Roadside Assistance

There you are, out on the open road enjoying a leisurely drive when you notice it - a strange hissing sound that seems to be coming from under the bonnet. Now is not the time to be asking yourself if roadside assistance is a worthwhile investment.
Young couple opening the doors to their car

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What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance is essentially a breakdown service that means, depending on your situation, you’ll have someone to help if you find yourself with a flat tyre, flat battery or a range of other mechanical misfortunes. All you need to do is call. Typically, you buy it on its own or as an optional cover when you take out car insurance. Like all types of cover, the features that come with roadside assistance vary from provider to provider.

How does roadside assistance work?

First-things-first. If you do breakdown or have an auto issue, you call your roadside assistance provider. They’ll ask you a series of questions to try to pinpoint the problem. With any luck, it may turn out to be something minor that can be fixed over the phone. If not, however, your provider will send out a roadside contractor or a tow truck to get you going again. In the rare case that they can’t rectify the problem on the spot, they’ll arrange for your car to be towed. This is all dependent on the terms and conditions of the roadside assistance policy you have.

What does roadside assistance cover?

When it comes to cars, there are some typical situations that crop up again and again. And it’s these common scenarios that roadside assistance is geared towards fixing. One thing to be aware of when you do make a call is that roadside assistance will typically only cover you for a fixed amount and certain types of jobs. Depending on the situation, you could be up for costs like parts or labour.


Aaahhh, the breakdown. It’s a helpless feeling, but with roadside assistance cover, you can usually have a tow truck dispatched to fetch your unresponsive ride. You’ll probably find that providers have a distance limit for towing (for example, 20km in metro areas, and up to 100km in regional areas).

Flat tyres

Another classic. If you hear the dull THUMP-THUMP of a flat type, a call to roadside assistance will see someone out to help you (within kilometer limits) to either inflate or replace it with your spare. Should you pop the boot and find that your spare is also flat (or missing), they’ll usually arrange to tow your car to the nearest mechanic.

Flat batteries

When you turn your key or push your start button and nothing happens, just pick up the phone. A contractor will soon be there to give you a jump-start or replace your battery, if necessary. A new battery will usually be an extra cost.


Keys seem to have a mind of their own. So if your keys somehow end up locked in your car, or get themselves lost (but not stolen), roadside assistance may be able to help by sending a locksmith out to help you. Like all specifics, though, be sure to check this with your provider.

Is roadside assistance part of car insurance?

Typically, no. But it may be an option available with certain car insurance policies. Otherwise, it’s a separate policy you’ll need to buy independently.

Is roadside assistance considered a claim?

If there’s one piece of good news about your car breaking down, here it is: calling on roadside assistance isn’t counted as making a “claim”.

Do I need roadside assistance if my car is still under warranty?

These days, some cars come with roadside assist as part of their new-car warranty. But it always pays to check carefully to see what’s included and for how long.

How should I choose roadside assistance cover?

Sorry, but we’ll have to answer this question with a whole bunch of questions. Because, as when considering any type of cover, you need to know all the terms, conditions, restrictions and limitations of your roadside assistance policy. So here are some things to ask:

  • Is this Roadside Assistance available 24/7?
  • How do I contact roadside assistance for help?
  • How many callouts am I allowed?
  • Do you have a technical advice hotline?
  • What are your geographical limits (for instance, am I still covered if I’m interstate)?
  • What are the financial limits to the different benefits/services offered?
  • How far can I be towed if I break down?

That’s a lot to think about. But if you do your homework before you hit the road, you can travel easy knowing that you won’t find yourself stranded without help.

Compare car insurance with iSelect

When you purchase car insurance with iSelect, we can also help you purchase roadside assistance with some insurers. Compare car insurance online from our range of policies and providers today, or call our friendly team on 13 19 20.

Last updated: 22/02/2021