Roadside assistance helps you get back on the road when you’ve got a flat tire, an empty gas tank or if your car is giving you trouble. Many companies provide this service, but you usually need to buy a roadside service plan before you break down.
If you didn’t buy ahead of time, we shortlisted a handful of apps, membership plans and insurance companies that let you access your roadside assistance immediately.
Get these roadside services immediately — we checked
Because it’s hard to find companies that offer immediate roadside plans, we vetted companies and apps that will connect you with service providers right away. With these options, you’ll either pay for an annual membership or a one-time fee at the time of service.
Before paying for immediate roadside service, check if you get free roadside assistance with your car warranty or insurance policy.
|Allstate Pay Per Use||Visit https://roadside.allstate.com/|
|Blink||Download the app|
|Honk||Download the app||Varies by service and provider|
|Mach1||Download the app||Varies by service and provider|
|Urgent.ly||877-244-5140 or download the app||$90 for VIPExpress Pass membership to use immediately|
We found contact numbers and fees on each roadside service company’s website or app.
Pay-per-use vs. immediate roadside assistance plans
You won’t find many companies with immediate roadside assistance plans that you can buy and use in the same day. Even if a company uses emergency roadside service in their marketing, they probably require you to buy roadside assistance and wait several days before you use it.
However, you can find pay-per-use roadside services that charge a one-time fee at the time of service. The one-time fee usually varies based on your area, the type of service and the provider. You may be able to get an estimate before they dispatch help. A few pay-per-use companies provide a list of their services and fees up front.
One example of pay-per-use roadside assistance is Allstate Pay-Per-Use, which lets you call for roadside help even if you’re not an Allstate customer. State Farm also offers a pay-per-use service, but you have to hold a State Farm policy.
Where to find free roadside assistance
You could have roadside assistance without even knowing it. Three common places to find free roadside assistance are your car’s manufacturer warranty, your car insurance policy or an in-vehicle safety system like Onstar.
Car warranties may include roadside assistance
Some automakers offer roadside assistance when you buy a vehicle or as part of their warranty program. We checked out warranties from popular manufacturers to get the details on their roadside assistance.
|Manufacturer||Roadside service number||How long you get free roadside service|
|BMW||800-332-4269||4 years, unlimited miles|
|Chevrolet||800-243-8872||5 years, 100,000 miles for passenger cars and light-duty trucks|
|Chrysler||800-521-2779||5 years, 60,000 miles for gas vehicles|
5 years, 100,000 miles for diesel
|Dodge||800-521-2779||5 years, 60,000 miles for gas vehicle|
5 years, 100,000 miles for diesel
|Ford||800-241-3673||5 years, 60,000 miles|
|Honda||866-864-5211||3 years, 36,000 miles|
|Hyundai||800-243-7766||5 years, unlimited miles|
|Jeep||800-521-2779||5 years, 60,000 miles for gas vehicles|
5 years, 100,000 miles for diesel
|Kia||800-333-4542||5 years, 60,000 miles|
|Subaru||800-261-2155||3 years, 36,000 miles|
|Tesla||877-798-3752||4 years, 50,000 miles|
|Toyota||800-444-4195||2 years, unlimited mileage|
We found warranty details and roadside service numbers from each manufacturer’s website.
A few car insurers give free roadside assistance
A few companies give free roadside assistance to everyone who buys their car insurance, including:
Subscriptions and services
You can get connected to roadside assistance through several subscription or financial services, including major cell phone companies. How their plans work:
- Emergency response system. Emergency systems like OnStar may include roadside service in their packages. These systems may have a faster response than other roadside service plans because they’re designed to respond to emergencies.
- Cell phone companies. Some mobile phone providers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint offer roadside assistance for a small fee, like $4 per phone line. Then, you’ll use that phone to request roadside service.
- Credit card companies. Bank of America is an example of a credit card issuer that offers pay-per-use roadside assistance to Visa cardholders.
- Cost of parts — Whether or not you pay for a roadside plan, you’ll pay for parts and supplies used to fix your car, such as fuel, a car battery or tires.
- Pay per use — You won’t pay to request help, but you will pay for the roadside service itself, such as towing labor and mileage fees.
- Roadside assistance plan — You won’t pay for the roadside service even if you buy a roadside service plan that you can use immediately. You might pay an extra fee to use it immediately as well as any charges above your plan’s coverage.
- Find out your location. You may need to look at your GPS or nearby street signs or mile markers to help the technician find you.
- Park in an accessible spot. If possible, pull over to the side of the road or any area that avoids traffic and keeps your car accessible for the technician.
- Describe the problem with your car. Give as much detail about your car’s mechanical problem so that the technician is prepared when they arrive.
- Provide your car’s information. Find out your car’s year, make, model and VIN if you don’t remember those details.
- Leave your phone number. When you speak with customer service or a technician, leave your phone number in case the company needs to contact you.
- Find a repair shop. You could look up reputable repair shops in the area while you’re waiting for roadside service.
- Make a follow-up call. You should get an estimated time that the service provider will arrive. If the technician doesn’t show up within an hour after calling, you can follow up with your insurance or the service provider to make sure that the driver is on their way.
- Outsourcing. Some roadside assistance providers outsource services to local repair shops, meaning the service you receive might not be consistent.
- Insurance rates. If you have roadside assistance included on your policy, your insurer might keep track of your car troubles and raise your rates accordingly.
- Fees. Some memberships include the costs of towing and other services when you use your roadside plan, while others charge on top of the membership fee. You’ll also pay for supplies used to repair your vehicle, like a battery, gas or oil.
- Membership costs. Do your research before choosing a provider, some roadside assistance companies cost more than others, despite similar services.
- Upcharging. You don’t have many options when you’re stuck on the side of the road, and companies may charge higher rates because it’s your only option.
- Unsolicited services. Avoid any unsolicited roadside assistance services from tow trucks that pull up after your car breaks down. They could be scams or way overpriced.
- Specific repair shops. The company you call should allow you to choose a repair shop. If not, your vehicle could end up at a shop that charges too much, and you won’t have a choice but to pay up.
What you pay at the time of service
Roadside assistance isn’t 100% free, no matter what company you use for your service call. Understand what costs to expect ahead of time.
7 tips to get roadside service fast
When you call for assistance, the nearest qualified technician is dispatched to your location. Usually, you can expect a tow truck within one hour.
But there are a few ways to speed up the process:
What to watch out for when calling roadside service
Roadside assistance can come in handy, but there are a few things to watch out for know exactly what you’re paying for.
Compare roadside assistance coverage
Roadside assistance can provide peace of mind when you’re on the road, and it might be more affordable than you think. Though prices vary depending on the location, type of breakdown, company and other factors, this service is convenient if you travel or commute to work.
You can find affordable roadside assistance plans through insurance companies. Compare your options to stay prepared in case your car breaks down in the future.
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