Imagine you’re stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire and you have no idea how to change out a spare. Or perhaps your engine blows a gasket on a highway in the middle of nowhere. In either case, having access to a roadside assistance benefit could be a huge relief.
Fortunately, an array of credit cards offer a roadside assistance benefit you can access just for being a cardholder. The level of assistance you receive depends on the card you have, however, so you’ll want to compare options thoroughly if roadside assistance is a crucial benefit you’re considering.
What is roadside assistance and how does it work?
Roadside assistance is typically offered in the form of a hotline consumers can call when they need roadside help. Services offered can include battery jumps, service for flat tires, delivery of fuel, lockout assistance, towing and more.
To take advantage of credit card roadside assistance, all consumers need to do is carry a card that offers this coverage. Any time they need to utilize the roadside assistance their card offers, they can call the dedicated hotline and ask for the type of help they need.
Typically, roadside assistance through credit cards can only be used a few times per year. A specific amount of each service (usually up to $50) can also be covered. Further, some types of vehicles (including large commercial vehicles) and some off-road destinations may not qualify for roadside assistance.
Also be aware that some credit cards only offer roadside dispatch, which is a lesser benefit. With roadside dispatch, you can access a hotline that will connect you with the services you need when you need them for a fee. Roadside dispatch is also complimentary, but you do not receive any coverage for each event.
Credit cards with roadside assistance
If you’re hoping to get roadside assistance or roadside dispatch with a credit card, then you need to find the right card option. Not only do roadside assistance programs vary, but credit cards that offer this protection have their own perks and rewards you should be aware of.
The following table highlights the top cards that offer roadside assistance or roadside dispatch, as well as the major details you should be aware of.
|Cards that offer roadside assistance or dispatch||Welcome bonus||Annual fee||Type of roadside assistance offered||Coverage limits||Contact information|
|Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
|50,000 points worth $500 when you spend $3,000 on your card within 90 days of account opening||$95||Emergency roadside assistance, towing, locksmith services and more||Coverage is complimentary, but you pay a set rate for services||See cardholder agreement|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening||$95||Towing, tire changing, jump-starting, lockout service and more||Coverage is complimentary but you pay a set rate for services||1-800-847-2869|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||50,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening||$550||Towing, tire changing, jump-starting, lockout service and more||Up to $50 per service event, up to four times per year||1-866-860-7978|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
|50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on your card within three months of account opening||$95||Towing, tire changing, jump-starting, lockout service and more||Coverage is complimentary but you pay a set rate for services||See cardholder agreement|
|United Explorer Card||40,000 miles when you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening||$0 the first year, then $95||Towing, tire changing, locksmith services and more||Coverage is complimentary but you pay a set rate for services||1-800-847-2869|
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
|None||$0 with your Costco membership||Towing, battery charging, duel delivery and more||Coverage is complimentary but you pay a set rate for services||See cardholder agreement|
The information about the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the United Explorer Card and the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
Keep in mind that you may have roadside dispatch or roadside assistance through your credit card network, as well, although this is often based on the type of card you have.
For example, Visa cards, Visa Signature cards and Visa Infinite cards all come with a roadside dispatch benefit that lets you access roadside assistance services on a pay-per-use basis. With that in mind, you have access to some type of roadside help if you have any kind of Visa credit card.
How do credit card roadside assistance and dispatch compare?
When you pick up a credit card for the roadside assistance benefits, keep in mind that the coverage offered through credit cards isn’t quite as robust as roadside assistance.
If you were to pay for a roadside assistance membership through AAA, for example, you can receive emergency services like towing, fuel delivery and locksmith assistance an unlimited number of times each year. Coverage limits through AAA are also broader and more robust than credit card coverage. For example, a Premier membership with AAA comes with perks like home lockout services, which covers up to $100 in locksmith services for the primary member’s home.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that credit card roadside dispatch and assistance are complimentary services, but you may get better coverage if you pay for a roadside assistance plan through AAA, Allstate Motor Club, Good Sam Roadside Assistance or another provider.
With that in mind, you’ll want to compare the top travel credit cards in terms of perks like free roadside assistance, but you’ll also want to see how they stack up based on their ongoing rewards programs, welcome bonuses and additional perks. The best credit card for you may offer a roadside assistance benefit, but it should also offer a rewards structure you’re excited about.