Whenever you collect a hired car from a rental company in the USA with a pre-paid rental voucher, you will be offered an additional package that is generally referred to as Enhanced Roadside Assistance. Its actual name will vary according to which company is servicing your rental, but the cost is around the same at about $6 – $8 per day plus local taxes.
But what is Roadside Assistance?
Included in all our pre-paid rental vouchers issued in the UK is Basic Mechanical Assistance, this means that if there is something mechanically wrong with the rental car, the company you have hired from will come out and assist you. This may mean towing you back to your holiday accommodation, swapping your rental car for a new one, or simply getting you back on the road – the important bit to note is the mechanical aspect.
Enhanced Roadside Assistance packages cover things that may go wrong due to human error, such as punctures, damage to the windscreen from road chips, damage to the wheels or tyres from curbs, or even 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! All of these (and this is not an exhaustive list) are down to human error and are not the fault of the car hire company. You as the renter, have to either pay to rectify the situation, or, take out the additional Roadside assistance package, and know that all this is taken care of should the worst happen.
What about a specialised Excess Waiver Insurance Package from the UK?
These are available for pre-holiday purchase only and will usually cover you for those ‘human error’ things along with a few extra benefits (such as mobile phone charges if your breakdown/incident involves lots of phone calls). You pay in advance for the cover, you then pay out locally for any costs and claim them back from the insurer upon your return just like travel insurance, but for hire cars. 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 Insurance page for further information on this type of policy, we have found that 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 with a puncture 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.