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The best roadside assistance of 2021
Compare the top 7 companies with roadside service plans, starting at $1/month.
This article was reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and certified insurance counselor and licensed insurance agent in five states.
Roadside assistance is worth the money if you want help with car breakdowns, battery jumps, changing a flat tire and more. This coverage helps the most if you often travel long distances, drive an older car prone to breakdowns or want peace of mind that help is a phone call away. However, it’s an optional type of car insurance coverage that’s not necessary for everyone. And some insurers require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverage along with roadside assistance, raising the total cost.
Companies with the best roadside assistance
The best roadside assistance plans give you access to a variety of services, while setting high limits for your towing mileage and labor costs. Compare roadside service benefits from top insurance companies and auto clubs to find the right plan for you.
|Company||Annual cost||# of service calls||Towing limits||Vehicles covered|
|AAA||Varies by location. |
For example, with AAA Northern California:
|4 tows/yr for all memberships||5-200 miles, depending on membership level||Any car that you’re driving or riding in|
|Allstate||3-5 calls/yr, depending on membership level||$150-$250 total cost, depending on membership level|
|AMA||Included with membership, extra $35 for Roadside Plus||35 miles||Your motorcycles, cars, trucks, trailers and motorhomes|
|Geico||$14 as insurance add-on||Not specified||20 miles||One car|
|Liberty Mutual||$12 as insurance add-on||Not specified||To nearest qualified repair shop||One car|
|Progressive||$16 as insurance add-on||Not specified||15 miles or to nearest repair shop||One car|
|State Farm||$12 as insurance add-on||Not specified||To nearest repair shop||One car|
How we found these roadside service costs
We found the cost of roadside assistance plans from each company directly, either on its main website or through its quote tool if available as a car insurance add-on.
For membership roadside service plans, we looked at general membership costs.
Is roadside assistance worth buying?
Deciding to buy roadside assistance comes down to personal choice. A service plan can give you peace of mind and a go-to phone number to call when you need help. However, buying a monthly or yearly plan can cost more over time if you don’t use it.
Consider these reasons for why you may or may not need roadside assistance:
- Convenience — You won’t have to shop for towing service or a mechanic while you’re stuck on the side of the road.
- How much you travel — You may not need it if your trips involve running to the store and back home, but you might if you take frequent road trips. Most plans cover you nationwide, and auto club memberships might also cover driving in Canada or Mexico.
- Your car’s reliability — A new car rated high for reliability isn’t as much of a risk for breaking down as a used car with tens of thousands of miles on it.
- Your car warranty — Roadside assistance may come with your new car warranty or your used car’s extended service contract.
- Price — If you’re shopping for car insurance, see how adding coverage affects your overall premium. One company’s roadside assistance might cost less than another but leave you with a higher total car insurance premium.
Insurance add-on vs. auto club membership
Buying roadside assistance as an insurance add-on is the cheapest option available. A few companies like Root even include it for free with your policy. However, some insurers require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverage to qualify for roadside assistance, which can add hundreds of dollars per year to your premium.
Although more expensive, membership plans add perks like extra towing mileage or paying for hotels and meals if you’re away from home. Also, membership plans like AAA or Allstate Motor Club may cover other drivers in your household or follow you when you’re in someone else’s car.
5 roadside service perks to look for
The perks included with your roadside assistance can make your plan more valuable and helpful during a breakdown. As you’re comparing insurance companies or membership plans, look for:
- Number of service calls, like two or four per year — See how many times you can call for service per year or policy period.
- Towing mileage, typically 20 miles or less — Find out how far you can get your car towed for free before you’ll pay extra for mileage. If you live in a remote area, you might need a plan with high mileage like 50 miles.
- Trip interruption to cover costs away from home — Some plans cover your hotel room, food or extra transportation costs if you break down over 100 miles from home.
- Which cars are covered — Your insurance roadside assistance is usually attached to a specific car. But a membership or premium plan might let you use it while you’re in any car.
- Which drivers are covered — Membership plans will list which drivers or how many drivers you can add to the plan. Some even cover extended family members.
Compare car insurance with roadside assistance
Compare companies that offer roadside assistance and select Get quotes to see costs and features in detail.
What roadside assistance covers
When you’re stranded on the side of the road, your roadside assistance plan can rescue you for a variety of problems. You can get service for:
- Battery issues — Roadside assistance can try to fix your battery or even replace it if a jumpstart doesn’t work.
- Car lockouts — If you manage to lock yourself out of your vehicle, get help from a locksmith to get you in quickly.
- Run out of gas — Find yourself stranded with an empty tank? Roadside assistance services bring you enough gas to make it to the nearest station.
- Flat or punctured tires — Get help replacing your flat tire with a spare or have your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop.
- Stuck vehicles — If you’re stuck in the snow, mud, a ditch or anywhere else, roadside assistance can pull your vehicle to safety.
- Towing — If you get in an accident or if your vehicle can’t be repaired on the spot, get a tow to the nearest repair shop.
Does using roadside assistance count as a claim?
No. Emergency roadside service is part of your car insurance coverage, but using it won’t raise your rates like making a claim would.
In rare cases, your insurer may charge a higher premium or refuse to renew your plan if you make too many service calls within the year.
Don’t be surprised by roadside service costs and fees
A roadside service plan doesn’t cost much, especially when you add it to your car insurance policy. However, you may get charged other fees if the roadside service charges go above what’s covered in your plan.
Monthly or annual plans from $1/month
Roadside assistance can cost $1–$3 per month or $12–$36 per year if you add it to your car insurance policy. If you buy an auto club membership like AAA, you can pay anywhere from $4–$12 per month or $48–$144 per year for the service.
Overage charges for labor and towing
When you look at your roadside service plan, you’ll see limits for towing, lockouts or minor mechanical fixes. For example, your plan might limit towing to the nearest repair shop within 20 miles or labor costs for a locksmith to $100.
If you go over these costs, you’ll pay the service provider’s rate for the extra labor or mileage. Labor may be calculated with an hourly rate like $40 per hour, and mileage with a per-mile rate like $3 per mile.
Cost of supplies, like a car battery or fuel
You’ll pay extra for fuel, a new car battery or the spare tire that the service provider gives you. Your plan pays for the cost of labor or the service itself.
What’s not covered?
Roadside assistance is limited to small-scale mechanical problems, so you might pay an extra fee for getting stranded in a remote area, long-distance towing or to replace your battery or spare tire.
You won’t be covered for:
- Damage caused by an accident
- Battery replacement
- Older or antique vehicles
- Breakdowns because of an existing condition
- Cost of gas or fuel — Some policies provide a few gallons of fuel for free, but you’ll pay beyond that amount
- Unattended vehicle
- Taxis, limousines and similar commercial vehicles
- Oversized vehicles
- Being pulled out of a ditch that’s difficult to maneuver
- Service during a storm like a hurricane or a snowstorm
- Providing a spare tire
Alternative ways to get roadside assistance
You can find roadside assistance from companies other than your car insurer. Some companies even let you get assistance without a roadside plan, though you may pay an on-the-go fee to use them.
Your options include:
- Service providers like tow trucks and locksmiths let you pay for a one-off service without a roadside plan.
- Car clubs and motorist clubs offer plans that follow you no matter what car you drive, along with travel planning tools and discounts.
- Car manufacturers offer roadside service with your car warranty or sometimes if your car is maintained at its service centers.
- A few cell phone companies like Verizon and AT&T offer roadside service that’s tied to your phone line — so you’ll need the enrolled phone with you to get service.
- Standalone services and apps like Urgent.ly charge monthly or by the service.
A roadside assistance membership could come in handy, although you can find the cheapest options from your car insurer or car warranty.
Even if you don’t have a plan when you get stuck on the road, you can get a tow. Compare car insurance policies with towing service included to find the best deal for you.
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