Latest research reveals that at least 20 percent of vehicle owners in NSW do not have roadside assistance. This compares favourably to Tasmania and Darwin where 40 and 35 percent respectively do not sign up for assistance.
The study conducted by research company Roy Morgan indicates that NSW ranks closer to the national average of 23 percent.
According to the NRMA's Operations Manager Tim Moggridge, roadside assistance can be of great help in serious situations.
For example, it is common for babies and pets to get locked in cars - the service can mean the difference between life and death.
What is the nature of cover we sign up for?
Drivers with total, premium and ultra premium packages are few and far between. This is because most drivers prefer to sign up for a basic roadside assistance programs. In NSW only 9 percent opt for the upgraded version whereas in Queensland this constitutes 17 percent of drivers. The national average indicates that 17 percent Australians have a complete roadside assistance package.
What do they demographics show?
The survey of 50,000 people also showed that respondents closer to the age of 65 chose to have cover. Gender wise, females are more likely to sign up. Surprisingly, people with cars 10 years or older prefer not to have roadside assistance.
This comes at a time when other research by Roy Morgan shows that over 2 million people in Australia are planning to buy a car.
Who do Australians choose for cover?
Commenting on the most popular choices of roadside assistance companies, Roy Morgan's Industry Director Automotive Jordan Pakes said drivers are drawn to the main bodies of the state that they live in.
He elaborated 65 percent Victorians are covered by RACV, 58 percent of residents of Western Australia choose RAC. In NSW around 65 percent are covered by the NRMA.
On a positive note, car companies are increasingly offering the service as part of a vehicle sale.
"With more and more auto brands offering complimentary roadside assistance for new car buyers, it's crucial for the traditional providers to further their understanding of existing and potential customers," added Mr. Pakes.
What to look for in roadside assistance cover
There are plenty of services on offer. As well as understanding the services on offer, there are some basic questions that can help you decide which company to go for.
Roadside assistance programs can help drivers get back on the road quickly and safely. In addition to this, you should consider comprehensive insurance and in NSW you must ensure your CTP greenslip and registration are up to date.
- How many vehicles is the rescue fleet made up of - the larger a company's network, the better chances of them getting to you in time.
- What is the average time they take to get to a breakdown? These figures are usually available online, or you can ask before you sign up.
- If you sign up for a state specific program, does the company have an affiliated network to give you Australia-wide coverage?