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Do You Need Roadside Assistance Cover?

Exploring Australia is a privilege enjoyed by many, but the conditions can be hazardous. Even the best equipped 4WD can encounter issues in the far corners of the country. So, we sat down with RACV General Manager, Automotive Services, Jackie Pederson to talk all things roadside assistance and road safety.

When RACV members break down interstate, how are their needs met?

RACV members get piece of mind with 24/7 Australia-wide support included on all Roadside Assistance packages. Our Total Care and Extra Care packages provide members with Hire Car, Accommodation and Taxi benefits, so the adventure doesn’t have to stop when your car does.  

What are the most common scenarios that drivers find themselves in in rural or remote areas?

Driving in rural and remote areas increases the risk of driver fatigue, collisions with animals and windscreen damage. Regional roads can be narrower, with fewer options for overtaking. Higher speed limits, sharp bends and narrow shoulders also increase the risk of an accident.

Our data shows that the most common insurance claims on rural and regional roads in Victoria are collisions with other vehicles. Interestingly, windscreen damage is the second most common claim. If you are travelling on rural and regional roads, it is important to check that your car insurance covers windscreen damage, as this is an optional extra that you must select on most policies.

Car insurance also gives you peace of mind to manage costs in the event of an incident. For instance, you may only end up paying the insurance excess rather than the full cost of car damage repairs. 

When travelling in Australia’s outback or remote areas, how important is it to have roadside assistance or be a member of a car club?

Travelling in outback or remote areas without roadside assistance is extremely risky. Access to repairers and towing can be limited and expensive in remote areas. Through our network of interstate affiliates, our team will get your vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible.

Service will be provided on private property or on public roads, provided they are trafficable to normal two-wheel drive vehicles. This excludes areas such as open fields, beaches, creek beds, recreation ovals, and logging or forest service roads.

What would you consider the most important safety tip when preparing to undertake travel in remote or outback Australia?

Ensure that you carefully plan your trip, including stops, and stick to your plan. Take plenty of food and water with you, and check that your insurance policy and emergency roadside assistance membership is up to date.

For every trip to a remote location, it's important to have somebody monitoring your journey. They need to know your departure time, estimated arrival time, and planned route.

You should check-in with your journey monitor every two hours. If you fail to check in and can't be reached, your monitor can provide emergency services with an approximate area where a vehicle is likely to be located.

Drivers also need to be aware that mobile phone service may not be available in some areas. If you break down outside of mobile phone range, you should stay with your vehicle and try to safely flag down another motorist to help you. Ask for their ID, write down their details and leave it in your vehicle along with where they’re taking you. 

If you travel to remote locations regularly, you could invest in a satellite phone or HF radio for long-distance communication.

Does the RACV have different levels of roadside assistance coverage? If so, what level is the best for those visiting remote/regional areas?

RACV offers three levels of roadside assistance, Total Care, Extra Care and Roadside Care. 

Total Care is our recommended option for those visiting remote and regional areas. It includes 100km regional towing – plus generous taxi, accommodation, and car hire benefits. If your vehicle cannot be repaired locally, we may transport your vehicle to a destination of your choice within Australia. 

Extra Care is ideal for those who enjoy travelling in and out of town, and Roadside Care is a favourite for metro drivers who like to stay local.

It is important to check that your level of roadside assistance membership also includes caravans or trailers.

Our support is 24/7 Australia-wide with unlimited call-outs, years of membership discounts and flexible payment options.

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