Roadside assistance is a service provided to a motorist whose vehicle has a breakdown or mechanical failure on the roadway. Roadside service is usually offered with a motorist's full coverage insurance policy, through companies such as AAA. It may also be offered to a motorist through a credit card company, the purchase of tires or when buying a new vehicle.
Emergency roadside assistance covers many problems a driver might experience on the roadway. These include flat tires, being locked out, mechanical failures, out of fuel or dead batteries. In situations such as these, contractors of the roadside service company will come out to the car and assist in taking care of the problem. The measures they take to assist the driver will depend upon what the problem is.
A driver that experiences a flat tire can expect a contractor for the roadside assistance company to come out and change his tire. If he doesn't have a spare tire, the roadside professional will drive him to an authorized facility to get his tire fixed. The cost of fixing the tire is paid for by the driver, but there is usually no charge for the transportation service.
Keys that are locked in the car can be retrieved by roadside service professionals. Manufacturer approved tools are used to get inside the car to retrieve the keys. If the driver has lost his keys, a professional locksmith is dispatched to re-key the vehicle. The driver is only responsible for the cost of the locksmith and a new set of keys.
If a driver experiences a mechanical failure on the road, he can call his roadside assistance provider. The operator can dispatch a tow truck to transport the driver and his vehicle to a repair facility, usually within a predetermined radius. The driver isn't usually responsible for the cost of the tow, as it is covered in the service plan. He is responsible for the necessary repairs to his vehicle.
When a driver runs out of fuel, the roadside assistance company will deliver a small amount of gas. The volume of gas, usually around three gallons (11.36 L), is just enough to allow the driver to get to a service station to fill up. With most roadside service plans, the cost of gas in included in the membership.
In the case of a dead battery, a roadside assistance professional will send someone out to jump start the vehicle. It isn't necessary for the driver to have his own cables. Most professionals will clean off the driver's battery terminals and jump start the vehicle. There is usually no charge for this service.