10 Best Roadside Assistance Plans in 2021
A car breakdown is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences imaginable. Many times, because it's so unexpected. You chance a new road or try to drive to a new location, and before you know it, you've blown out a tire or run out of gas.
The last thing you want is to be left stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night or in the cold.
While worst-case scenarios are always scary, breakdowns are more common than you think. According to Agero, a creator of roadside assistance technology, 69 million vehicles break down in the U.S. per year.
That's around 1 in 3 drivers. Some of the most common reasons for these breakdowns include electrical problems, flat tires, steering wheel issues, faulty batteries, running out of fuel, and key issues.
But when your car fails, you don't have to deal with it alone. Roadside assistance plans can help ensure your and your loved ones' safety.
With that in mind, here are the best roadside assistance plans you'll find this upcoming year.
What Are Roadside Assistance Plans?
Roadside assistance coverage is a type of auto service for drivers when an emergency situation makes the car unable to drive. Roadside assistance coverage helps the customer cover costs to fix the car, at least enough to get to their next destination (possibly a mechanic, after it breaks down or becomes disabled.
Typically, you obtain help either through a hotline or an app. For example, you hop in your car after a long day's work at the office. You go to turn the car on, but it turns out you left the battery running, and now the car is dead.
Once you notice, you call roadside assistance. The dispatch service then comes out to you and helps you jumpstart the battery so you can drive home safely. The coverage would not pay to replace a battery, however.
Lockout services are one of several other roadside assistance options. Locked your keys inside? Emergency road service will get you back in.
Best Roadside Assistance Services
Typically, you can subscribe or purchase the service for a regular flat fee. It might be on a monthly, semiannual, or annual basis, depending on the provider. The type of coverage you want will also contribute to the expense as well.
For example, if you want additional perks, such as discounts or broader coverage, you will probably pay a greater cost.
Each plan comes with various benefits, limits, and features. However, you can generally expect them to help you in situations such as these:
When you need to tow your car to a mechanic or repair shop
When you run out of gas
When you need to replace or fix a flat tire
When your car battery dies, and you have to jumpstart it
When you get locked out of your car or lose your keys
When your car needs mechanical repairs after breaking down
Most insurance providers offer these through their own roadside assistance plans on their auto insurance policies. However, there are other avenues that can help you obtain the same type of service if you're looking for alternatives.
Companies such as cell phone providers and credit card issuers offer it occasionally as well.
Discover the Best Roadside Assistance Plans
Best Roadside Assistance Plans (Car Insurance Companies)
Generally, you can add roadside assistance coverage to the policy bought through auto insurance companies by purchasing a rider. These essentially allow you to customize your policy so that your coverage fits your needs better. And they usually only add a few extra dollars to your overall annual costs.
With that said, here are some of the best roadside assistance plans.
As a Farmers Insurance customer, you can get roadside assistance coverage for $23 a year. With this, they have 24/7 help that applies to all cars you drive. However, how you get roadside assistance is up to you since Farmers gives you two options.
Farmers Insurance Roadside Assistance Program Benefits
First, you can call the hotline at 1-800-435-7764 or log the emergency online to request help. Farmers then dispatches a nearby professional to you from their extensive network, including over 10,000 locksmiths and 20,000 towing and road service facilities. Farmers covers the list of usual services up to a limit of $150.
Second, you can choose your own service provider and pay the bill independently. Then, you can submit a claim to Farmers for them to potentially reimburse. If you go with this, remember to hold on to any important receipts or documents to send to Farmers.
Like Farmers, Allstate offers 24/7 roadside assistance. But the Allstate motor club does so on three different levels. And one of its most appealing features is that you don't even have to hold a policy with Allstate to purchase one.
Allstate Roadside Assistance Program Benefits
If that last perk appealed to you, then the annual membership plan is the route for you. It's available to anyone, regardless of whether you purchased an Allstate policy or not. Potential customers can purchase the Roadside Advantage plan for $79 during the first year and a basic spread of coverages.
Or, you can purchase the Platinum Elite option, which is advertised towards frequent travelers, motorcycle drivers, and RV owners. It charges $149 in first-year member fees and comes with a higher road hazard benefit.
Some policyholders don't want a subscription-based roadside assistance plan, though. In that case, you can opt for Allstate's pay-per-use program. Using this, you can access immediate, one-time assistance when you need it.
While the price varies based on the service you request, towing begins at $119. This option also fits into the above category. So, you can still access one-time help without purchasing an Allstate policy.
Remember how riders work? The final option through Allstate comes in the form of a policy add-on. It's called towing and labor coverage. This type can cost as low as $25 per vehicle and covers the usual range of services, although its labor coverage doesn't typically apply to needed parts. For example, if you need a new tire, the add-on covers the fee to install the new one, but not the tire's actual cost.
State Farm's 24-hour emergency roadside service is an optional coverage you can add to your auto insurance policy.
State Farm Roadside Assistance Program Benefits
It includes the basics, like towing, gas delivery, tire change, and a limit of one hour for mechanical or locksmith labor.
While you may incur out-of-pockets costs for the replacements, such as oil or batteries, you may not face upfront costs. The provider bills State Farm directly when you have coverage.
Even if you don't have the add-on, it's possible that State Farm may still save you money. If you already have an auto policy with them, they negotiate lower rates with service providers in the area.
Thus, you may pay a lower bill in the end. You can request for emergency roadside service by calling 1-877-627-5757 or through the State Farm website.
Best Roadside Assistance Plans (Non-car insurance Companies)
Car insurance companies are not the only providers that offer roadside assistance. You can get this type of coverage through other groups as well.
For many of the suggestions in this article, roadside assistance is just one of many services you can purchase. Or, it's a bonus perk that comes with a separate expense. But there are some companies that make roadside assistance their main focus.
Companies with this goal tend to be more expensive than your other options. However, since it's their specialization, they typically have a liver level of service or a wider range of providers available to their customers.
National General Motor Club
One of your options in this category is the National General Motor Club, or NGMC. The group offers three types of roadside assistance packages to its members. Each one comes with its own perks as well as trip routing and maps as well as travel discounts and coupons.
This is the most affordable plan at $59 per person annually or $69 for a couple. It offers up to five miles of towing, a basic range of roadside assistance services, up to $60 in lock replacements, and up to $25 in key replacements. Members can make a maximum of 3 claims per year, regardless of whether they're a couple or single.
With this tier, you get everything in the basic package plus a little extra. That includes up to 20 miles of towing, up to $90 in lock replacements, and trip interruption reimbursement up to $750.
There is also collision coverage. It costs $79 for a single person and $94 for a couple, but it's open to families as well. You can add dependents under 21 for $15 each. Regardless, you get a limit of 4 claims per year with this plan.
The Elite level builds on top of the Standard package. So, you get everything in the latter, along with up to 100 miles of towing, up to $130 in lock replacement, and trip interruption reimbursement that includes mechanical failure.
You also earn a spread of bonus services, including funds for legal defense, hospital emergency room bond, arrest bond, auto theft deterrent award, and up to $500 for a vehicle repair check guarantee. Families pay $119, can add dependents up to 26 years old, and can make up to 7 claims per year. Single individuals pay $89 and couples pay $99.
But NGMC isn't alone. Its competitor, AAA, is likely the best-known roadside assistance company out there. The company disperses its auto clubs across the country, so they are accessible based on region. Location doesn't affect the service typically, though. They operate similarly no matter where they're based. Members generally pay around $50 per year for a basic service package, although fees vary according to region.
AAA offers three different packages to its customers:
This package covers towing, battery service, fuel delivery service, flat tire service, winching, and up to $50 in locksmith services. But that's not all; it includes additional benefits you won't find in typical insurance riders or bonus programs. It also comes with the option for three levels of identity protection products, called ProtectMyID, Hertz rental discounts, bicycle service calls, and an extensive Approved Auto Repair (AAR) Network. Members receive up to four calls for roadside assistance annually and $500 in trip interruption reimbursement.
AAA's most popular membership option. It includes all the classic benefits found in the AAA Basic package, along with some extra features. Members get up to 100 miles of free towing, free gas with their gas delivery, $100 in Auto Lockout credit, and up to $1,000 in trip interruption reimbursement. It costs $91 per year.
This option takes the previous two and piles on additional benefits. So, you get the combined perks of the Basic and Plus plan. But, you also get 200 miles of free towing, a free replacement battery, $150 in Home & Auto Lockout credit, and up to $1,500 in trip interruption reimbursement.
You can also add coverage for motorcycles, trailers, and RVs. It costs $119 per year.
Better World Club
While both AAA and NGMC offer great plans, they might still lack something for you – a green touch. That's where Better World Club comes in. They're a B corporation focusing on environmental responsibility.
They offer green roadside assistance for both cars and bicycles that is 100% carbon neutral. They have two tiers for memberships (not including a bicycle only plan):
This plan costs $59.95 per year, comes with up to 5 miles in towing along with basic service, and the option to add bicycle and motorcycle coverage. You can add up to three associates at $37 each.
Unlike some providers, Better World Club offers trip interruption perks with their basic plan, with a max of $1,000 and $750 per use. It also comes with discounts for things like hotels and car rentals.
The premium version costs $97.95 and $51 per additional associate (up to three). You have the option to add RV coverage and a towing range of 100 miles. Members also receive two free gallons with fuel delivery and a max of $1,500 total and per use for trip interruption. Like the basic plan, it also comes with discounts.
Some Credit Cards Have Roadside Assistance Plans
Auto insurance companies aren't the only ones with emergency roadside assistance. You might be surprised to learn that even major credit card companies host roadside assistance programs. However, they likely require a subscription fee, usually every month, sometimes an annual fee. Although, if you have a high-level card with your credit card company, a basic roadside assistance program may come at no extra cost. Alternatively, others may offer this type of service on a pay-per-use basis.
So, look out for the rate applicable to your card and issuer.
Cardholders gain access to a free 24/8 roadside assistance hotline known as Roadside Dispatch. A flat fee of $69.95 gets you: standard towing, jumpstarting, fuel delivery, tire changing, lockout service, and standard winching. Discover Visa cardholders also receive this plan.
Cardholders get Master RoadAssist Roadside Service, which is part of the Travel Assistance benefit. The price varies depending on the pre-negotiated fees between MasterCard and the provider as well as the service. Common assistance includes jumpstarts, towing, tire changes, and gas delivery for your car.
American Express used to provide roadside assistance; however, it was dropped from all cards starting January 1st, 2020.
While MasterCard and Visa are the two main credit card companies still offering this type of service, check with your bank issuer as well.
They may have card options that still offer roadside service through Visa or MasterCard. For example, all Chase Visa and MasterCards come with some level of roadside assistance.
So, before you go buying any memberships, see what's already accessible to you. Checking with your card issuer or bank may help you save money.
Other Roadside Assistance Companies
Your auto insurance provider, bank and credit card aren't the only alternatives. There are other companies or groups that know the value of roadside assistance that may offer it to you.
One option is through your cell phone carrier. Some contracts come with roadside assistance, typically at a small, additional monthly fee. Providers include:
Enrolled phones receive roadside assistance for only $2.99 per month. It's a 24/7 service, and it covers towing, jumpstarts, fuel delivery, flat-tire changes, minor mechanical adjustments, winching, and key replacements.
There is a minimum activation requirement, though. It only kicks in after you've had it on your account for at least 24 hours. It's not available for WIRELESS accounts and PREPAID devices.
Sprint offers a Roadside Rescue plan at an affordable $4 per month. However, it also charges a "per line" fee, which means that it's $4 for one person. If you have another individual on the plan, then the fee doubles.
The plan covers common issues. Or, with a Sprint Unlimited Plus or Premium Plan, Sprint will pay for your AAA membership.
Alternatively, you can look into the perks that come with other memberships you may have. Some clubs and organizations offer roadside assistance coverage to their members, such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Members must be 50 years old or over to sign up and participated in the roadside assistance membership. The group itself takes only $16 per year for you to join, and you can start receiving roadside assistance coverage for an additional starting cost of $62 annually. It provides this service through Allstate.
Discover the Best Roadside Assistance Plans
Roadside Assistance Through a Car Manufacturer
Sometimes, car owners may be eligible for complimentary roadside assistance services through a car manufacturer when they purchase a vehicle. That's because certain car companies offer it as a buying bonus on new vehicles.
Although, it usually comes with some restrictions. For example, the service likely only lasts a limited amount of time after the original purchase. In addition, the program is connected to the car itself, not the driver. So, if you sell the car, you'll no longer have access to the program.
Some of the manufacturers that include this with their cars include Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Volvo, and more. However, coverage may be limited based on your car's age and mileage.
If you want to take advantage of a feature like this, look at the extended warranty on a new car. They usually include a better roadside assistance program. But, if you're unsure about the type of services available through your car's manufacturer, call and ask.
Tracking down the type of program your car comes with will help you plan. Since it's a free service, you may be able to avoid other purchases for similar help, meaning you save money. That is, as long as the roadside assistance that comes with your car meets the list of needs you have.
How Do I Choose One of the Best Roadside Assistance Plans?
It would be nice if there were a clear winner. But, ultimately, the best roadside assistance program depends on you and your needs. Many share the same core features and then vary when it comes to perks, so it's up to you to decide the best deal. Of course, there are a few factors that may influence your decision.
Consider thinking about the following:
Do you travel a lot? If so, you may want a plan with higher towing mile limits and trip interruption benefits.
What type of area do you live in? If you live in a rural location, you might also benefit from higher towing miles. You're less likely to have a regional roadside assistance providers in your backyard.
Do you have multiple vehicles? You want to ensure each one is covered under your roadside assistance plan. A package from an auto club might have more to offer you in this case.
Do you want to cover your family? Putting dependents on a plan isn't always easy. You have to look for ones that specifically accommodate a group or dependents. This will be cheaper than purchasing multiple individual packages.
Do you rarely drive? Maybe you work from home, drive short distances, or barely drive at all. In that case, a pay-per-use plan might work better for you than a regular fee-based membership.
Do you already have access to a roadside assistance plan? Remember, there are a couple of ways to get roadside assistance at a discount or even for free. Check with your product's contract, such as your car or cell phone, before purchasing roadside assistance.
Some people are more prone to certain emergencies or problems, too. For example, maybe you know someone that frequently loses their keys or locks them inside their car.
That person should prioritize a plan with higher locksmith labor limits. Or, maybe you're interested in purchasing an RV soon. Your plan should accommodate other types of vehicles then.
It might be wise to pull together lists for your roadside assistance plan. You can categorize them by features you must have, would like, and don't need. Once you do, you know what your ideal package looks like.
So, you can start shopping around and comparing your options. Make sure to track down any special promotions or discounts while you search. Don't be afraid to investigate the service providers as either. Look at their customer service reputation and their standing in the industry.
How to I Use a Roadside Assistance Plan as a Customer?
Let's create a scenario.
You're returning home from a late-night visit with your friend. Unfortunately, some recent flooding blocked off the main road you usually take. Because of this, you decide to use the backroads instead.
But the backroads are tight, lit poorly, and winding. At one point, you hit your tire against something and before you know it, your tire light goes off. You realize that something from the edge of the road has punctured it.
So, you contact the provider of your roadside assistance plan. The method will depend on the company, but for now we'll say yours is through Farmers Insurance. They have a 24/7 hotline, which means you don't have to wait.
The minute something goes wrong, you call the number and inform the agent about your emergency. They drive a replacement out to you and fix the car then and there. If the wheel is unfixable, say the rim got damaged, then they'll tow the car to a body shop.
The particulars will vary according to your roadside assistance provider and experience. Watch out for mile limits, though, and other ways your policy may affect the help available to you.
However, keep an eye out for scams when you use roadside assistance. In particular, you want to watch for tow truck fraud.
For example, if you get into an accident and your car is immovable, you may want to call a towing company to help you move it out of the way. But a dishonest company will do so at a way higher rate than a normal towing company.
They will also charge you exorbitant storage fees, essentially holding your car hostage. As a result, it's always best to be careful when requesting help for your vehicle.
Is a Roadside Assistance Plan Worth the Money?
For some, it may not be worth the extra cost. For example, it may be unnecessary if you already have coverage through your membership with an organization or thanks to a manufacturer's warranty. Or, if you don't really drive all that much.
But for others who drive even regularly, it's worth the money. It provides them peace of mind whenever they pull out from their driveway or street.
A roadside assistance program means that an emergency won't leave them stranded in the middle of nowhere. Instead, they can rest assured that help is on the way.
With a vast range of options available to you, you're sure to find the service best suited to your needs. Comparing the features, costs, and benefits of each plan will help you choose.
Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.
Looking for Auto Insurance?
Compare rates from dozens of companies in less than 3 minutes.