Are you still AA Roadside Assistance member? Do you hope to get towed away in case of your car breakdown and for that hope you still pay $80-$100 a year? Well, there are easier and cheaper options for your roadside assistance, you don’t need to pay AA or any other company out there to provide you that kind of “cover”. The only reason I can think of to keep your membership is if you are worried about empty battery, flat tire or broken windscreen and don’t know how to protect yourself against such events. The good news is that also for these kinds of events there is no need paying regular premiums to AA and the likes for Roadside Assistance.
Here are our suggestions:
#1 Suggestion: Use your smartphone!
The old logic for being AA member was that if you are in some unfamiliar places, you don’t know who to call. Who is the local towing company or the local workshop? AA would tell you that it does not matter, you simply call their toll free number from anywhere in New Zealand and they organise it all for you. That sounds perfectly right for the times in the last century. Not so much today!
If you own any smartphone with GPS and have activated data, the old argument becomes obsolete! Just turn your GPS and data on, go to Google Maps and type “towing” or “breakdown” into the search fields. You will instantly get several suggestions who to call. The Google Maps will display your actual location on the map and marks around representing searched service providers. Simply tap any mark and your smartphone will display the name of the business. Then tap the name and you will see more details including their phone number. To make a phone call simply click or tap on the “phone” icon and that’s all!
Instead of talking to the middleman you can now talk directly to your service provider. No commission to the middle man means that both you and the towing company will be happier. You may get cheaper service and the service provider perhaps better rate. Both sides are happy, well except for the third one who used to stick itself between you two and charge accordingly. Actually, the service may sometimes be more expensive than your original AA premium, depending on your location and distance from towing company, but you can make savings in the long run, assuming you don’t have too many callouts every year or own a really old car that breaks down often.
Companies like AA do have their own employees providing service, but the majority are independent contractors who simply get referrals or leads from them. In some areas some providers perhaps sub-contract for various roadside assistance companies including AA, VTNZ or State Insurance. This means you would get the same service regardless of who are you with. Now you have a chance to get the same work done without any middlemen taking their share.
#2 Suggestion: Prepare for emergencies like flat battery, empty tank, broken window or flat tire
The simple way to never get flat battery is to keep your existing battery in a good shape and replace it when the useful lifespan is approaching. To avoid empty tank, similarly, the easiest way is to never let your tank go below ¼ of its volume. When it approaches that mark, get it refilled. Obviously, no one is perfect and we all sometimes don’t follow known rules. In such case concerning the battery you can buy jump start cables for just $30-$40 (one-time, lifelong investment), have them always in your car and in a case of flat battery simply ask some other driver to give you a hand.
Important! Always connect “+” sign with another “+” and the “-“ with “-“ sign. Should fairly be easy to remember…
The only other reasons that remain to stick with AA are the flat tires and broken windows. Most male know how to replace a spare tire. It’s not that hard at all, so most females should be able to do it as well. If you don’t know, do some practise one Saturday afternoon, asking your husband, brother or friend for to help you.
With broken window, if it’s a side window, you can drive slowly to nearest repaired. If it’s windscreen then you should consider getting towed anyway (use suggestion #1). Many glass repairers offer these days mobile service, so you can use your smartphone here as well. Simply search for “windscreen” and then call the service provider.
As you can see, being prepared is your best Roadside Assistance cover. The second best option is using your smartphone. In our opinion you don’t really need those old age inflexible and overcharging Roadside Assistance insurance companies. Happy and save driving!