It’s dark. The highway is deserted. You’re driving alone. Still miles from your house. You’re looking at the road ahead and suddenly you hear a distinguishable loud bang, followed by clunking, and a loss of power in your engine. You pull to the hard shoulder, get out of the car, and pop the hood (as they always do on TV) and then….what next? Your next step is to probably take out your cell phone, to call your spouse or to find a local auto mechanic.

We’ve all worry about it. And many of us have actually experienced precisely these circumstances. However, funnily enough, most of us don’t actually plan for these kinds of eventualities. Sure, some of us belong to a roadside assistance club like the AAA, but most drivers don’t.

Having some kind of roadside assistance plan could be one of the best investments you make when you drive – after purchase good insurance, that is! Whether you simply need them for a quick tire change, or to tow you to the nearest dealer for your type of vehicle, when you need it, this kind of service is a godsend.

So, when it comes to choosing the best roadside assistance service for you, here are a few things that you might want to consider before spending any money.:

When you purchase a new vehicle, a lot of manufacturers supply comprehensive roadside support services as part of their warranty. Whether you lease or buy a new car or truck, consult your dealer to see if provide any kind of complimentary roadside assistance.

If your vehicle doesn’t come with free roadside assistance, then you may want to see if your credit card company offers this for free. The American Express Gold Card provides towing, emergency fuel delivery, a car lockout service, and tire replacement for all Gold Card members throughout the United State and Canada. If you’re paying them annual service fees, you want to take all the benefits you can, right?

Does your car come with any kind of remote online support, such as On-Star? These companies also offer a lot of roadside assistance services if you find you’ve broken down on the road, and even will automatically contact the emergency services if your air-bag deploys. Clever, huh?

And of course there are the traditional automoble clubs like the American Automobile Association (AAA), who offer a quick response to roadside emergency situations. They also offer other non-emergency services too, such as travel planning assistance, vehicle funding services, and discounted offers for travelers, such as hotel discounts, and vehicle repair and servicing discounts.

Always be conscious of the benefits of all of your potential roadside help programs that might already be within your reach, so that you’re not paying to duplicate services that you already have. Also, it is advisable to have at least one full-service program, which includes hotel stay, because the last thing you want is to be spending the night on the roadside in the middle of nowhere. You only need these kinds of services when you least expect them, so the best time to plan and prepare, is before you need to call the helpline.

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