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Millions of Aussies call family over roadside assistance – but does it really make sense?

Posted: 17 August 2020 3:21 pm
News

Broken car

Roadside assistance starts at around $7 a month, yet a third of drivers would still rely on friends or family if they broke down.

Who would you call if your car suddenly broke down and you were left stranded by the side of the road? Well, according to a new Finder survey, millions of drivers trust family or friends to step in and save the day.

Out of 1,007 respondents, 16% said they would call their spouse or partner if they broke down, a further 11% would call a family member and 5% would call a friend. However, the reliance on our loved ones might not be the best decision.

While some issues can be fixed fairly easily, there are plenty of car problems which require expert help - including lock-outs, rescues, and electrical faults.

In fact, NRMA technicians attended 61,347 vehicle lock-outs and 98,180 electrical faults in the 12 months leading up to September 2017. The recovery service also rescued 3,767 children and pets from vehicles in the same time period.

Of course, many people rely on friends or family because it's the cheaper option - but just how convenient is it for you and them? Would they be able to drop everything to get you out of a tightspot without delay? Would you want them to?

Considering how cheap a roadside assistance policy can be, it's an inconvenience most Aussies can afford to avoid. Finder research shows a standalone roadside assistance policy can start at less than $7 a month.

It's also fairly common for car insurers to offer roadside assistance as an optional extra, while some even include the perk as standard in their comprehensive policies.

Find roadside assistance for less than $7 a month

Name Product Call-outs (Unlimited/4 per year) Joining Fee Fuel Replacement Locksmith States Available
Budget Direct Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$125
Nationwide
From $6.70 per month.
NRMA Roadside Assistance
Unlimited
No joining fee
$0
Nationwide
From $9.99 per month. 24/7, nationwide coverage available.
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See car insurers which offer roadside assistance

The table below features Finder partners which offer roadside assistance as an optional extra or built-in perk.

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. 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.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their 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.
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.
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. You'll get 15% off when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
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.
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include but you'll also be entitled to some benefits on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
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