UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Dead batteries can occur at any time. When a dead battery strikes, will car insurance cover it? Will your car insurance pay for someone to come jumpstart your car? Or will you need to pay for the dead battery out of pocket?
Ordinary car insurance will not cover a dead battery. Even if you have full coverage car insurance, it’s unlikely your car insurance policy comes with any type of roadside assistance.
However, all major car insurance companies offer roadside assistance coverage as an additional option on your main policy. GEICO’s Emergency Roadside Service, for example, costs an extra $20 to $50 per year and can cover the cost of jumpstarting a dead battery.
You can also buy third party roadside assistance coverage to cover a dead battery. AAA, for example, is one of the most popular roadside assistance programs in the country. AAA and similar programs will cover the cost of sending someone to your location to jumpstart a dead battery.
Does Car Insurance Cover the Cost of Replacing a Dead Battery?
Sometimes, jumpstarting a car won’t fix your dead battery problem. Sometimes, your dead battery needs to be replaced.
Unfortunately, car insurance does not cover the cost of replacing your dead battery either.
Even if car insurance did cover it, it’s unlikely it would be worth making a claim. Car batteries cost $50 to $200, which is less than your deductible – so it would never be worth it to make a claim for a new car battery.
How Car Insurance Roadside Assistance Plans Work
If you don’t have roadside assistance, then you won’t have dead battery coverage. Roadside assistance programs cover things like:
- Dead battery jumpstarts
- Fuel deliveries
- Lockout services
- Labor to change a flat tire
- Accident assistance
If your car runs out of gas, for example, you can contact the roadside assistance company, and the company will dispatch a technician to your location. The technician may arrive with gas to refill your vehicle. Most roadside assistance plans provide a small amount of gas for free, although some charge for all fuel deliveries.
Towing also varies widely between roadside assistance policies. Most roadside assistance policies will only cover a tow to the nearest service station. Some policies have additional limits – like drivers will need to pay extra if they’re more than 50 miles or 100 miles from the nearest service station.
How Much Do Roadside Assistance Programs Cost?
Roadside assistance programs vary widely in terms of price and coverage.
If you buy roadside assistance through your own insurance company, you might end up paying just $20 to $40 extra per year.
Alternatively, some third-party roadside assistance programs charge anywhere from $50 to $300 per year.
The more you pay, the more coverage you get. The higher-priced roadside assistance plans, for example, may cover the cost of towing your car to the nearest service station no matter how far away it is. These plans can also provide RV and motorcycle coverage, free fuel deliveries, free lockout services, and other services that cost extra on an ordinary car insurance policy.
Should You Buy Roadside Assistance Through your Insurance?
There are pros and cons to buying roadside assistance through your own car insurance provider. Generally, it’s the most hassle-free way to buy roadside assistance. However, plans can vary widely between car insurance companies.
Most major car insurance companies in America require you to pay higher premiums to add roadside assistance to your policy – say, between $15 and $50 per year.
Allstate works differently. Allstate charges you $125 per service call on their roadside assistance program.
The main drawback of getting roadside assistance through your car insurance is that it may not cover everything. You may need to pay extra for fuel delivery, for example. You may pay an extra fee per mile if your car needs to be towed more than 10 miles to a service station.
Overall, roadside assistance programs through your car insurance provider cost just a few extra dollars per month. They’re a cost-effective way to get peace of mind, although they may have some drawbacks.
Third-Party Roadside Assistance Programs
AAA and other organizations provide great roadside assistance at a reasonable rate. Many organizations – like AAA – also come with other perks, including discounted movie tickets, discounted travel services, and cheap hotel rooms.
AAA also has multiple plans catered to the different needs of different drivers. Some drivers need RV and motorcycle roadside assistance, for example, while other drivers do not.
If you want more flexibility and better coverage, then a third-party roadside assistance company may be the better option.
Conclusion: Only Roadside Assistance Programs Cover Dead Batteries
If you have a dead battery, then your car insurance will not cover the cost of jumpstarting that battery unless you have roadside assistance.
Car insurance also does not cover the costs of replacing a dead battery.