Media Release

Australians waste $400m a year on roadside assistance

  • 3 million pay for roadside assistance but wouldn’t use it if their car broke down
  • The average policy costs $133 a year
  • One in four drivers would prefer to call their partner, family or friend if they were stranded

27 June 2018, Sydney, Australia – Over one in five drivers with roadside assistance could be wasting their money, according to new research from, the site that compares virtually everything.

The survey of 1,430 drivers with roadside assistance found that 23% – the equivalent of over 3 million Aussies – wouldn’t even call their roadside assistance if their car broke down.

With the average policy costing $133 a year, that’s nearly $400 million wasted a year on roadside assistance by Australians.

One in four of all Australian drivers (25%) say they’d prefer to call their partner (14%, family (6%) or friend (5%) if they were stranded on the side of the road.

Insurance companies, the police, and the nearest mechanic are also top alternatives who Australians would turn to for help.

Women are far more likely to rely on a spouse, with 22% of female drivers saying they’d call a partner, compared to only 9% of males.

Meanwhile, males are more likely to try to fix their car themselves, with one in 20 hoping to DIY (5%), compared to just 1% of females.

Bessie Hassan, Car Insurance Expert at, says these findings show that Australians may be in the dark about cost.

“Phoning a mate is a habit that’s deeply embedded into Australian culture and this research just goes to show that a car breaking down is no exemption.

“However many Australians seem to be avoiding roadside assistance as their first point of contact, perhaps due to misconceptions about cost or a reluctance to endure potential waiting times.”

“What many people don’t realise is that if you’re already paying for roadside assistance, calling them to jump-start or fix your car is usually completely free.

“However there may be some circumstances in which you’ll be charged a further amount, for example if they replace a battery or fill up your tank.”

The research also showed that those without roadside assistance were prepared to fork out for the service anyway, with 13%.

South Australian drivers are the most likely to call roadside assistance, with 73% saying this would be their priority, compared to only 58% of Western Australians.

South Australians are also the most likely to have roadside assistance policies (85%) compared to 28% of Tasmanian drivers who don’t have it.

Ms Hassan urges Australians to regularly review their finances.

“Those who would prefer to phone a friend or family over their roadside assistance provider should consider reviewing whether they actually need that cover.

“It’s worth looking over your bills every six to 12 months to ensure you’re still getting the best value possible.”

Compare roadside assistance policies online to get the best value.

Who would Australians call first if their car broke down on the side of the road?
(aside from roadside assistance)
1My partner / spouse
3A friend
4My insurance company
5Nobody, I'd attempt to fix it myself
6A tow truck
7The nearest mechanic
8The police
9I'd ask a stranger to help


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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