I wonder how many people are paying for road hazard insurance unnecessarily. I used to pay the annual fee to a big-name motor club for the promise to come to the rescue out if we had a flat tire or dead battery, or needed a tow.

I enrolled in the plan with my wife in mind, but since they covered both of us for the same price, I decided to try it out. The one time I called for help was because I had a blowout in Denver rush hour traffic while an afternoon monsoon gully washers poured down.

81ASDE-00000030-001My decision to cancel the coverage was easy. The first and only time I called for help I was told it would be over an hour before anyone could arrive. Ordinarily I would change the tire myself, but on this day I was in business attire on the shoulder a majorly busy I-25, in pouring rain. I ended up changing the tire myself. We discontinued the coverage the next time they sent a payment due notice.

Later I realized I had been wasting my money with the policy anyway. It turns out the full-coverage policy we’ve had with State Farm all these years comes with roadside assistance. I found out about it only recently while scanning my semi-annual premium notice into the computer. I looked into it a little deeper and found that it’s basically the same service I had been paying about $100 a year for once upon a time.

If we ever get locked out of our car, or have a dead battery, or need a tow, we’re covered. You have to call a special toll-free number to take advantage of it but no biggie; we just saved the number into our cell phones.

The takeaway: Check with your current auto insurance provider to see if roadside assistance included in your policy. If so, stop paying a “motor club” for the same service.

Update: If you purchased an extended warranty on your vehicle you may also have roadside assistance there, too.