Just under half of Australian drivers wouldn't call for roadside assistance if their car broke down, with a large proportion preferring to dial a partner or family member to fix the issue, a new survey has found.
The July 2020 survey, conducted by comparison site Finder, asked 1007 respondents who they would call if a car problem left them stranded and only 51 per cent reported they would contact their roadside assistance service.
Of the 49 per cent who said they wouldn't contact roadside assistance, 16 per cent said they would prefer to contact their partner or spouse, 11 per cent would call a family member, 8 per cent would call their insurance provider and only 5 per cent would attempt to fix the issue themselves.
Women were three times more likely to call their partner for help than men, while one third of Gen Z respondents said they'd prefer to call a family member for help, compared with only 4 per cent of Baby Boomers and Gen X.
The findings suggest 49 per cent of Australian drivers could be spending up to $133 a year on a service they don't use, totalling $1.2 billion in wasted expenditure.
An average roadside assistance membership can be priced from $100 a year or $7 per month, often with no joining fee associated.
Many insurance policies offer the option to include roadside assist in their cover and some vehicle manufacturers offer the service as part of a vehicle's purchase price, or as an additional option.
Finder's insurance specialist, Taylor Blackburn, says it's important to check your level of cover to avoid unforeseen costs and keep the contact details handy for your designated roadside assistance service, as friends and family won't always be qualified to help.
“Many people assume they can just call a loved one for help, but issues like car lockouts, a stuck vehicle or towing may require a qualified technician," Mr Blackburn said.
“If you aren’t a roadside assistance member, or the service isn’t included in your cover, you may be charged hundreds of dollars for a call out fee or towing service.
“That being said, if you’re already paying for the service – then use it! Make sure you have the emergency contact details handy in your car, wallet and phone."