24-Hour Roadside Assistance for Cars and Trucks

24-Hour Roadside Assistance for Cars and Trucks

Think of 24-hour roadside assistance coverage for your truck or car like having another tool in your emergency kit. Roadside assistance can provide the services you need to get you back behind the wheel ASAP. Services include changing flat tires, fuel delivery, jump-starts, and lockout assistance. The national average cost for roadside assistance when added on to an auto insurance policy is $20/year.

Before you sign up for roadside assistance, it can be useful to know some basics. In this guide, we’ll look at what you can expect when you enroll in a roadside assistance program.

Recommended: Does Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Cover Keys Locked in a Car

What Is 24-Hour Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance plans cover a range of problems that commonly affect motorists. Whether you’re stuck on a busy highway or a lonely roadside, in a mall parking lot or your own driveway, you can ask for help with a dead battery, flat tire, being locked out, and more. These programs not only cover cars and trucks but also motorcycles, RVs, and boat trailers.

Since problems can happen at any time, roadside assistance programs make their services available around the clock. There is no deductible for service calls. Depending on your plan, any costs you incur in an emergency may even be reimbursed.

Recommended: Ways to Save on Car Maintenance

What Are Some Benefits of 24-Hour Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance is designed to cover all drivers, but it can be especially useful for parents of young children, first-time drivers, and people with physical limitations. Probably the top benefit of having 24-hour roadside assistance coverage is that there’s a number to call any time you’re in need. You can keep that number programmed in your phone or put it in your wallet or glove compartment — or your provider may offer an app.

You can call for advice or hands-on assistance, and someone will help you get what you need. Some plans may even post bond if you’re charged with a traffic violation, or reimburse you if you need to stay in a hotel overnight because your car broke down. Some plans include other benefits, such as travel discounts and rewards points.

Recommended: How to Get Car Insurance

What Does 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Cover?

Assistance programs vary significantly depending on the service provider, the coverage level, and what you’re willing to pay. So when you’re comparing roadside assistance for cars and trucks, it’s important to understand the details of what each plan covers. Roadside assistance is not intended for use after an accident. In that case, 911 will arrange for help to arrive.

Most companies that offer roadside assistance programs set limits on what they will and won’t pay for. A provider may offer to deliver fuel to your vehicle for free, for example, but you can expect to be charged for the gas you receive. Similarly, roadside assistance may offer free lockout assistance, but there may be a charge if you need to have a new key made. If your car needs a tow, there may be a limit on how many miles you can go for free. There may also be a limit on how many service calls you can make in a year.

Plans have different rules on whether a particular driver or vehicle qualifies for a service call. With some plans, you must be driving your own car when you call for assistance. Other plans will cover you even if you’re the passenger or driver in someone else’s car.

Programs generally include some type of coverage for:

Vehicle Towing

If your vehicle can’t be safely repaired or restarted onsite, roadside assistance can tow it to a nearby repair shop.

Battery Jump-Start or Replacement

Roadside assistance can give your dead battery a jump and, if that doesn’t work, install a new battery onsite or give you a tow.

Changing a Flat Tire

If you have a usable spare tire, your service provider likely can change a flat or blown-out tire onsite. If not, they can tow you somewhere for help.

Lockout Assistance

If you’ve locked your keys in your car, roadside assistance can get a locksmith to help. Even if you’ve lost your keys, the service may be able to get you back in your vehicle and back on the road.

Winching Service

Stuck in snow, mud, sand, or water? Your service provider may bring in a winch to extricate your car or truck.

Fuel Delivery

If you run out of gas, your provider can deliver fuel to your location. And if the battery in your electric car needs a charge, you can ask for a tow to the nearest charging station.

Quick Fix First-Aid

If you have a minor mechanical problem that can be fixed quickly, it may be possible to do so onsite. If not, the service can tow your car to a nearby repair shop.

Recommended: 10 Tips for the Cheapest Way to Rent a Car

What Are Some Ways Drivers Can Get 24-Hour Roadside Protection?

There are few different ways you can get roadside assistance coverage for yourself and your family members. For individuals who set aside time for personal insurance planning, consider adding roadside assistance to your list.

Auto Club Membership

Probably the best-known way to get 24-hour roadside assistance is through an auto club like AAA (pronounced “triple A”). The company will issue you a membership card with numbers to call for service. You may also be able to download an app or send a text to get service.

Plans range from $50 to $160 per year. Your price will depend on how many family members are covered, your location, and the services you’ve selected.

Credit Card Company Benefits

You may be able to access roadside assistance through one of your credit cards. Again, the cost for your overall coverage or a specific service will vary depending on the plan. For example, one credit card provides the service for free to its members but charges $69.95 for a standard service call, including 5 miles of towing.

Vehicle Manufacturer

Some car and truck manufacturers also offer roadside assistance as a perk for new car buyers. Your vehicle may come with protection that lasts for a few years or the length of your limited warranty, or it may be available for only a few months as a free trial for a service you can later purchase. Your sales agreement should provide the details on what your plan covers, or you can ask the dealership.

Car Insurance Company

Many car insurance companies make some type of roadside assistance coverage available to their customers. Some plans provide only the basics, while others may offer two or three different levels of coverage. Costs range from $2 to $5 a month, or $15 to $60 a year.

When you’re considering cost, keep in mind that you may be able to lower your car insurance cost by bundling it with other types of insurance coverage.

Recommended: How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Which Insurance Companies Offer 24-Hour Roadside Assistance?

Insurance companies that provide 24-hour roadside assistance typically offer the service as an add-on to an auto policy. However, in some instances you may be able to access a roadside protection membership without being a policyholder.

If you aren’t sure if you already have roadside protection, contact your agent or log in to your account on your insurer’s website to get information about your coverage. You may also view benefits via online insurance comparison sites. The information also may appear on your insurance card.

Here are a few companies that offer roadside assistance:

Allstate

Allstate offers its 24-hour roadside assistance programs to both policyholders and non-policyholders. Costs and limitations will vary based on the plan you choose.

Geico

Geico’s roadside assistance program is available to policyholders as an add-on, and it covers most of the basics other plans offer. The cost is determined by the number of vehicles you want to cover.

Liberty Mutual

To access Liberty Mutual’s 24-hour assistance program, which offers basic roadside services, you must purchase optional towing and labor coverage as an add-on to your policy.

Nationwide

Nationwide offers roadside assistance as an optional add-on for policyholders. The plan covers the same basic services offered by other insurers, but optional features and program details vary by state.

Progressive

Emergency roadside assistance is available as an optional add-on for Progressive auto insurance policyholders. Progressive’s program covers service basics such as towing, jump-starts, lockout assistance, etc.

State Farm

State Farm’s roadside assistance program is an add-on for policyholders. If you have this coverage and need assistance, State Farm will be billed directly for any basic services you receive, so you won’t have to worry about waiting to be reimbursed.

(The above coverages are accurate as of the writing of this article but may differ in the future.)

What Is the Average Cost of 24-Hour Roadside Assistance for Cars?

When added to your car insurance policy, roadside assistance coverage costs an average of $20 per year. The price of a roadside assistance plan can vary based on how many vehicles you want to cover, where you live, whether your coverage is through your auto insurance or some other source, and the level of coverage you choose.

Some plans charge less for coverage and more for services, and vice-versa. It’s a good idea to compare several different plans and choose the one that works best for your individual needs and budget.

Recommended: How to Lower Car Insurance

What Is the Average Cost of 24-Hour Roadside Assistance for Trucks?

The cost of roadside assistance for a pickup truck is similar to the cost for a car. If you have an RV or another large vehicle, however, you’ll need to check out a plan tailored for the problems you might encounter.

How Much Does 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Cost Without Insurance?

The national average cost of a tow without roadside assistance coverage is $109, or between $2.50 and $7 per mile.

What Makes 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Different from Other Coverage?

Standard car insurance is designed to protect car owners against financial losses when they’re in an accident, or if their car is damaged, stolen, or vandalized. But a standard auto policy doesn’t typically include roadside assistance for something like a flat tire or running out of gas. That’s a different kind of coverage, and it usually costs extra to add it to a car insurance policy.

Another difference: In most states, you are required to carry minimum required car insurance. You aren’t required to carry roadside assistance coverage. It’s your choice.

How Do You Choose a 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Program?

There are a few points you should consider when you’re shopping for a roadside assistance program:

Do You Already Have Protection?

If you aren’t sure, check your car warranty, credit cards, and your car insurance policy. Even if you are covered, it can be a good idea to compare your coverage to what’s available to make sure you have everything you need.

What Are the Coverage Limits?

Read the fine print for details and coverage limits before you sign up for a plan. Be sure you’re getting the services you expect and want most.

What Will It Cost?

Plans are generally low-cost, ranging from $20 to $150 per year. Compare the costs of different plans and determine which works best with your budget.

Does the Provider Get Good Reviews?

Don’t forget to check the provider’s reputation. Reliability is important when you’re stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow or jump-start. An important part of researching different plans includes reading customer reviews.

The Takeaway

A 24-hour roadside assistance plan provides drivers with whatever help they need to get back on the road as soon as possible. Drivers typically get roadside assistance through their auto insurance, but you can also find it via credit card benefits, car manufacturers, and auto clubs like AAA. Prices vary from $20/year as an auto insurance add-on, to $50-$150/year through an auto club. Considering that the cost of a single tow without coverage can be over $100, many people say the cost of roadside assistance is well worth it.

If you’d like to check out roadside assistance options, you can start by going online to compare your current auto insurance plan and benefits with other major companies. SoFi makes comparing auto insurance policies and rates quick and convenient, so you can get the coverage you need at a price that feels right.

Wondering if you have the car insurance coverage you need? Get started with SoFi Protect today.

FAQ

Does using roadside assistance increase your premium?

If you make only one or two claims a year, utilizing roadside assistance is unlikely to affect your insurance premium. But if you make more than 4-5 roadside assistance claims in a year, your insurance company may want an explanation.

What does roadside assistance cover?

Every plan is different, but most include basic coverage for lockout assistance, changing a flat tire, jump-starting a battery, fuel delivery, using a winch to extract a stuck vehicle, minor engine fixes, and towing.


Photo credit: iStock/nopponpat

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Most Affordable Renters Insurance for Apartments

Most Affordable Renters Insurance for Apartments

Renters insurance can cover your personal belongings against things like fire damage or theft when renting a home. In exchange for that protection, you pay a premium to the insurance company.

Finding affordable renters insurance might be a priority if you’re living on a tight budget. Numerous companies offer affordable renters insurance for apartments that can provide you with the coverage you need for less money.

What Is Renters Insurance and How Does It Work?

What is renters insurance? Simply put, renters insurance is a type of coverage that’s designed for people who rent, rather than own, their homes. If you live in an apartment, the rental property owner may have separate insurance for the structure itself. Renters insurance, meanwhile, offers protection to you as a tenant.

This type of insurance is also referred to as tenant insurance. You’re typically not obligated to purchase a renters policy unless your landlord requires renters insurance as part of your lease agreement. If you live with roommates, each of you can individually decide if you want to have this coverage.

Personal insurance planning is important for protecting yourself financially. Having renters insurance is a good idea if you’re concerned about your personal possessions being damaged or stolen, or about other situations that could result in financial losses.

Recommended: What Does Renters Insurance Cover

What’s Included in Renters Insurance Coverage?

If you’re paying for renters insurance, it’s important to know what’s covered and what’s not. What renters insurance covers varies depending on the insurer and your level of coverage. Generally, renters insurance is designed to offer three layers of protection:

•   Personal property

•   Liability

•   Additional expenses

The personal property coverage in a renters insurance policy is designed to protect your belongings against certain dangers. That can include things like wind damage, smoke or fire damage, vandalism, theft, explosions, and water damage relating to septic backups. You may need to purchase separate coverage for flood and earthquake damage.

Personal liability coverage protects you against lawsuits related to any injuries sustained on your property. So if you host a party at your apartment, for example, and someone trips and injures their ankle, your liability protection could pay for their medical bills.

Additional living expenses coverage can pay your costs if your apartment is damaged and becomes unlivable. Your policy can reimburse you for hotel expenses, meals, or temporary rentals until you can move back in.

Renters insurance can cover you at home and away. If you take personal belongings on a trip, for example, and they’re damaged by a covered danger, you can get reimbursed for them through your policy.

Recommended: What is Renters Insurance

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

If you’re searching for affordable renters insurance for apartments, it’s important to understand the costs involved. But just how much is renters insurance?

There are two costs to consider: premiums and deductibles. Your renters insurance premium is the amount you pay to the insurance company, typically monthly, just for having coverage. Your premiums are based on the amount of coverage you have.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average renter pays $174 per year for renters insurance premiums. That works out to $14.50 per month. Costs can vary widely by state, with renters paying the most for coverage in Mississippi, averaging $252 per year, and the least in North Dakota, where premiums average $115 annually.

If you need to file a claim for damages, you’ll also pay a renters insurance deductible. That’s the amount you pay before the insurance company will pay anything toward your covered damages. In that sense, renters insurance is no different from auto insurance, health insurance, or homeowners insurance. There are different types of deductibles, in terms of how much they cost. Opting for a higher deductible typically results in a lower monthly premium.

For example, you might find a renters insurance policy that charges a $500 deductible while another has a $1,000 deductible. The deductible you choose should be easily affordable on your budget if you need to file a claim.

Recommended: Why Do Landlords Require Renters Insurance

Most Affordable Renters Insurance Policies

Some renters insurance policies are more budget-friendly than others. When evaluating affordability, it’s important to consider the premiums and deductibles, as well as the coverage you’re getting in return.

To help you in your search, we requested quotes from eight major insurers to find the most affordable renters policy. Companies were selected based on brand reputation, policy options, and ease of application.

Quotes are based on a single-family home located in central Virginia with fire alarms, no pets or children, and no bicycles or valuable jewelry. All quotes assume a $500 deductible and the minimum coverage amounts recommended by the insurer. Quotes are accurate as of August 24, 2022.

Monthly Premium

Coverage Details

Allstate $12 $15,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$1,000 in medical payments coverage
Assurant $21.92 $20,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$1,000 in medical payments coverage
Geico $15.84 $15,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$3,000 for loss of use and medical payments to others
Lemonade $11.17 $40,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$13,000 for loss of use and medical payments to others
Nationwide $15.44 $15,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$1,000 in medical payments coverage
Progressive $27.40 upfront,
then 10 payments
of $15.70
$20,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$1,000 in medical payments coverage
Travelers $10.42 $30,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$10,000 in loss of use and medical payments coverage
State Farm $8.33 $20,000 in personal property coverage;
$100,000 in personal liability coverage;
$1,000 in medical payments coverage

As you can see, none of these policies cost more than $30 per month. There is some variation in the coverage amounts for personal property, medical payments, and loss of use, but $100,000 is usually the baseline for personal liability coverage.

Remember that these are baseline quotes generated using a hypothetical scenario. Your actual quotes will depend on where you live, who lives with you, if you have pets, the type of home you live in, and the individual coverage amounts you choose. Your insurance company may also consider your credit score when calculating your premiums. Adding optional coverage can raise your premium costs.

How Do You Find Affordable Renters Insurance?

Finding affordable renters insurance for apartments means doing some comparison shopping. You generally have two options for purchasing renters insurance: traditional insurers and online insurance companies.

Purchasing renters insurance through a traditional insurance company can work in your favor if you’re able to bundle it with other insurance. For example, you might be able to bundle it with your auto insurance policy in order to get a discount. If you’re insured through a company locally, you might appreciate being able to stop by their office with questions or to make a policy change.

Getting renters insurance coverage through an online insurance company can also yield some benefits. It may be easier to apply for renters insurance and purchase a policy online. And the amount you pay for coverage might be less than with a traditional insurer.

When comparing your options for affordable renters insurance, ask yourself these questions:

•   How much coverage do I need?

•   What kind of premiums and deductibles will fit my budget?

•   How easy would it be to file a claim if necessary?

•   What kind of customer support is available?

•   Are there any discounts or other incentives that could save me money?

•   What is the insurer’s overall reputation?

Reading online reviews of renters insurance companies can give you a better idea of what people do and don’t like about them. You can also get free quotes online to estimate your total costs before purchasing a policy.

The Takeaway

If you’re renting an apartment and something unexpected happens, having the right renters insurance coverage in place can give you peace of mind. Policies typically have three parts: property coverage in case of damage or theft, liability coverage in case someone is injured on your property, and loss of use in case you need to find housing elsewhere while repairs are made to your rental. The national average premium for renters insurance is $174 annually.

If you’re ready to purchase renters insurance, SoFi can help. We’re collaborating with Gabi to offer renters insurance policies with competitively low premiums, making it easy to get covered even if you’re on the tightest of budgets. It takes just minutes to sign up for renters insurance online and protect your most important belongings.

Get your free renters insurance quote with SoFi.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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5 Ways to Get Affordable Life Insurance for Families

5 Ways to Get Affordable Life Insurance for Families

Life insurance can provide families peace of mind and financial support in the event that the policy holder dies. If you’re the primary breadwinner for your household, then a life insurance policy can help pay funeral expenses, survivors’ day-to-day living costs, and children’s college costs.

Finding affordable life insurance starts with understanding your needs and budget. There are plenty of options you can choose from when shopping for coverage.

Why Should Families Have Life Insurance?

Life insurance is designed to pay out a death benefit to beneficiaries after the insured person dies. Life insurance can provide reassurance that should something happen to you, your dependents will be taken care of.

A life insurance policy can be a key part of personal insurance planning, which also encompasses homeowners or renters, auto, health, and disability insurance. If you have a family, life insurance can help your loved ones meet the following needs:

•   Replace lost income. If the sole or main income-earner dies, life insurance can help to replace their lost income and cover day-to-day expenses.

•   Pay final expenses. Funeral and burial costs can be expensive, and cremation is not necessarily any cheaper. Proceeds from life insurance can pay all of the associated costs, relieving financial stress during an already trying time.

•   Clear outstanding debts. If you leave behind a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or other debts, a life insurance policy can be used to pay them off so your loved ones aren’t stuck with overwhelming debt.

•   Pay college expenses. If you have children, your life insurance policy can help pay for their higher education costs or secondary education expenses if they attend private school.

•   Cover basic living expenses. Even if you leave no major debts behind, your loved ones may need money to pay for utilities, groceries, and other everyday bills.

•   Fund retirement for a surviving spouse. Life insurance can help to fill a retirement planning gap for couples when a surviving spouse is not left with a nest egg.

In short, life insurance can help with a variety of expenses. Having a death benefit can help your loved ones avoid having to tap into other financial resources, or it can create a cushion if they lack other resources.

Recommended: How to Buy Life Insurance

How Much Life Insurance Do Families Need?

How much life insurance you need usually depends on your income. A general rule of thumb is to purchase a policy that’s equivalent to seven to 10 times your annual income. So if you make $100,000 a year, you’d need a policy with a death benefit of $700,000 to $1 million.

Even if one person brings in most of the income, both partners can benefit from having life insurance, especially if you have kids. If one person is the primary caregiver and they pass away, that can create new costs for the one who’s left behind.

For example, if you worked while your partner stayed home, you might need to spend money on daycare or in-home care, cleaning services, lawn care services, and other expenses to cover household tasks that they might have handled so that you can continue to work. Or if you choose to take an extended bereavement leave to care for your children, then life insurance can ensure that you’re able to meet your expenses during that time.

Recommended: How Much is Life Insurance

Types of Life Insurance for Families

There are two main types of life insurance: Term life and permanent coverage. Term life insurance is designed to cover you for a set term. For example, you might purchase a 20-year term policy. If you pass away within that term, the policy can pay out a death benefit to your family. Otherwise, the policy expires at the end of the term.

Permanent life insurance covers you for life, as long as the premiums are paid. One of the most common options for permanent life insurance is whole life. With whole life insurance, part of each premium payment is deposited into a cash value account. The account earns interest, and you can withdraw the cash you accumulate or borrow against it. When you die, the policy pays a death benefit to your loved ones, less any amounts you’ve withdrawn or borrowed against.

So which is better for families, term life vs. whole life insurance? The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking specifically for affordable life insurance for families, then term life is likely the better option. You don’t get lifetime protection or cash value accumulation, but generally, premiums for term life coverage tend to be lower than whole life.

By the way, you can typically convert term insurance to permanent insurance (such as whole life) at a higher premium if you want to keep your insurance longer than the term.

Making whole life insurance affordable is more challenging, as lifetime coverage means that your insurers are virtually guaranteed to have to pay out a claim. As such, they can charge higher premiums for the same death benefit. Age and health can also play a part in determining term life or whole insurance costs. Coverage is usually cheaper when you’re younger and healthier, so waiting to buy insurance could prove more expensive.

Recommended: What is Life Insurance

How to Get Affordable Life Insurance for Families

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable life insurance policy, it’s important to do your research to know what options are available. You may have access to life insurance already without realizing it. It’s also good to consider exactly what you need a life insurance policy to do for you and whether it makes sense to purchase coverage for children or grandparents as well.

1. Review Your Workplace Insurance Benefits

It’s possible that you may already have some life insurance in place to protect your family if your employer offers group coverage as an employee benefit. That type of life insurance covers a group of employees up to a certain benefit amount. For example, you might have $50,000 in group life insurance that your employer pays for. You may have the option to purchase additional coverage and increase the death benefit, with premiums deducted from your paychecks.

Group life insurance may not provide the full amount of coverage you need. But it can be a good starting point for getting an affordable life insurance policy if your employer is picking up the tab for the premiums. Check with your HR department or benefits coordinator to see if group life is offered at your job and how to enroll in coverage.

2. Opt for Term Life, If Possible

As mentioned, term life insurance can be a cheaper option than whole life insurance. If you’re not interested in building cash value and you don’t necessarily need lifetime coverage, term life may be preferable to whole life.

When purchasing term life insurance, think carefully about how long you’d like to keep the coverage in place. If you’re 30 years old and have two kids, for example, you might want a 20-year term policy, which could help pay for their college costs if something were to happen to you before they reach adulthood.

On the other hand, if you’re in your 40s and don’t think you’ll need coverage that long, you might choose a 10-year term policy instead. The longer the term and the larger the death benefit, the more life insurance will cost you in premiums.

Recommended: Why Life Insurance is Important

3. Weigh the Benefits of Life Insurance for Children or Grandparents

Life insurance policies for children are typically permanent life policies. You pay in premiums and part of that money builds cash value. When your child reaches adulthood, they can take over the policy or withdraw the cash value and use the money to pay for college, buy a car, or fund other financial goals. (If their health has changed this could also be the only insurance they are able to get.)

Should you buy life insurance for children? It’s an important question to ask if you’re looking for life insurance for the entire family. You can purchase life insurance for kids at fairly low premiums, and your child can decide later if they’d like to keep the policy or cash it in. Another alternative: You might be able to grow that money by investing the premiums you would have paid to life insurance into a 529 college savings account or investment account for your kids instead.

Purchasing a burial insurance policy for your aging parents can make sense if you don’t want to be facing a large bill from the funeral home while you’re grieving. Burial coverage is generally the most affordable life insurance for seniors, since it has a low death benefit. You may be able to get coverage for as little as $50 a month.

4. Choose Guaranteed Renewal

If you’re purchasing term life and you think there’s a chance that you might need coverage for longer than the initial term, consider getting a policy with guaranteed automatic renewal. Having that benefit built in means that you can renew your policy once the initial term expires, without being subjected to an increase in premiums due to age or health. Just be aware that your new premiums will likely be much, much higher.

5. Be Selective About Riders

Life insurance riders can enhance your coverage. While some may be included at no charge, others can increase your premiums by a few dollars each. Some of the most commonly added riders include:

•   Accelerated death benefit

•   Accidental death

•   Guaranteed insurability

•   Waiver of premium

•   Child rider

•   Critical illness coverage

•   Disability coverage

Any of these riders can make your policy more comprehensive. But if affordable life insurance is the goal, then it’s important to consider whether they’re worth the added cost. Accelerated death benefit riders, for instance, pay out benefits while you’re still living to help with end of life care. That could be worth paying for if you’re concerned about developing a terminal illness. However, you won’t use that benefit if you die in an accident or from old age.

Recommended: How Long Do You Have to Have Life Insurance Before You Die

Tips for Saving Money on Life Insurance

Finding affordable life insurance can be a challenge, but it helps to have a strategy. Do your homework so you’re not buying more coverage than you need or choosing the wrong kind of policy. Here are a few more tips for saving money on life insurance as a family:

•   Consider an online insurance company, which may charge lower premiums than a traditional insurer.

•   Buy sooner rather than later to get the best rates available for your age and health.

•   Ask your insurance company about any discounts you may qualify for.

•   Get multiple life insurance quotes to compare rates across companies.

•   Take care of yourself as much as possible, since staying healthy can influence your insurance rates.

With most life insurance policies, you may be asked to complete a medical exam. This exam is used to determine your health status and how much you’ll pay for premiums. You can, however, opt for a no exam policy if you’d like to get covered online without having to see a doctor.

The Takeaway

Finding affordable life insurance may seem a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by reviewing your workplace benefits for group coverage that might be subsidized by your employer. Then, given a choice between term life and whole life insurance, term life is the more affordable option. Also, the sooner you purchase a policy the better, since premiums are tied to your age and health. Last, shop around for the best deal, and ask if you qualify for discounts.

You can start your search for life insurance online with SoFi. We’ve partnered with Ladder to make it easy to find affordable life insurance plans with coverage ranging from $100,000 to $8 million. You can get a quote and apply online in minutes.

Get a free life insurance quote with SoFi.


Photo credit: iStock/gradyreese

Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria.
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers- for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products.
Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other, Social Finance, LLC (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under Ladder Life™ policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How To Find Affordable Car Insurance for College Students

How To Find Affordable Car Insurance for College Students

If you’re the parent of a student driver, finding affordable car insurance is likely a top priority. Adding a college student to your insurance policy can drive up the cost of premiums, since they’re generally considered high-risk drivers. And students who purchase their own policies usually pay much more to get covered than when they’re added to a family policy. But there are ways to lower car insurance costs, from choosing a higher deductible to insuring your student based on mileage.

As you shop around, it’s important not to focus only on premiums. In case of an accident, coverage levels and deductibles can make an “affordable” policy suddenly seem quite pricey. We’ll walk you through the process so you can get the most for your money.

Recommended: How to Lower Car Insurance

What Is the Most Affordable Car Insurance?

There’s no one answer that applies to all drivers in all states, because insurers set different prices based on proprietary risk profiles and algorithms. But generally speaking, the cheapest affordable car insurance will be a policy with minimal coverage.

Finding affordable car insurance for college students can be especially challenging, since insurers tend to view them as being higher risk. A student doesn’t need to have accidents or tickets on their driving record to land in the high-risk category. They simply have a short driving history, which works against them.

A comprehensive policy will be more expensive than one that carries the minimum coverage required by the state. Although it can be cheaper to skip full coverage for a college student, keep in mind that they might incur higher out-of-pocket costs for repairs if they’re involved in an accident.

Recommended: How to Get Car Insurance

Does a College Student Need Their Own Car Insurance Policy?

One of the most important questions to ask for personal insurance planning with kids is whether your student will stay on your policy or get their own. The answer depends on their living arrangements while they’re in school. If you have a student listed on your policy and your home is their permanent residence, they should be able to remain on your policy — even if they’re temporarily living in a dorm or off-campus apartment.

Parents’ coverage can still apply to a student’s vehicle if they’re taking it with them to school, even in another state. The insurance company may, however, adjust the premiums for the vehicle based on where it’s located and being used, not where it’s registered.

If a student moves out of their parents’ home and sets up their own permanent residence somewhere else, then they need to purchase their own car insurance policy. Car insurance is typically priced based on the vehicle the student drives, so if they have an older car they may still be able to find affordable car insurance on their own.

Recommended: 10 Tips for the Cheapest Way to Rent a Car

How To Find Affordable Car Insurance for College Students

The best place to start is often with your current car insurance company. Your insurer can walk you through how much it might cost to keep your student on your policy versus having them purchase their own policy. They can also advise you on how much coverage is appropriate to have, based on your student’s driving history and habits, and the condition of their vehicle.

Next, you can shop online to compare car insurance options for students. Getting quotes from multiple insurers is helpful, since you can compare that to what you’re paying currently to see whether any cheaper options exist. You may find that it’s more cost-efficient to move your policy elsewhere so that your child can benefit from cheaper rates.

When weighing insurance carriers, don’t focus solely on the premiums. While that number is important, since it determines what you’ll pay monthly or annually for insurance, it’s not the only cost to consider. You’ll also need to weigh the deductible, which is an amount you or your student must pay before your coverage kicks in.

There are two basic types of deductibles: high or low. Choosing a higher deductible can reduce premiums but means you’ll pay more out-of-pocket if you need to file a claim. A lower deductible can be more manageable for a college student who doesn’t have much savings, but the trade-off is a higher monthly premium.

Even if you’re adding your student to an existing family policy, review the policy and costs with them in some detail. It’s a good opportunity for students to learn about car insurance terms, financial decision-making, and the price of living independently.

Recommended: Does Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Cover Keys Locked in a Car

Ways To Save Money on Car Insurance

Car insurance costs aren’t necessarily set in stone. There are several ways parents and students can make it more affordable. Here are some practical tips on how to lower car insurance:

•   Ask about discounts. Many car insurance companies offer discounts for students who earn good grades or complete driver education training. Safe driving discounts may also be an option for students with a good driving record.

•   Keep up with maintenance. Keeping your student’s car in good shape can help reduce the risk of an accident caused by a malfunction. You can try saving on car maintenance costs by doing basic things like oil changes or fluid top-ups yourself.

•   Get insured by mileage. Some car insurance companies base their policies on how many miles you drive. If your student is staying close to home and has a fairly short commute to school and work, then you can potentially find affordable car insurance that prices policies based on mileage.

•   Look for group discounts. If you belong to a professional or business association, or an alumni group, for example, you may be able to get a discount on insurance just for being a member. Warehouse clubs can also offer car insurance discounts to members as well.

•   Encourage safe driving. Accidents can make your premiums skyrocket, so it’s a good idea to go over the basics of safe driving with your student. You may also want to enroll them in a defensive driving class to help them feel more comfortable on the road.

•   Look online. You might start your search for good affordable car insurance with your brick-and-mortar insurer, but it’s also helpful to consider what online insurance companies have to offer. You may be able to find cheaper rates on car insurance for students online versus traditional insurance companies.

Recommended: How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Consider Bundling Insurance for College Students

Here’s one more thing to add to your list of insurance tips for first-time drivers: Try bundling. Bundling car insurance with other types of insurance is another opportunity for college students to save money. If your student is getting their own car insurance, they can help keep costs down by bundling it with renters insurance or life insurance.

Renters insurance covers personal belongings when you live in rental housing. It can also provide personal liability protection and pay your day-to-day living expenses if you have to seek temporary housing because your rental unit is damaged.

Life insurance can pay out a death benefit to beneficiaries after the insured dies. A young, healthy college student may not see an immediate need for life insurance, but it can come in handy if they’ve taken out student loans. Students who cosigned loans with a parent, for example, can take out a policy and name their cosigner as beneficiary. That way, parents aren’t left having to pay back the loans themselves.

Recommended: How Long Do You Have to Have Life Insurance Before You Die

The Takeaway

Students who purchase their own policy usually pay much more than when they’re added to a family policy. Either way, you can offset higher premiums by considering less liability coverage, a higher deductible, or a policy based on your student’s mileage. And make sure to ask your insurer about discounts for good grades, defensive driving classes, and company affiliations.

You can simplify your search by getting a quote for auto insurance online with SoFi. We’ve teamed up with Experian to provide free car insurance quotes online so you can find a great deal. You can match up your current coverage to compare rates, pick the option that looks right, and buy coverage all in one sitting.

Get an auto insurance quote with SoFi in minutes!


Photo credit: iStock/pepifoto

Insurance not available in all states.
Experian is a registered service mark of Experian Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
Social Finance, LLC ("SoFi") is compensated by Experian for each customer who purchases a policy through Experian from the site.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Should You Call Roadside Assistance for a Flat Tire?

Should You Call Roadside Assistance for a Flat Tire?

Flat tires are one of the top reasons motorists call roadside assistance. Even when you know how to change a tire yourself, calling roadside assistance can be a good move: If you’re stuck on a dark or busy road or you have kids in the car, roadside assistance is safe and fast.

Roadside assistance plans are available from your car insurance provider, car rental companies, and other sources. We’ll explain how roadside assistance works, how much it costs for them to change a tire, and what else the service covers.

What Is Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance coverage is designed to help motorists experiencing a range of problems — from a dead battery to an overheated engine. You can call a toll-free number or use an app to contact your provider, and a dispatcher will send a qualified technician to your location. Depending on what services you require, your plan may pay all or some of the costs involved in getting your car back on the road.

You may be able to get roadside assistance coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. There also are auto clubs that sell subscription plans, or you may have a plan through your car’s warranty, credit card, car rental company, or another source. If you’re one of many people who sit down annually for a personal insurance planning session, discuss this option with your insurer.

Recommended: Car Insurance Terms Explained

What Are the Benefits of Roadside Assistance?

Having a specific point of contact anytime you’re in need is arguably the top benefit of having roadside assistance coverage. This is especially important for first-time drivers. Instead of making multiple calls to find help from a nearby mechanic or garage, you can program your provider’s number into your phone or store it in your glove compartment with other relevant papers. If your provider offers an app, you can take advantage of that convenience.

With one call, you can get useful advice on what to do next. After assessing your situation, the dispatcher will get the appropriate service person out to help you. If your car can’t be fixed onsite, you can get a tow to a repair shop — and that cost may be covered, as well.

Some plans offer benefits such as posting bond if you’re charged with a traffic violation, or reimbursing you if you’re away from home and have to stay in a hotel overnight. Plans also may provide discounts on car maintenance, car rentals, hotels, and other perks. However, extra benefits may come at an extra cost.

Recommended: How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

What Does 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Cover?

All roadside assistance programs are not the same, so it’s important to understand the coverage details and limitations of each plan you may be considering.

A plan may offer free fuel delivery, for example, for drivers who run out of gas — but typically there will be a charge for the gasoline received. Similarly, a plan may offer free lockout assistance, but a driver can expect to be charged if the locksmith has to make a new key. And there is usually a limit on how many miles a car can be towed for free.

Some plans limit the number of service calls you can make in a year. And plans also can have different rules regarding when a driver is or isn’t covered. With some plans, for example, you must be driving your own car when you call for assistance. But some plans will cover you even if you’re the passenger or driver in someone else’s car.

Programs generally include some type of coverage for:

1. Changing a Flat Tire

If you have a usable spare tire, your service provider likely can change a flat or blown tire onsite. If not, they can tow you to someone who can help.

2. Vehicle Towing

If your vehicle can’t be safely repaired or restarted onsite, roadside assistance can tow it to a nearby repair shop.

3. Battery Jump-Start or Replacement

Roadside assistance can give your dead battery a jump-start and, if that doesn’t work, tow you to a repair shop to get a new battery installed.

4. Lockout Assistance

If you’ve locked your keys in your car, roadside assistance can get a locksmith to help. Even if you’ve lost your keys, the service may be able to get you back in your vehicle and back on the road.

5. Winching Service

Your service provider may bring in a winch to extricate your car if it’s stuck in mud, ice, or a ditch.

6. Fuel Delivery

If you run out of gas, your provider can deliver fuel to your location. And if the battery in your electric car needs a charge, you can ask for a tow to the nearest charging station.

7. Quick Fix First-Aid

If you have a minor mechanical problem that can be fixed quickly, it may be possible to do so onsite. If not, the service can tow your car to a nearby repair shop.

Recommended: How to Lower Your Car Insurance

Auto Insurance Companies That Offer Roadside Assistance

Insurance companies that provide roadside assistance typically offer these services as an add-on to an auto policy. If you aren’t sure if you already have roadside protection, contact your agent or log in to your account on your insurer’s website to get information about your coverage. The information may also appear on your insurance card.

If your car is damaged after an accident or in a flood or fire, your auto policy’s collision or comprehensive coverage may apply to your towing costs. But this is not the same as having roadside assistance or “towing and labor” coverage.

Here are a few insurance companies that offer roadside assistance:

Recommended: Does Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Cover Keys Locked in a Car

Allstate

Allstate offers its 24-hour roadside assistance programs to both policyholders and non-policyholders. Costs and coverage vary based on the plan you choose.

Geico

Geico’s roadside assistance program is available to policyholders as an add-on, and it covers most of the basics other plans offer. The cost is determined by the number of vehicles you want to cover.

Liberty Mutual

To access Liberty Mutual’s 24-hour assistance program, which offers basic roadside services, you must purchase optional towing and labor coverage as an add-on to your policy.

Nationwide

Nationwide offers roadside assistance as an optional add-on for policyholders. The plan covers the same basic services offered by other insurers, but optional features and other program details may vary by state.

Progressive

Emergency roadside assistance for flat tires is available as an optional add-on for Progressive auto insurance policyholders. Progressive’s program covers service basics such as towing, jump-starts, and lockout assistance.

State Farm

State Farm’s roadside assistance program is an add-on for policyholders. If you have this coverage and need assistance, State Farm will be billed directly for any basic services you receive, so you may not have to worry about turning in your receipts and waiting to be reimbursed.

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost for a Flat Tire?

The cost to get your flat tire fixed may depend on if you have a usable spare tire and other factors. If you have a good spare tire available, the roadside assistance technician may be able to change your tire onsite and get you right back on the road at no charge.

If, for some reason, the tire can’t be changed onsite and your vehicle must be towed to a repair shop, the tow charge will be based on mileage. Many roadside assistance plans will go 15 miles or to the nearest qualified repair shop for free. But if you ask to be towed to a shop that’s farther away, you may have to pay for any extra mileage.

When your car arrives at the repair shop, you can expect to be charged if you need any parts or repairs, or a new tire.

Recommended: How to Get Car Insurance

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost Without Insurance

The most inexpensive way to get roadside assistance coverage is usually to have it included as an add-on through your auto insurance policy. Allstate, for example, offers a roadside assistance insurance policy add-on for as little as $25 per year for one vehicle, while an Allstate roadside assistance plan membership without an Allstate auto policy starts at $79 for the first year.

If your insurer doesn’t have 24-hour roadside assistance, or if you don’t like the plan your insurer is offering, you may want to check out online insurance companies to see what’s available based on your budget and needs.

How to Change a Flat Tire Yourself

Even if you have roadside assistance coverage, it can be a good idea to know how to fix a flat tire — just in case you forget your phone or can’t get cell service when you run into trouble.

If no one ever taught you how to change a tire, you might want to practice sometime when you’re in a safe place and you’re not in a hurry or wearing nice clothes. There are plenty of YouTube videos on the topic — or you can ask someone who knows their way around a car for a demonstration.

Here are a few tire-changing basics:

1. Drive Prepared

Make sure your spare is in good shape and your jack, lug wrench, and owner’s manual are always in your car. You might want to keep rain gear, work gloves, a flashlight, and wheel wedges in your trunk, as well.

2. Safety First

If you suspect your tire is flat, turn on your hazard lights and pull off to the side of the road — as far as you can. Once you’ve stopped, you can put on your parking brake and get out to inspect your car. If you do indeed have a flat, secure your tires with wheel wedges or a couple of large stones.

To change a rear tire, place the wedges behind the front tires. To change a front tire, place the wedges behind the rear tires.

3. Remove the Hubcap/Wheel Cover

Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on removing the hubcap or wheel cover.

4. Loosen the Lug Nuts

Turn the lug nuts counterclockwise with your lug wrench. (Getting them started may require some effort!) Loosen the lug nuts about a quarter- to half-turn, but don’t take them off completely.

5. Put the Jack in Place

Check your owner’s manual for specific placement instructions.

6. Use the Jack To Raise the Vehicle

Carefully raise your car until the flat tire is about 6 inches above the ground.

7. Unscrew the Lug Nuts and Take off the Tire

Remove the lug nuts completely and put them in a safe place (a cup, envelope, hat, purse, etc.). Pull the flat tire toward you until it comes free and place it on the ground on its side.

8. Put on the Spare

Grab the spare tire and place it on the hub by lining up the rim with the lug bolts. Push gently until you can see the lug bolts through the rim.

9. Put the Lug Nuts Back in Place

Put the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them by hand.

10. Lower the Car and Tighten the Lug Nuts Again … and Again

Lower the vehicle until the tire is touching the ground, but don’t let it down all the way yet. Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench, as tight as you possibly can, then lower the car all the way to the ground and remove the jack. Tighten each lug nut again, with the wrench, to be sure they’re all as secure as possible. Replace the hubcap (only if you can and want to), or put it in the trunk with the flat tire.

11. Stow Your Stuff

Congratulate yourself for being prepared, and be sure you put everything back in the trunk before you pull away. If you have a tire gauge, check to see if the spare has plenty of air (temporary spares typically require 60 psi). If the pressure is low, drive with caution to the nearest repair shop.

12. Get Your Damaged Tire Repaired

Spare tires aren’t meant to be driven on for long. Get your car to a tire shop or garage as quickly as possible to buy new tires or get your old tire patched.

Should You File an Insurance Claim?

It can be convenient and less expensive to purchase roadside assistance coverage as an add-on to your car insurance policy. But keep in mind that when you use your insurer’s plan — even for a flat tire — it can count as an insurance claim.

Though occasional use likely won’t cause your insurer to drop you or raise your auto insurance rates, if you make several roadside assistance claims over a short period, it might affect your overall policy. You might want to ask your insurance agent if multiple roadside assistance claims could be a problem. (And get it in writing if the answer is no.)

Do Insurance Policy Deductibles Apply to Roadside Assistance Claims?

Even with roadside assistance coverage, you could end up having to pay some out-of-pocket costs. And if your auto insurance policy has a deductible that applies to roadside assistance claims, you might have to pay that amount, as well. This could be another topic to cover with your insurance agent. (Read more about the different types of deductibles.)

Recommended: How to Lower Car Insurance

The Takeaway

Roadside assistance insurance can cover a range of problems you might have on the road — from fixing a flat tire to unlocking the car to jump-starting the battery.

Insurance companies typically offer roadside assistance as an add-on to an auto policy. Plans may look pretty much the same from one company to the next, but it can be a good idea to look beyond the basics to find the level of coverage and other benefits that are a good fit for your needs and budget.

SoFi can help you compare auto insurance companies. If you find a quote you like, you can sign up and drive away happy. Real rates, with no bait and switch.

Get started with SoFi Protect today.

FAQ

What should I do if my tire is flat?

If you know how to change a tire and you can pull off the road to a safe place, you might want to tackle the job yourself. But if you aren’t prepared to DIY, you can call roadside assistance instead. A technician may be able to change your tire onsite and get you back on the road for free.

Will 911 help with a flat tire?

If your tire is flat and you’re in potential danger or blocking traffic, the safest move is to turn on your flashers and call 911 for assistance. The 911 dispatcher will then assess your situation and determine whether to send help. If you don’t feel you’re in danger or that your car has become a hazard to others, you can call your roadside assistance company’s toll-free number for help.

Can you drive a couple of miles on a flat tire?

Driving on a flat tire, even for a short distance, can further damage the tire and possibly the rim. If you can turn on your hazard lights and drive slowly to a safer location, that may be your best option, but you should try to limit the distance you travel.

How much does it cost to put on a spare tire?

If you have roadside assistance coverage, it may not cost you anything to have your flat tire replaced onsite with your spare.

Should you tip roadside assistance for a flat tire?

There’s no obligation to tip any service provider your roadside assistance plan sends to help you. However, just as with any service, if you feel that person went above and beyond, you may want to show your gratitude with a tip.


Photo credit: iStock/okugawa

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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