Content of the material
- The Pros and Cons of Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Programs
- What Does a Roadside Assistance Plan Cover?
- Final Verdict
- Are Roadside Assistance Plans Worth It?
- What is AAA?
- AAA membership packages
- What Services Are Provided by Roadside Assistance Plans?
- Add-on coverage plans
- Phone companies
- Insurance companies
- Credit card companies
- Understanding Other Types of Car Insurance Discounts Available
- How To Use Your Roadside Assistance Plan
- How do I purchase roadside assistance?
- Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
- Progressive: 4.6 Stars
- Geico: 4.6 Stars
- FAQ About Roadside Assistance Plans
The Pros and Cons of Auto Insurance Roadside Assistance Programs
Most car insurance companies offer cheap roadside assistance as an optional add-on to your policy. For instance, Elephant Insurance’s roadside assistance plan dispatches a service professional to tow your vehicle, jump-start your battery, bring you gas or fluid, change your tire or provide locksmith services.
That’s pretty much the standard menu for auto insurance roadside assistance programs. Some companies offer extra services, like winching. That means they’ll pull you out of the snow or mud, as long as you’re not too far off the roadway. And 21st Century Insurance gives all its customers 24-hour roadside assistance for free. You can find out which auto insurance providers offer coverage by viewing their individual profiles on our Insurance Companies page.
Pros: There’s no extra bill to pay — assistance is included in your car insurance premiums, usually at a low cost.
Cons: Some states require the policyholder to have both comprehensive and collision coverage before you can add roadside assistance.
What Does a Roadside Assistance Plan Cover?
Roadside assistance plans cover emergency roadside services including tows, jump-starts, lockouts, fuel delivery, and tire changes. How much you’ll pay for each of these services depends on the plan you choose. Some companies offer extra services and benefits like trip interruption coverage and theft protection.
Allstate may be one of the country’s best-known insurance companies, and its roadside assistance plan ensures that you’ll be back on the road quickly if you ever have a problem while traveling.
Reasonably priced and available whether or not you’re an Allstate insurance customer, Allstate Roadside Assistance offers two plan levels and services such as towing, battery jump-start, flat tire change, and more. Its generous $1,500 of trip interruption coverage could very well save a vacation, and additional family members can be added for no extra cost.
Are Roadside Assistance Plans Worth It?
Absolutely. If you find yourself stranded, the benefit of having a roadside assistance company ready to come to your aid is well worth the reasonable yearly fee. Depending on your plan, you could avoid needing to pay anything out of pocket for a tow or other emergency service.
What is AAA?
AAA was founded in 1902 and is first and foremost a car, travel and insurance company. Many people recognize AAA as a company providing insurance products, travel discounts and roadside assistance. Over the years, AAA has grown to include a wide variety of financial products, including home mortgages, banking and credit cards.
AAA charges a yearly fee for the roadside assistance and bundles the program with other discounts and incentives besides vehicle services. There may be an extra charge for extended towing miles.
AAA membership packages
AAA is also well known for its roadside assistance program and the coverage is sold as a membership package.
AAA offers three levels of membership options, with each level increasing in the number of benefits and perks:
- Classic: This is the most basic option. It provides up to five miles towing, lockout service, fuel delivery (you pay for the fuel) and a battery jumpstart. Plus, the membership comes with various discounts for attractions and services across the country.
- Plus: This package level provides up to 100 miles in towing and increased locksmith benefits, plus free fuel if you need AAA to provide fuel delivery. There are numerous other increased benefits, including higher accidental travel coverage and other perks.
- Premier: This level provides up to 200 miles of towing, even greater locksmith benefits and a free mobile battery service.
Overall, the membership packages provide a large network for roadside assistance, plus many other travel, auto and home-related discounts and benefits.
What Services Are Provided by Roadside Assistance Plans?
Roadside assistance plans typically include towing, dead battery jump-start or replacement, flat tire change, and fuel/fluid delivery. Some plans also include winching and additional coverage such as trip interruption. Many plans additionally offer discounts on travel and dining from partner providers.
Add-on coverage plans
These add-on roadside assistance plans are offered by select cellphone companies, auto insurance companies and credit cards. You either pay a small fee on your normal bill or are only charged with you utilize the plans.
Verizon Roadside Assistance
If you have Verizon, take a look at Verizon Roadside Assistance.
- Cost: $4.99/billed monthly per cellphone line.
- Coverage: Up to four service calls per year. Coverage follows the cellphone, so any vehicle is covered as long as the phone is present. Coverage is active 48 hours after enrollment and includes basic services, plus towing up to 10 miles (for mechanical failure only) and winching.
- Extras: No charge for up to three gallons of fuel.
Most insurance companies offer a towing and labor add-on for $2-$5 per month that includes basic services and some level of towing.
Some companies require that you have comprehensive and collision coverage. Before you sign up, find out whether service calls are treated like a claim and will result in higher premiums.
Credit card companies
Many credit card companies offer roadside assistance that follows the credit card; in other words, the cardholder is covered even if it’s someone else’s vehicle. Most do not require an annual fee, but will charge per service call for basic services and limited towing, and extra services may incur additional charges.
While this may not be the roadside assistance program on which you want to rely, if you find yourself without coverage and need help, you may save money by going through your credit cards rather than paying completely out of pocket.
Understanding Other Types of Car Insurance Discounts Available
Because the roadside assistant car insurance discount may be one of the more challenging types of car insurance discounts available, it makes sense to explore other money-saving opportunities for car insurance as well.
These are a few of the more common types of auto discounts that you may find as you shop around and compare rates for new coverage:
- A claims-free driving record discount
- A safe driver discount for taking a driver’s education course
- A low mileage or infrequent driver discount
- A military veteran or active duty discount
- A discount for select occupations
- A good student or full-time student discount
- A good credit score discount
- A new car discount
- A green car discount
- A discount for select safety features
How To Use Your Roadside Assistance Plan
To use a roadside assistance plan, simply contact your provider whenever you need a service. Customer support will walk you through what to do and contact the necessary services on your behalf. Some providers have their own dedicated roadside technicians, and others hire local independent contractors.
Be aware that almost all roadside assistance plans have limits. There is usually a maximum towing distance, a ceiling on service hours, and a coverage liability limit.
How do I purchase roadside assistance?
If you choose to purchase AAA, you can sign up either online or by calling the customer service number, or sending in your application through the mail. If you are interested in purchasing roadside assistance through a carrier, you can add it on during your policy renewal period, either online, via the app, through your agent or by calling customer service.
The table below compares some of the most popular roadside assistance programs available to a wide range of drivers, including both the costs and what makes the program one to consider.
|Company||Roadside assistance cost||Standout feature|
|AAA||Multiple options to fit a variety of budgets|
|Geico||Drivers can request assistance in as little as two minutes|
|Allstate||You can track the location of the towing assistance|
|Better World Club||Eco-friendly option for roadside assistance|
|AT&T||No annual contract required|
Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
At the end of the day, you probably shouldn’t pick an auto insurance provider based on which has the best roadside assistance plan. It may be a factor, but a reliable claims process, affordable rates, and the right level of coverage are ultimately most important.
If you’re shopping for car insurance and roadside assistance, check out our top recommended providers and start comparing free quotes by entering your zip code below.
Progressive: 4.6 Stars
Progressive is among the largest insurance providers in the United States and has been servicing policies since 1937. In our industry review, we rated Progressive car insurance 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. Progressive holds an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.
Progressive offers a number of discount options, including a deductible savings bank, policy bundling, and the Snapshot® mobile app. If you are a responsible driver, you have a good chance of finding a low premium with Progressive, not to mention one of the best roadside assistance plans.
Geico: 4.6 Stars
Geico’s affordable rates, easy claims process, and nationwide availability make it one of the best options out there. That’s why we rate Geico auto insurance at 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. Geico scored above the national average in the J.D. Power 2021 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study℠ and has an AM Best financial strength rating of A++.
Geico’s numerous discounts include:
- Safe driver discount
- Family discount
- Military discount
- Good student discount
Most customers find that Geico offers the lowest premiums among major providers. For that reason, we think it’s a good idea to include Geico car insurance and roadside assistance in your search.
FAQ About Roadside Assistance Plans
What is the best roadside assistance service?
There is no single best roadside assistance service. Which service is best for you depends on your needs and budget. We think Progressive offers the best overall roadside assistance package, and AAA offers the best premium service.
To get roadside assistance with Progressive, you will need to have a Progressive auto insurance policy.
What does roadside assistance cover?
Roadside assistance coverage varies depending on the provider. Standard roadside assistance offerings include towing, winching, lockout services, and flat tire services.
Other less common offerings include roadside maintenance, trip planning, and fuel delivery. None of these features are unlimited, however. Even the best roadside assistance plans cap the number of service calls customers can make in a year.
Is AARP better than AAA?
It depends on which plan you decide to purchase. The least expensive AAA plan is cheaper than the least expensive AARP plan. However, the most expensive AAA option costs more than the most expensive AARP option.
For the lower-cost plans, we think that AAA is a better option. It allows for more monthly service calls and a useful Motor Vehicle Department service. Premium AARP plans include more options like emergency bonds and legal defense fees, but these extras are not needed for some customers.
How much is a roadside assistance plan? The price of a roadside assistance plan varies depending on the provider and services. The cheapest plans can be as little as $14 a year (Geico, USAA), and the most expensive plans are upwards of $100 a year (OnStar).