 roadside assistance or advice over the phone.

A motorist will contact their provider with an explanation of the incident, before a mechanic or service operator is dispatched to attend the vehicle.

Some of the main reasons to call for roadside assistance include:

  • breakdown towing – if your car is broken down and you need it towed to a mechanic to be fixed
  • flat battery assistance – mobile mechanic can replace your flat battery or charge it up on the spot
  • flat or damaged tyre assistance – they can patch up and pump your tyres with enough life to drive it to a mechanic for repair or replacement
  • emergency fuel supply – if you are out of petrol they can provide you with enough to get you to a petrol station
  • key retrieval – if you’ve lost or locked your keys in the car they can retrieve them

With so many car insurance companies offering roadside assistance on the market, competition to win your business is high, which is great news for drivers.

Many providers of roadside assistance also offer policy holders with special member benefits, such as road maps, motoring magazines and discounts on car servicing and petrol, among other things.

There are often a number of conditions and exclusions for each policy, and exclusions often come into play when the driver is at fault for the incident or if you are towing non-regulation trailers or caravans, for instance.

So it’s important to read the provider’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before signing up for roadside assistance and compare policies online to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your situation.



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Learn more about car insurance

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance.