What is Roadside Assistance for US Car Hire?

When you collect a hire car from a rental company in the USA with a pre-paid rental voucher, you are often offered an additional package that is generally referred to as Enhanced Roadside Assistance. The actual name varies according to the supplier. The cost is around $7 – $10 per day plus local taxes.

What is Roadside Assistance?

All our pre-paid rental vouchers include Basic Mechanical Assistance.  If something goes wrong mechanically with the rental car, the company you have hired from will assist you. This might be towing you back to your holiday accommodation.  Your car may be swapped for a new one,  or they might just get you back on the road. The important bit to note is the mechanical aspect.

Enhanced Roadside Assistance

This covers things that may go wrong due to human error. For example:

  • Flat Battery (a faulty battery is covered)
  • Damage caused by putting the wrong fuel type in the car (e.g. putting diesel in a petrol car)
  • Key replacement if you lose the key
  • Roadside assistance if you lock yourself out of the car
  • Damage to: interior or child seats, caused by your negligence

This could also be damage to the inside of the car from spilt drinks.  Perhaps you have been enjoying yourself on a ride at a theme park and then watched as your car keys have disappeared into the structure of the ride – never to be seen again! This is not an exhaustive list!

All of the above are down to human error and not the fault of the supplier. You either pay to rectify the situation, or, take out the additional Roadside assistance package. Then you know any cost is taken care of should the worst happen.

Excess Waiver Insurance Packages

Available for pre-holiday purchase only, these packages are like travel insurance. You will be covered for ‘human error’ things along with a few extra benefits, such as mobile phone charges if your breakdown/incident involves lots of phone calls. Excess Waiver insurance is bought in advance of your trip. Pay locally for any costs and claim them back from the insurer upon your return.  A good policy will be available in a choice of single trip or annual policies and should cover you to hire a car worldwide, including your home country.  Please see our Additional Services page for further information on this type of policy. We find annual policies are available for around £50 which will cover multiple trips worldwide, and are much better value than daily rates per holiday.

Do you need it?

The only person who can really decide that, is you, based on your needs for your trip. If you travel regularly to the same place, and your hired car is going to spend most of the time parked in a car park or on the drive of your holiday home, then you may decide that you can live without this, and just take care of any problems as and when they arise.

But, if you are heading off on a lovely road-trip of a few thousand miles into less populated areas of the United States, the last thing you want is to be stranded miles from anywhere, or locked out in a car park because your keys have fallen into the river that you were kayaking.  If you are planning an action packed holiday, then this additional package will ensure that the action doesn’t have to end prematurely.