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 In The News

Beware Costs of Road Aid

By DIANA RANSOM ---
August 27, 2006

Getting roadside-assistance coverage as part of your auto-insurance policy may be cheaper than joining an auto club. But this low-cost option could end up costing you more down the road.

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But by calling for a tow or jump-start through your insurer, you run the risk of increasing your insurance premiums and possibly lowering your eligibility for future coverage.

That's because many auto insurers -- including giants State Farm and Allstate -- typically treat these calls as claims, which the insurers may report to data-collection companies and which get used to determine premiums and decide whether or not to cover new applicants.

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Allstate also offers the Allstate Motor Club. Service through the club rather than as a part of your auto policy -- like that of competitors including AAA, GE Motor Club, BP MotorClub and Better World Club -- isn't reported as claims.

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Write to Diana Ransom at diana.ransom@wsj.com