Letter to the editor: Roadside Assistance Insurance


parsippany focusDear Editor:

When you purchase an automobile roadside assistance insurance policy you should have an expectation of being able to use it when needed for towing and repair. At first glance you’re probably thinking… “Those rotten insurance companies, they’re not paying again.” Not so fast! In New Jersey, the bureaucracy has created all sorts of regulations that subvert your best efforts of protecting your family.

As recently as six months ago, I was driving my son’s car on the Palisades Parkway and I got a flat tire. Initially, I tried to change the tire on my own, unfortunately without success. My next course of action was to call my insurance company’s Roadside Assistance for help. I was relieved to have made contact with the customer service call center, but then a problem manifested itself: the operator asked me where I was located. “I’m on Exit 4 on the Palisades Parkway,” I replied.

The next words from the representative made my blood boil. “I’m so sorry Mr. Auth. We are not permitted to send our response team to the Palisades Parkway.” Unfortunately, exclusive contracts are granted to towing services for certain roadways in New Jersey, and the companies charge very exclusive prices – north of $300 on any given call.

Despite my best efforts to “Be Prepared,” the Boy Scout in me was not rewarded that day. That’s why when I was back in Trenton, I introduced Assembly Bill A5310, which requires certain toll road operators and bi-state agencies to allow drivers to choose their own towing company if it’s been purchased on an insurance policy.

My efforts to prepare ahead and to pay a little extra for the comfort of knowing that my wife, my son, and even my dog Pepe, are not going to be stranded and ultimately taken advantage of, should not be thwarted by a towing company. It is time for us all to be free from unwarranted regulations and to benefit from the services afforded by a competitive market place.

Assemblyman Robert J. Auth