Roadside Emergencies (Pt 2)
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Roadside Assistance Programs
Nowadays, most insurance companies provide some sort of emergency assistance to their clients for accidents and / or breakdowns. Individual auto rescue packages are also available to those who may not be able to obtain such a service from their insurer. This recent development has transformed customer expectation and greatly reduced the hassle normally associated with these unexpected events. Knowing how to use your emergency service before you need it is very important and you should take the time to get the necessary information beforehand. Contact your insurer or service provider to find out the following:
- Get the correct contact numbers. For some reason, motorists often call the incorrect service provider when they have a breakdown or accident, or just don't know who to call.
- Confirm that you are eligible to use the service. Some insurers do not automatically include vehicles which have only third party coverage, commercial vehicles or company vehicles in their assistance programs.
- Documentation: You may be required to provide proof of up-to-date insurance coverage in order to access service; some providers ask for a customer id number. Travel with your documents, otherwise you may be denied service or asked to pay until your status can be confirmed.
- Available Services: Emergency roadside assistance is not regulated in Barbados, and so there is no common service standard to refer to. There are subtle differences between the various service packages and you would do well to ascertain what help you can get from your provider. Some do not provide service for breakdowns at home, while others limit the number of calls you can make for assistance, tows or jump starts over a given period. Owners of vehicles with only third party cover often find that, while they can get their vehicle towed free of cost for a breakdown, they may be required to pay for the tow if the vehicle is involved in an accident. Don't wait until you're in trouble to try to find out what assistance you're entitled to.
While you may value your emergency service for the convenience and piece of mind it provides, it is also an integral part of the insurance claims process. At an accident scene the rescue officer is also there to take photographs, interview witnesses, secure your vehicle and property, speak to the other parties involved in the accident and generally to get a personal assessment of what happened on behalf of the insurance company.
Insurance claims settlement is serious business; claims can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars and, as such, everything matters. The rescue officer is trained to look for clues, however insignificant they may appear to be, which may be critical to the quick resolution of any contentious issues which can arise as a result of the accident. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the rescue service is notified immediately in case of an accident in order to give the response personnel every opportunity to do their job properly. Additionally, you should be careful about what you say and do at an accident scene, it could cost millions.