Getting stuck on the side of the road with car trouble is nobody’s idea of a good time. Thankfully, roadside assistance plans exist to help stranded drivers. Not all roadside assistance policies are the same, though, and picking the right one can make sure you get the support you need at the best price.

What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance can cover a broad range of services designed to help drivers with car trouble. Here are some of the common services roadside assistance plans may cover:

  • Towing services
  • Lockout and key services
  • Tire changes
  • Battery jumpstart and replacement
  • Fuel delivery
  • Winching services (when your car is stuck in ice, snow, a ditch or mud)

You’ll typically use a mobile app or call the company that administers your plan to submit a request for assistance.

The best roadside service for you will vary based on your location, budget, vehicle type, driving habits and ability to handle basic repairs. There are companies that offer independent roadside assistance plans, but you might also be able to purchase a plan through your car’s manufacturer, your cell phone company, your auto insurance provider or your credit card company.

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Where can I buy roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance plans are available from numerous insurance carriers and may be included with some phone plans and credit cards. Here are some of the most common providers.

Car manufacturers that offer roadside assistance

Some car manufacturers include a free roadside assistance plan when you purchase a car. However, coverage may be limited to a number of years or miles, whichever comes first. Typically, this service transfers with the car so you might even be able to purchase a used car with an active roadside assistance plan. Additionally, you may be able to purchase an extended warranty plan to continue this service even after your complimentary period ends.

Cell phone companies that offer roadside assistance

Some cellular phone companies, like T-Mobile and Verizon, offer roadside assistance plans but are often limited in how many service events they will cover per year.

Credit card companies that offer roadside assistance

Some credit card issuers, like Visa and Chase, also offer roadside assistance plans. Plans are sometimes automatically folded into cardholder accounts but may still require a service fee.

Car insurance companies that offer roadside assistance

Many car insurance companies sell roadside assistance endorsements that can be added to your auto insurance policy for an added cost to your premium.

Best roadside assistance plans

Roadside assistance is available from a variety of sources, but some companies stand out in the industry for especially accessible or robust services. Some popular companies for the best roadside assistance plans include:

Company Standout features Average annual cost Availability
AAA Do not need to be an insurance policyholder to purchase a plan
Reputation for quick response times
Membership deals provide additional perks
$64.99 – $124.99 All 50 states and Canada
Better World Club Roadside assistance is included in all auto plans
Bicycle and motorcycle coverage available for an additional fee
$62.95 – $114.95 All 50 states and Canada
Good Sam Offers multiple tiers of roadside assistance plans
Higher tier coverage extends to rented and borrowed vehicles
$99.95 – $179.95 All 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Virgin Islands

Do I need roadside assistance?

Having an emergency roadside assistance plan may provide you peace of mind on the road. You might also compare the cost of a plan with the out-of-pocket cost of a tow or other vehicle service. You might consider a roadside assistance plan if you:

  • Drive an older car or one that requires frequent maintenance
  • Have a long commute
  • Take frequent road trips
  • Live in a region with extreme weather like heat waves or winter storms
  • Are inexperienced or uncomfortable with vehicle maintenance like tire changes
  • Want additional roadside support for a child or other family member

Frequently asked questions

    • Many auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance endorsements, but some don’t or have limitations on when this coverage can be added. Major providers that offer optional roadside assistance coverage include Allstate, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, State Farm and USAA. Roadside assistance pricing and services may vary by carrier, so you may want to contact an insurance agent to discuss plan specifics before purchasing coverage.
    • Many auto insurance companies offer policyholders the option to purchase roadside assistance coverage, but your carrier may not have this coverage available or you might prefer to buy a plan elsewhere. Speaking with your insurance agent may help you figure out if you need to purchase an additional roadside assistance plan.
    • This likely depends on the provider of your roadside assistance plan. For example, roadside assistance plans from car manufacturers are typically limited to the vehicle, no matter who is driving. Other plans, such as AAA, may require you to purchase family coverage but may offer lower rates for additional drivers listed on your plan.
    • There are several credit cards that offer roadside assistance, including most Mastercards via the company’s Master Roadside Assist service and most Visas via the company’s Roadside Dispatch. Some Chase cards also offer roadside assistance services, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
    • Different plans and carriers offer varying services for roadside assistance. Still, the best roadside assistance plans will often include services for towing, key services, tire changes, jumpstarts, battery replacements, fuel delivery, winching, towing and more. Just about anything you can imagine that will help you get your car up and moving again can be found within a roadside assistance plan. Full mechanic and repair services are less common but may be available with some providers. When shopping for roadside assistance, it’s generally a good idea to compare the services offered with the price of coverage to find the right plan for your budget.
    • The price can vary significantly depending on your roadside assistance provider and service tier. Looking at some of the top providers, plans from AAA, Better World Club or Good Sam range from $62.95 and $179.95 per year. Taking another route, you could get free roadside assistance coverage with your credit card but may have to pay individual service fees whenever you use it. Likewise, phone carriers often include relatively inexpensive roadside assistance plans but tend to have more limitations on how frequently you can use these services.