Everything has an app these days, right? Even roadside assistance! In a fast moving world of mobile communication and on-demand services, it makes sense that roadside assistance should be available from your phone, reliably when you need it.
What Do Roadside Assistance Apps Do?
When you have an emergency situation that leaves you stranded at the side of the road without a functioning vehicle, there’s several aspects in the equation that gets you running again.
There’s you - you’ve got the broken car and you’ve got the app.
There’s a towing company, or assistance in the form of a mechanic, somewhere nearby.
There’s a payment that needs to be made.
And to bring these all together, there’s a roadside assistance company that produces the app on your phone.
How Do Apps Differ From Traditional Assistance?
It used to be that when you broke down, you’d make a scramble for your roadside cover details in the glove compartment. Then you’d have to make the call, maybe wait on hold and then explain where you were and what your problem was.
...And that was if you had already bought cover! If not, then the process was much more complicated.
Now, you can have an app on your phone and almost everything is done for you, giving you peace of mind that should anything go wrong, you’ll be back on the road as quickly as possible.
The app can relay your exact position back to the roadside assistance company, and they can co-ordinate the nearest towing company or mechanic.
And last but not least, payment can be made via the app, making the whole process seamless.
Up Front Payment Versus Pay-On-Demand
The main difference between the various offerings are the type of payment. Here you generally have a choice between a prepaid service or a pay-on-demand model.
The prepaid apps generally charge a one time fee or a subscription fee in order to download and use the app.
The benefit here is that you don’t have any hidden costs or surprises. As long as the assistance you need falls within a range of common issues, you will not find yourself any further out of pocket.
Common issues would be flat tires, jump starts, battery replacements and simple mechanical fixes.
Towing services are of course available when the fix cannot take place at the side of the road.
Often service levels are tiered. For instance, AAA has a three tier system – Classic, Plus and Premier. Each offers it’s own benefits and price point.
The next category of apps charge you nothing for downloading them.
You only pay when you use the service.
You can drive happy in the knowledge that all you need to do is fire up the app in case you need assistance.
All the benefits are there – location monitoring, immediate assistance, towing services and convenient payment.
This option may be better for you if you have an older car or do not drive many miles.
There are some advanced features available with some apps that really transform these services into something unique.
Urgentl.ly for example have a breakdown monitoring service. The app feature, called Family View, has accident alert detection and allows family member at home to track the progress of the roadside assistance remotely.
Other providers can monitor the sensors in your car and provide advance warning to first responders in the event of crashes.
We all need roadside assistance now and then. With the right app on your phone, you’ll always know that help is at hand whenever you need it.