Motorists Often Overpay for Towing, PEMCO Says

February 8, 2006

Motorists often overpay for towing coverage offered by insurance companies, car manufacturers and roadside-service companies, says PEMCO Insurance, based in Seattle.

“Motorists should make sure help is available if their car ever breaks down,” said PEMCO spokesman Jon Osterberg. “But paying for duplicate towing coverage doesn’t make sense. It’s a waste of money.”

When consumers shop for roadside assistance coverage, they can look to their auto insurer, the warranty offered by car manufacturers, or roadside-service companies. But instead of choosing one or the other, consumers often buy coverage from more than one provider without even realizing it, the company said.

For example, you can add towing coverage to your insurance policy for a minimal fee. Because the cost is so low, many policyholders buy it when they first insure their cars and rarely think about it again.

Some people also have towing coverage provided by their car manufacturer’s warranty. Many car manufacturers offer a roadside assistance warranty ranging anywhere from four to eight years, contingent upon routine maintenance checks. Most warranties are free and have a zero deductible, Pemco said.

Other people choose additional coverage through roadside-service companies. Costs run anywhere from $54 to $89 per year, depending on coverage. Unlike other programs, coverage is assigned to the individual rather than the vehicle. Also, a roadside-service company such as AAA offers much more than just roadside assistance for its annual fee.

“If you want all the products and services offered by a roadside-service company, that’s great,” Osterberg said. “But if all you really want is towing coverage, you can buy that for much less. Regardless of what consumers choose, they should check their insurance policies first to see if they already have coverage.”

Consumers can save money by checking their policies and being aware of what is offered and available to them. Over time those expenses add up and can be costly.

“What’s key is, consumers should enjoy peace of mind with roadside- emergency coverage,” said Osterberg. “That’s the responsible thing to do. Just don’t buy duplicate coverages.”

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.