Roadside Assistance - Who's Australia's best? | Compare from $7/month

Roadside assistance

Roadside assistance can get you out of a sticky situation from only $7 a month. Compare policies and get covered before you hit the road.

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Roadside assistance comes to the rescue of several thousand Aussie motorists who are stranded every year. It can save you from flat tyres, dead batteries, blown gaskets and will even send a locksmith if you lock your keys in the car.

It's available everywhere from insurers to motoring clubs and you can pay for it in a variety of ways, from yearly memberships to one-off callout fees.

Get roadside assistance from $7 a month

Standalone roadside assistance options

Name Product Call-outs (Unlimited/4 per year) Joining Fee Fuel Replacement Locksmith States Available
NRMA Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$0
Nationwide
From $9.99 per month. 24/7, nationwide coverage available.
Budget Direct Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$125
Nationwide
From $6.70 per month.
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Car insurance policies with Roadside Assistance cover built in

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
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What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance is a type of car insurance that protects you if you get stranded because of an issue with your car. It is sometimes called breakdown cover, but it can help out with much more than that.

Roadside assistance can send help day or night for any of the following situations, depending on your insurer and the level of cover you select:

  • Dead batteries. Whether you need a jumpstart or your battery is faulty and needs to be replaced, most technicians can help on the spot.
  • Getting locked out of your car. If you accidentally lock your keys in your car, your provider will help you access your vehicle or organise a locksmith.
  • Running out of fuel. Mobile technicians normally carry an emergency supply of petrol or diesel, but they will need to arrange towing if your car runs out of LPG fuel.
  • Failure to start. Sometimes you just can't get the engine running, and there is no immediately obvious reason why.
  • Flat tyres. Putting on the spare wheel is a strenuous and grubby task, and even if you're physically capable of doing it, there are plenty of reasons why you might prefer to get help.
  • Towing. Most insurers will pay to tow your vehicle if the mechanic can't get it running and they may even agree to tow your trailer to the same place they're towing the car (if it's within their size and weight limits).
  • Emergency accommodation and transportation. Some top-end policies include other perks like paying for emergency accommodation and taxi fares.

How does it work?

If you get stranded on the road, all you need to do is call your roadside assistance provider for help. The process will usually go something like this:

  • You'll have a phone consultation. The dispatcher will ask you about the problem and initially attempt to help you resolve it over the phone.
  • They'll send a mobile technician. If phone-based advice fails to resolve the problem, your provider will send a mobile mechanic to your location.
  • They'll give you a tow. If the technician can't get you back on the road, you'll be covered for a tow to the mechanic's workshop for repair. A surcharge will usually apply if you need to be towed further than a specific distance spelled out in your policy. Your policy may cover minor repairs to things like hoses and drive belts but you will be responsible for paying for major repairs.

How does roadside assistance compare?

Here is how some insurance companies in Australia stack up. Most insurers offer very similar cover as each other but as you can see, the joining requirements, cost and benefit limits can vary quite a bit.

  • None of the following policies require a joining fee, although only a few will let you purchase roadside assistance as standalone cover.
  • Towing limit can vary by as much as 30km in urban areas and 50km in rural areas.
  • Cost can vary by more than $30 per year.
CompanyCost per yearJoining feeCallout limitsNeed to hold a policy with them?Lockout / Lost keyOut of fuelBreakdown towingGet quote

Youi

Included with a comprehensive policy$0First 2 includedYes$15010 litres50km in the city, 20km in rural areasGet Quote

Budget Direct

$79.95$0UnlimitedNo$125$1515km in the city, 50km in rural areasGet Quote
coles logo

Coles

$83/year$0UnlimitedYes$150Enough to reach the next petrol station20km in the city, 50km in rural areasGet Quote

NRMA

$113$0UnlimitedNoYesYes20km in the city, towing to nearest NRMA centre in rural areasGet Quote

AAMI

$86$0UnlimitedYes$250$1020km in the city, 100km in rural areas

Allianz

$99$0UnlimitedYes$200Yes20km in the city, 50kms in rural areas

GIO

$95$0UnlimitedYes$250$1020km in the city, 100km country
Suncorp logo new

Suncorp

$95$0UnlimitedYes$250$1020km in the city, 100km country

Apia

$84$0UnlimitedYes$250$1020km in the city, 100km in rural areas

Is it included in car insurance?

Youi is the only insurer to include roadside assistance for free if you have a standard car insurance policy with it. However, it only comes with a comprehensive policy and only your first two callouts are free per year. After that, you're still covered but you'll pay for additional callouts as you use them.

Many other insurers offer them as an optional extra that you can pay for on top of your standard car insurance policy. Again, it's usually only offered with comprehensive cover. You can find it for as little as $7 per month so it shouldn't bump up the cost of your cover that much.

A small handful of insurers will let you buy roadside assistance insurance on its own. That means you can have your standard insurance with someone else. If you buy it with one of these insurers, you don't have to have comprehensive insurance or even any other insurance at all.

Does roadside assistance count as a claim?

A roadside assistance callout doesn’t generally count as a claim, which means that it shouldn’t affect your car insurance premium. This is because roadside assistance is a separate service to car insurance — it’s designed to get your car going if it breaks down, while car insurance covers you for loss or damage. Be careful though, if you need to use roadside assistance frequently, then there’s a chance that your car insurance provider will increase your premium.

Where else can I buy roadside assistance insurance?

You can also buy roadside assistance cover through automobile clubs like the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) or the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV).

With these providers, the service is structured as an annual membership that functions independently of car insurance policies that cover you for accident, theft, or third-party damages.

With membership-based roadside assistance, you can usually choose from different levels of cover. This can range from a cheaper option that includes a limited number of callouts, basic mechanical assistance and towing, to top-of-the-line cover that helps with replacement car hire and accommodation.

Some other companies offering roadside assist include:

  • Standalone roadside assistance organisations including 24/7 Roadservices and 365 Roadside Assistance.
  • App-based assistance providers such as gotU and Road Angels.
  • Some vehicle manufacturers offer roadside assistance cover if your car is regularly maintained at an authorised service centre.

Can I call a provider if I'm not a member?

Yes. If your car breaks down, you can still call a roadside assistance provider even if you're not a member and they’ll come to help you. However, there’s usually a large fee. For example, with Budget Direct, non-members need to pay a $100 non-refundable service fee as well as the annual membership fee of $79.95. It’s a similar situation with other providers like NRMA which charges an unspecified On Road Join & Go Fee.

How much does roadside assistance cost?

CompanyCost per yearGet Quote
youi-Business-Insurance

Youi

Included with a comprehensive policyGet Quote

Budget Direct

$79.95Get Quote

AAMI

$86

Allianz

$99

Apia

$84

GIO

$95
Suncorp logo new

Suncorp

$95

How can I find the cheapest roadside assistance policy?

To find the cheapest roadside assistance policy, you have to look at more than just the cost per year. There could be hidden fees or other purchase requirements that drive up the cost.

That means you'll need to look closely at the policy and match that with your needs to see which is providing you with the cheapest deal. Take the following examples from the table below:

  • Youi is technically the cheapest, since the first two callouts are free. However, you need to have a comprehensive car insurance policy with Youi and you have to pay for your additional callouts. If you drive a beater, this could quite likely cost you more in the long run since you probably don't need comprehensive cover and you're more likely to need more callouts than if you had a brand new car.
  • Budget Direct and NRMA are the only two that don't require you to have standard car insurance. In both cases, this would be cheaper for you if you had no intention of buying additional cover or switching your insurer. Budget Direct then looks like the obvious option, until you see that it won't tow your car nearly as far regionally. If you're in a regional area, the towing surcharge could drive the cost up.
  • All other insurers require you to have a standard car insurance policy with them. If you plan on getting standard insurance anyway, Apia and AAMI are not too far off in price from Budget Direct. However, you'd have to take into consideration that they both require you to have comprehensive car insurance and the amount they charge for that.
  • Some policies include more than just roadside assistance in their membership. When you get roadside assistance through automobile clubs like NRMA, you become a "member" with access to a host of additional offers that can save you money down the road. For example, NRMA membership opens you up to discounts on flights, dining, petrol, car hire and additional NRMA insurance products.

Is there an option to pay monthly?

Paying monthly is only available with certain roadside assistance providers, such as NRMA and RACQ. Most car insurers who also offer roadside assistance, like Budget Direct and Coles, only have annual fee options. Speak to the insurer directly if you want to pay a monthly fee.

Where can I find the best road assistance policy?

The best roadside assistance policy will be different for everyone since everyone's needs are different. Here is how to find the best policy based on your situation:

  • You are happy with your current insurer and just need basic roadside assistance. If you have a comprehensive policy that you are happy with and just want basic roadside assistance, your best bet is to take yours out with your current insurer if it's offered. This will save you all that time comparing prices on a product that is already relatively inexpensive, plus you might be able to score a discount.
  • You want all the bells and whistles. If you want a higher-end product, membership services like NRMA and RACV offer different levels of cover, some of which offer premium services like emergency accommodation cover and taxi cover. These will come in handy if you often travel far from home.
  • You don't want to be locked in. If the thought of another yearly membership or premium payment drives you crazy, your best bet is probably a standalone service that charges per callout. Examples include Youi, which offers two free callouts with your comprehensive cover (and charges for every callout thereafter), and an app-based service like Road Angels, which charges per callout without requiring any other cover.
  • You like perks. If you like getting member discounts, the best policy for you would be with a membership service like NRMA and RACV. These providers offer a wide range of discounts on products like petrol, flights, movie tickets, entertainment and more.

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What kinds of exclusions are there?

Roadside assistance is normally limited to small-scale mechanical problems that immobilise your car.

  • You will not be covered for damage caused by an accident.
  • If your battery needs to be replaced, you will normally be expected to pay for the new one.
  • Some providers will not offer roadside assistance for vehicles that are older than a specified age.
  • There are limits on how far your vehicle will be towed if the mechanic is unable to get you going again.
  • Some providers will charge extra if your car breaks down due to a pre-existing condition.
  • You will not receive assistance if your vehicle is unattended.
  • Standard roadside assistance does not apply to taxis, limousines and similar commercial vehicles.
  • Limits are usually stipulated for the maximum size and weight of vehicles that can be covered.
  • If your car is bogged, most providers will only help you get it unstuck if they can safely do so from a solid substrate, such as an adjacent sealed road.
  • A surcharge may apply if you are stranded in a remote area.
  • You might not be able to obtain roadside assistance in extreme environmental conditions.

Can I still get roadside assist if I’m not already covered?

The major providers typically allow you to become a member at the time your car breaks down, but they will charge you an additional “on-the-go” fee. This type of fee also applies to any incident that takes place within a specified time frame after you purchase a membership, normally ranging from 24 to 72 hours.

Some stand-alone companies charge a flat rate per incident for arranging assistance. This means that instead of joining a membership program for a year and forking out an additional on-the-go fee, you only pay for the one-off help you need. This can be a lot cheaper than taking out membership on the spot if you just need to get a tyre changed. However, stand-alone assistance rapidly becomes more expensive if you need more than one or two callouts in a year.

Whichever option you choose, always read the terms and conditions to know exactly what you’re covered for.

Does it cover me nationwide?

Once you’re eligible for roadside assistance, you’re covered no matter where in Australia you are. Most state-based organisations, such as the RACQ or RACV, have reciprocal arrangements with one another. This means that you can avail yourself of local services if you’re stranded while travelling interstate, without having to pay anything more than you would if the problem occurred in your home state.

Can I get roadside assist if I’m not in my usual car?

Like other forms of insurance, such as comprehensive policies, roadside assistance is purchased to cover a specific vehicle, rather than a specific driver. So in most cases, it doesn’t matter who is driving the car, as long as the car itself is covered for roadside assistance.

With some organisations, if you are already a member but the specific car that’s in trouble is not covered, you will still need to pay an on-the-go fee, but it will be heavily discounted.

Does roadside assistance come to your house?

It can, yes. Most roadside assistance policies can come to your house if you have a flat battery or tyre and can’t get it going yourself. In certain cases, you might have to pay extra for home start but this additional add-on is generally only something you’ll find is done in the UK.

Can you cancel roadside assistance?

Yes, you can cancel roadside assistance whenever you want. Because most policies come with an annual limit, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to receive a full refund, unless you cancel within the cooling-off period (this is usually around 21 or 30 days from when you purchased the policy).

What type of vehicles cannot be covered by roadside assistance?

There are some vehicles that might not be covered by roadside assistance. This is often due to weight and height restrictions. These vehicles can include:

  • Vehicles over a specific weight (e.g. 2.5 tonnes, 6 tonnes)
  • Vehicles over a specific height (e.g. 3.3m)
  • Trucks and buses
  • Taxis and limousines
  • Rental or commercial use vehicles
  • Motorised homes
  • Unregistered vehicles
  • Tractors and farm equipment
  • Vehicles being used for racing or motor sports

How do I renew my roadside assistance?

It depends on who your provider is, but in most cases, it will renew automatically, unless you let them know you don’t want it to renew.

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