Breakdown Insurance for the Daily Commuter

If you are a daily work commuter, you will love breakdown insurance. It is true that your vehicle needs to be less than seven years old and have fewer than 100,000 miles on it to qualify, and that you must purchase your breakdown insurance while it is still under warranty. With all that said, even the best of vehicles can develop unexpected glitches. When minutes count, it is good to have someone you can call.

A Miniature Case History

A woman and her teen-aged daughter stop at a McDonald’s for breakfast. The day before, her vehicle had been in the repair shop to have its brakes repaired. After they obtained their breakfast, mother and daughter walk back to the vehicle, only to discover that the parking brake was on and would not release. The mother’s job was normally 45 minutes away from the McDonald’s, and the daughter’s school thirty minutes away. Even though she called the repair shop, they replied they could do nothing from where they were located even though the mechanical failure turned out to be their fault. The daughter missed her first class at the local junior college and the mother was late for work – again. This particular vehicle had been the cause of several late arrivals. The vehicle was too old for breakdown insurance, but roadside assistance might have saved the day.

Value of Buying New

Let it be said here that no vehicle dealership is backing this statement, but there is something to be said for purchasing a new or even nearly new vehicle. Although you will immediately be slammed with depreciation, it is easier to get a loan for a new car or truck than for one that is used. You will have a warranty for at least the first year of operation, and possibly for the second, and you will be able to begin breakdown insurance that will cover major repairs for the first seven years or 100,000 miles of operation of your vehicle. New doesn’t have to mean fancy. You can get a basic sedan for less than $17,000. You are likely to pay a little more in insurance, so be prepared for a rate hike as compared to the used car you trade in. But the biggest benefit is that if it breaks down, you can call someone to come get it and fix it without being out of pocket for a major repair.

Aging Vehicles

Aging vehicles are not always a bad choice, but you should be prepared for frequent small repairs and the possibility of large repairs. If your vehicle is second hand out of the insurable for breakdowns range and beyond your last extended warranty, it is advisable to develop and keep a revolving savings account of at least $1500 and $3000 is better. At the 200,000 mark, vehicles are more likely to develop major mechanical failures such as locked transmissions, worn piston sockets, and drivetrain issues. As you begin to add up the repairs, that new car payment might begin to look better by comparison especially if you are not an auto mechanic and do not have one in the family. If you are a commuter whose job depends on getting to work on time, having an inexpensive runabout that can be covered by breakdown insurance can be a real job saver.

The Reality of Vehicle Ownership and Work

The fact is that unless you are lucky enough to work from home or live within walking distance of your job, you will need some sort of transportation. For many people that means owning and operating a car, which makes breakdown insurance your best friend.

Road Trips and Breakdown Coverage

Breakdown coverage is far better for road trips than an extended warranty. Breakdown insurance is more flexible when it comes to selecting a repair shop. However, something to keep in mind is the miles you will be traveling and how close you are to the 100,000-mile cut off for coverage. If you are getting close, you might consider roadside assistance instead of or in addition to your breakdown coverage.

Save on Tickets and Enjoy the Scenery

It might seem like a good idea to save money on airplane, bus or train tickets by driving across country, but do it yourself transportation has the same hazards as many DIY projects: when trouble starts, there aren’t any experts to call unless you set up a contingency plan.

Mountains, Vehicles, and Towing

It is fun to watch those shows about big rigs and towing, but it isn’t nearly as much fun to be involved in a situation that requires a tow truck. It is even worse when you are hundreds of miles away from home and there really isn’t anyone to call. That’s where breakdown coverage or roadside assistance or both can be amazingly helpful. First, you have someone to call. Help is only as far away as your cell phone. If you have your regular vehicle insurance through the same company as your breakdown insurance, you only need one number for your vehicle emergencies.

Second, by adding roadside assistance to your breakdown coverage, you can have help for those minor problems such as a flat tire or a loose muffler. Most roadside assistance companies cover 1 hour of roadside help, which is usually plenty of time to change a tire, or to assess a problem that is going to require a tow truck.

Safety for You

It was in 1971 that the Doors recorded “Riders on the Storm,” a song that includes a verse that details the perils of picking up hitchhikers. While you probably know better than to pick up strangers, when your vehicle breaks down, you are vulnerable, especially on lonely stretches of road. The person who stops and asks if you need help is probably one of the good guys but could possibly be one of the not so good guys. When you call your insurance company and a uniformed person with correct credentials and a company vehicle shows up, you know that you are going to receive help. If you have no one else to call, remain in your vehicle and contact the local highway patrol.

Breakdown coverage or roadside assistance are usually inexpensive policies. Whether you are traveling alone or with your family, it is good to know that there is someone to call.

Your Towing is Covered

Sometimes those road trips are a little more expensive than anticipated or you have a little more fun than you had planned. When this happens, you can find yourself short on cash. While there are limits to how far either your breakdown coverage or your roadside assistance contract will allow for towing, you can count on arriving at the nearest repair shop that will work on your type of vehicle. That can be comforting if your funds are a bit more limited than you anticipated.

Just a Little Layer of Comfort

Breakdown insurance or roadside assistance can create a little layer of comfort between you and the harsh reality of being stranded because of something simple like a flat tire or because of a real disaster such as a broken timing gear. Just think of it as a security blanket for commuting or for those long road trips.