Don't add this "benefit" to your policy when you buy auto insurance
Even though I’m a relatively responsible car owner when on the road (6 years since my last fender-bender!), my forgetfulness has led to a fair share of roadside incidents. I’ve locked my keys in my trunk countless times, killed my battery by leaving the headlights on, and once ran out of gas while coming back from a camping trip.
Thankfully, I’ve always had AAA Roadside Assistance, so these incidents have mostly been a short-lived, slightly embarrassing inconvenience.
When I decided to switch insurance carriers this past year, the agent encouraged me to add roadside assistance through their company and cancel my membership with AAA. Bundling this service with them would give me a slight discount while eliminating the hassle of paying for these two services separately. Sounds great, right? WRONG.
After doing some research, I discovered that carriers can use your roadside incidents against you in order to raise your rates. Basically, if you do anything to indicate that you’re a bad car owner or that your vehicle isn’t super reliable, you can become a big red flag to your insurance company. They’ll view you as a higher potential risk and might use this information to raise your premiums.
It’s important to note that not all carriers include roadside assistance in their loss ratio calculations. So make sure you always understand not only the coverage you’re purchasing but also your carrier’s underwriting guidelines.
If you’re someone who frequently takes advantage of roadside assistance — and would practically die without it, like me — you’re probably better off buying your roadside assistance through a separate company. I recommended AAA, but there are a ton of services out there to choose from. As always, shop around.