Picking the right roadside assistance plan involves understanding all details

Towing radius is a critical feature in all plans

CLEVELAND - Having a roadside assistance plan can be a real peace of mind for many motorist, but at times, choosing the right plan can be a little unnerving.

AAA East Central Public Affairs Director Brian Newbacher recommends consumers pay careful attention to all details when considering the right roadside plan for their needs.

Newbacher said he believes towing radius is a key component in any plan, along with basic roadside services like tire repair, gasoline delivery and on-scene jump starting.

Newbacher said AAA's basic plan has remained at $49 for more than a decade and includes a full list of services.

"Now we have a service that brings a new battery to your location and we can install it right there if you need it," Newbacher said. "We'll even test your battery at the scene, and if you don't need it, we'll just jump you and get you back on the go. If you do need a new battery we'll replace it and it has a three-year warranty."

AAA basic plan includes a 3-mile towing radius to a location of your choice. Any additional mileage will include a fee.

Cleveland BBB Vice President Sue McConnell told NewsChannel5 it's important consumers understand every plan detail before signing up, especially when it comes to the towing package.

"Where are they going to tow your car, do you get to pick the place?" McConnell said. "If it's the manufacturer's package, they might want to send you to the local dealership. How many miles away will they tow your vehicle and how many times a year are you covered for towing under the plan?"

McConnell said she believes it's key motorists realize what's included, and just as importantly, what's not included.

New car manufacturers are now including roadside assistance packages to lure buyers away from a used car purchase.

The GM roadside assistance plan is now an important part of the new-car buying experience at Serpentini Chevrolet of Strongsville.

"What roadside assistance is designed for is to make sure the customer has total peace of mind," president Bob Serpentini said.

"Call the 800 number, so if you break down, they will tow you to the nearest GM dealer. If your battery is dead, they will come and give you a jump start. If your tires are flat, they will take care of it. And it's good for five years, 100,000 miles and there's no charge."

Motorists are encouraged to research customer reviews and forums online before purchasing a roadside assistance plan.

It's always a good idea to check a plans satisfaction rating with the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General's office.

Spending a half hour to read all of the plans features and asking follow-up questions is an important step toward making the right choice and avoiding roadside surprises.

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