Gwinnett County

Clark Howard warns against using roadside assistance from your insurance company

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Consumer Adviser Clark Howard believes keeping your roadside assistance separate from your car insurance is key.

Gwinnett County resident Jared Gaitan told Channel 2 Action News he learned the hard way why it's important to take Howard's advice.

Gaitan said his 1999 Nissan Altima had a few problems recently.

“Car broke down, needed to get towed, flat tire, things like that,” Gaitan said.

Each time he had an issue, Gaitan called the roadside assistance he had as part of his Progressive car insurance policy. He’d been a Progressive customer for nearly 20 years, but a recent login to his policy website concerned him. An alert at the top of the screen informed him that his policy would not be renewed.

A quick call to customer service revealed it was those roadside assistance calls that were part of the problem.

“They told me that roadside assistance, especially towing, is considered a claim because they have to spend money for them to send a towing truck,” Gaitan said.

Gaitan said he was also told that calls he made to alert Progressive he’d been in an accident, without filing a claim, were still considered claims.


“I called them and told them that ‘Hey, I was hit. Just calling to let you know that,’” Gaitan explained.

“They told me that I should have never called them to tell them that because it was considered a claim as well even though they did nothing about it.”

The nonrenewal letter he received told him the policy was not being renewed because he’d had 10 or more claims within the past 36 months.

We contacted Progressive regarding Gaitan’s policy and were told his policy was not renewed in accordance with the law.

Gaitan is frustrated with the company’s response and said if he had known roadside assistance was considered a claim, he would never have called.

“I’m hurt. I’m in pain because I enjoyed being a client for Progressive. They’ve always been good, and apparently, they don’t think the same of me,” Gaitan said.

Howard suggests having roadside assistance plans with AAA or another entity.

“You’re asking for nothing but trouble having that coverage from your own automobile insurer,” Howard said.