Roadside Assistance: What Is It, and Do I Need It?

Roadside assistance generally doesn’t cover Repairs, so it’s important to have a policy that offers both Roadside Assistance and Repair Coverage. That way, you can get help with towing and other services — and pay for repairs if your vehicle can’t be fixed on the spot.

Choosing a roadside assistance plan is a personal decision, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you don’t have another way to get help (like through a family member or friend), then roadside assistance may be worth the cost. You should also consider how often you travel and whether you’re comfortable with the service providers in your area.

If you decide that roadside assistance is right for you, the next step is to add it to your car insurance policy. Most insurers offer roadside assistance as an add-on, so you can choose the coverage that fits your needs. And be sure to shop around — different insurers partner with different service providers, so you’ll want to find the best fit for your situation.

roadside assistance

Roadside assistance can be a lifesaver if your car breaks down — but it’s not right for everyone. Before adding it to your car insurance policy, make sure you understand what’s included and how it works. That way, you can decide if it’s worth the cost.

Before adding roadside assistance to your car insurance policy, you should know what’s included.

What roadside assistance service includes

When you’re stranded on the side of the road, a roadside assistance program will connect you with the right professional — whether you need minor repairs, gasoline or something else.

Towing service providers will take your car to the nearest mechanic up to a specified distance. If you need your car towed past that limit, the provider will charge you for the overage.

Battery jump-start service providers will restart your battery if it’s dead.

Flat-tire service professionals will replace your flat tire with your spare. But roadside assistance might not cover a flat tire for a motorcycle or similar vehicle.

Lockout service and locksmith service helps you get into your car if you’re locked out, but there’s a difference between the two. Lockout service providers typically try to unlock the car door using a pump wedge or a long-reach tool. If those methods don’t work, the provider will call a locksmith.

Fuel-delivery service providers will deliver enough fuel to get you to the nearest gas station. If the service provider charges for this separately, they’ll use the local pump price.

Extrication or winching service is the process of moving a vehicle when it’s stuck. You may need to pay extra if it takes more than one service professional and truck to dislodge the car.

Should you get roadside assistance?

This depends on your car’s age, how far you typically drive and whether you value convenience. A number of auto insurance companies, auto clubs, credit card issuers and car manufacturers offer roadside assistance.

If you’ve decided to add this protection, take a look at our roadside assistance comparisons to get a feel for who offers it and how they differ.

Here’s how we consider whether the benefits are worth it:

Vehicle age: Brand-new cars generally need less maintenance and have fewer mechanical problems, which means you could skip roadside assistance. Your car manufacturer may even offer free emergency service for the first few years or for a certain number of miles. You could pay for one-off services as they arise. But if you have an older car, roadside assistance may be a good investment.

Distance and commute: Another factor to consider is how far you typically drive when you’re getting to work or running errands. If you typically stay within a small area, you might skip roadside assistance. But if you frequently take trips to unfamiliar places, then it’s a good idea to have a professional network on call.

Convenience: If you value convenience, we think you’ll benefit from adding some type of roadside assistance program to your auto insurance policy. You won’t have to figure out which service provider is best-suited for your needs. This can be especially helpful when you’re stranded late at night or during inclement weather.

Costs: Roadside assistance programs negotiate prices with service providers and pass on the savings to members, which can help you save money. Plenty of roadside assistance members use the service several times in a year.

Free roadside assistance: If you already have access to free services, then you should take advantage of them. Some credit card issuers and car manufacturers provide their own free services — though restrictions may apply.

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Which insurance companies offer roadside assistance?

Most auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance as a policy add-on, but benefits will vary. Below, we outline programs that are offered through the largest auto insurance companies.

State Farm

state farm

All State Farm drivers can use the company’s roadside assistance feature. If you didn’t add the benefit to your policy, you’ll just pay a fee for services you use. The price is usually less than market rates. State Farm’s emergency roadside service includes all the basic features, but mechanical and locksmith labor is limited to one hour. The time limit should be enough to resolve most issues, though.

Geico

geico

The Geico roadside assistance add-on is a great selling point for the company. One of its key features is the ability to request help through the Geico mobile app. This is a huge benefit because it can save you time and hassle. You can simply enter your policy information into the app and then let Geico track your location with GPS.

This is extremely helpful if you ever find yourself stranded without a sense of where you are. Additionally, Geico’s location tracking can be used to help the company locate you if you ever need assistance. This is a great feature that can give you peace of mind knowing that you will always be able to get help when you need it.

Allstate

allstate

Allstate offers three tiers of service for roadside assistance, each with its own unique benefits. The third tier, Allstate Motor Club, offers the most features and can also be purchased as a stand-alone service. Some of the benefits included in this tier are trip interruption coverage and a personal concierge.

If you’re interested in having access to these features, Allstate’s Motor Club is a great choice. However, it’s important to note that this option is only available if you purchase it as a stand-alone service. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to the benefits offered in the first two tiers.

Progressive

progressive

Progressive’s emergency roadside assistance program offers all the basic coverage you’d expect, including flat-tire changes and battery jump-starts. Additionally, policyholders can benefit from Progressive’s lenient towing guidelines.

Most insurance companies only include free towing up to a certain distance, but Progressive will tow your car more than 15 miles if there isn’t a qualified repair shop within the area. This can be a lifesaver if you’re stranded in a remote location, and it’s just one more way that Progressive looks out for its policyholders. So if you’re looking for comprehensive roadside assistance coverage, be sure to give Progressive a call.

USAA

usaa

If you’re a member of USAA, you may be considering signing up for its roadside assistance add-on. This service can be helpful if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road or in need of a tow. However, there are some things to keep in mind before you sign up.

First, USAA will only reimburse you for the services provided. This means that you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the tow or other assistance and then wait to be reimbursed.

Second, the coverage is fairly basic and doesn’t include features like trip interruption or rental car reimbursement. So if you’re looking for comprehensive roadside assistance, USAA may not be the best option.

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