Car Insurance for Roadside Assistance

Key Points

  • Standalone roadside assistance is usually the cheapest option.

  • It’s possible to take out comprehensive car insurance with roadside assistance cover already included.

  • Costs can vary by hundreds of dollars per year so it pays to shop around.

  • Some roadside assistance services include a joining fee.

Roadside assistance, often referred to as breakdown cover, safeguards you against unexpected car troubles on the road.

Some car insurers offer free roadside assistance as part of their car insurance policy, including a limited number of free callouts per calendar year. Other insurers have roadside cover as an optional extra, usually with comprehensive coverage.

Roadside assistance typically covers various situations, including:

  • Car breakdowns due to mechanical issues.

  • Phone-based assistance to resolve problems remotely.

  • Dispatching a mobile mechanic to the location.

  • Towing the vehicle to a workshop for repairs if necessary.

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How Roadside Assistance Works:

If you’re stranded, the process typically involves a few steps:

  1. A phone consultation to troubleshoot your car’s issue remotely.

  2. Dispatching a mobile technician if your problem persists.

  3. Cover for towing your car to a repair workshop if on-site assistance fails. A surcharge may apply for towing beyond a specified distance.

Finding the Cheapest Roadside Assistance Policy:

When you’re comparing policies, consider more than just your annual premium. Think about how often you drive, and how reliable your car is for long and short trips. Tailor your choice to suit your specific needs:

  • Stick with your current insurer for basic cover if you're happy with your comprehensive policy.

  • Opt for higher-end cover with membership services like NRMA or RACV for premium services and perks.

  • Consider standalone pay as you drive services if you prefer a per-callout payment model.

  • If you enjoy perks, membership services like NRMA and RACV offer various discounts.

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Exclusions and Considerations:

While roadside assistance is invaluable, it comes with certain exclusions, such as:

  • Excludes coverage for accident-related damage.

  • Battery replacements may incur additional charges.

  • Some providers may have age limits for covered vehicles.

  • Towing distances may be limited, with surcharges for longer distances.

  • Pre-existing conditions may result in extra charges.

  • Assistance may not be provided for unattended vehicles or commercial vehicles.

  • Limits on vehicle size and weight may apply.

  • Bogged vehicles may be assisted only if safe retrieval is possible.

  • Surcharges may apply for breakdowns in remote areas.

  • Extreme environmental conditions may impact service availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does roadside assistance count as a claim?

A roadside assistance callout typically does not count as a car insurance claim. However, frequent callouts may lead to premium increases by your car insurance provider.

Can I call a provider if I'm not a member?

Anyone can call roadside assistance providers for help, but a substantial service or joining fee may be required before they’ll dispatch their callout mechanic. This would be in addition to any other charges you’re required to pay.

Stand-alone companies may charge a flat rate per incident, potentially offering a cost-effective solution if you don’t drive - or break down - very often.

Can I get roadside assist if I'm not in my usual car?

Roadside assistance is usually vehicle-specific, ie, it covers your car, not the driver. Additional fees may apply if the specific vehicle in need isn’t covered for your callout.

Does roadside assistance come to your house?

Yes, most roadside assistance policies offer assistance at your home for issues like flat batteries or tyres.

Can you cancel roadside assistance?

Cancellation is possible at any time, but refunds are unlikely, except within the cooling-off period.

How do I renew my roadside assistance?

Renewal processes vary by provider, but in most cases, your cover will automatically renew unless you communicate otherwise.

What type of vehicles cannot be covered by roadside assistance?

Certain vehicles may not be covered due to their weight and height restrictions, including trucks, buses, taxis, limousines, rental or commercial vehicles, motorised homes, unregistered vehicles, tractors, and those used for racing or motor sports.


Understanding the ins and outs of roadside assistance is important for every driver. Experts can provide clarity on your cover options, ensuring you’re informed about this essential service.


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Budget Direct car accident statistics ^Based on average premiums from GIO, Allianz, NRMA & Youi.

This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions. **Compare Club does not compare all car insurance products on the market.