The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
Roadside assistance plans could provide a helping hand if you experience car troubles. However, not all roadside assistance plans cost the same or offer the same services. Some include specified basic services for no additional cost, while others offer reduced-price services that you must pay for as needed. The best roadside assistance plan for you depends on your driving habits and several other factors. Bankrate surveyed the market and found plans that may provide the best balance of price and services for your needs.
What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is a service that provides help when you are unable to drive your car. Whether you have run out of fuel, locked yourself out or have a flat tire, you may be able to use roadside assistance services to get your vehicle moving again. 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.
What does roadside assistance cover?
Roadside assistance services vary by provider but typically include:
- 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)
How much does roadside assistance cost?
The cost of roadside assistance varies depending on the company you choose, the level of coverage you get and how often you need to use it. You could pay as little as $20 per year for roadside assistance, but some plans cost as much as $150. Keep in mind you could be charged extra for certain services too, such as battery replacements or tire changes, depending on the details of the plan you purchase.
Where can I buy roadside assistance?
As mentioned, there are many places to purchase a roadside assistance plan. Here are some of the most common providers.
Car manufacturers that offer roadside assistance
Some car manufacturers (like Honda, for instance) 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
T-Mobile and Verizon are two cell phone companies that offer roadside assistance plans, but other cell phone service providers may, too. Cell phone roadside assistance plans often impose limits on services, though. For instance, the Verizon plan only covers four service events per year.
Credit card companies that offer roadside assistance
If you like the idea of a pay-per-use model for assistance, you might consider a roadside assistance plan from your credit card company. Some companies, like Visa and Chase, automatically offer roadside assistance dispatch services to cardholders. For instance, Visa requires no membership or annual fee, instead charging users a flat fee per service call, as well as any additional fees associated with services like towing.
Car insurance companies that offer roadside assistance
Many car insurance companies enable you to add roadside assistance coverage as an endorsement to your auto insurance policy. This may be a convenient way to roll the service into your policy, though it will add to the cost of your insurance. Roadside assistance coverage may vary by insurer, from pay-per-service to a specified number of incidents per year. Typically, coverage is only for the vehicle(s) where the endorsement is added. Talk with your insurance agent, or review your policy coverage online, to make sure you have the coverage you need and know how your coverage would apply (or not apply) in a claim situation. The cost of coverage may also vary in cost by insurer, so your insurance agent may be able to provide you with specific details regarding your carrier.
What are the 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 include:
AAA is an auto insurance company, but you do not have to be a policyholder to purchase one of its roadside assistance plans. AAA plans include services such as battery replacement, flat tire repair, lockout service, minor auto repairs, winching and fuel delivery. These plans limit services to four service calls per year, after which additional charges may apply.
AAA roadwise assistance may be ideal for drivers who take multiple road trips far from home or drive an above-average number of miles per year. Bear in mind that AAA offers roadside assistance through numerous local car clubs. Benefits and prices may vary by the club you choose and your membership level.
Better World Club
Better World Club offers roadside assistance plans in all 50 states and Canada. The provider offers basic auto and premium auto plans, and all plans include battery jumpstart, fuel delivery, lockout, tire change, towing and winching services.
All members may add bicycle or motorcycle coverage to their plans for an additional fee, and premium members can add a recreational vehicle.
Good Sam offers three roadside assistance plans: Platinum Auto, Platinum+ Auto and Platinum Complete Auto. All plans include battery service, flat tire changes, fuel delivery, locksmith service and onsite technician support for the subscriber, their domestic partner or spouse and dependent children under age 25.
While the Platinum Auto plan only covers vehicles owned by the subscriber, Platinum+ and Platinum Complete also cover borrowed, leased and rented vehicles, and feature hotel and rental car discounts and recreational vehicle concierge service.
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.
The best car insurance company will likely vary based on your personal circumstances and preferences. For some drivers, the best car insurance company may be one with low average rates, while others may value robust coverage options like roadside assistance. Comparing quotes and coverage options from multiple providers may help you narrow down the best car insurance company for your needs.
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.
There are a number of alternatives to AAA for roadside assistance services. A few include the Better World Club, Good Sam and Allstate Motor Club. You may also get roadside assistance service through your car insurance, credit card provider, mobile carrier or other sources.