Repairmen talk about the benefits of roadside assistance

October 8—Drivers and tow truck operators explain the importance of having roadside assistance.

Most insurance companies do not have their own tow trucks, so these companies contract with tow truck services.

With 24/7 roadside assistance, AAA, State Farm and Progressive members get towing, free battery test, flat tire replacement, paid locksmith and emergency fuel service.

Providers bill State Farm directly so members don’t have to pay an upfront fee.

Vehicles insured with Progressive can be towed within 15 miles.

Justin Bruner, owner and operator of Bruners Towing & Recovery, is under contract with AAA. He said there are benefits to having roadside assistance when tow trucks are called.

“If you have AAA, you don’t put it on your car, you put it on yourself. You’re covered no matter what vehicle you’re in as long as you drive the vehicle,” Bruner said.

Each AAA cardholder is entitled to four service calls or refunds per year.

“There will be a $90 service charge for each additional service call after the fourth call or refund. If a cardholder has an outstanding service charge balance and contacts AAA for roadside assistance service, AAA may require immediate payment of the outstanding balance and bill the outstanding service call before providing service,” AAA said.

AAA has three levels of assistance; classic; more; and prime minister. Members with the Classic tier can be towed up to seven miles to any destination or unlimited miles to the tow truck pound. Plus benefits allow up to 100 miles to any destination while Premier members can be towed up to 200 miles.

“Let’s say you have Plus and you’re down in Stilwell and you have to go back to Tulsa. [AAA] going to cover 100 miles of that and after the 100 miles you’re responsible for what’s left,” Bruner said.

Hypothetically, if an AAA member crashes their vehicle and the next rotating wrecker is not under contract with AAA, that wrecker will still respond and take care of business as usual. Bruner said the customer can pay the towing bill and give their receipt to AAA for reimbursement.

“As far as law enforcement is concerned [on scene]they care about the freeway opening and if they can figure out who the AAA convenience store is in that area, then they can call their dispatcher and ask for the AAA convenience store in the area,” he said.

Bruner and Morgan Towing & Recovery are the two services that support Robbins Wrecker Service when it comes to AAA membership. Crystal Whittmore, owner of the Robbins Wrecker service, said it was the main wrecker service in Tahlequah for AAA members.

“Anyone can actually have AAA Roadside, you just don’t have to have AAA insurance. Everything is now automated through AAA and the days when customers call us and say, ‘Hey, I’m down and I need a tow but I have AAA, “they can’t do that anymore,” Whittmore said.

Customers are now required to call it and everything is computerized on the convenience side.

“My drivers have tablets, so we rarely hear AAA when we get calls. Their calls will go straight to their tablets, and everything is computerized,” Whittmore said.