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If you were to find yourself stuck in a ditch or stranded on the side of the road, emergency roadside assistance could come in handy, and the best roadside assistance plans will help you get winched, towed, or back on the road quickly.
Many of the best car insurance companies in the industry offer roadside assistance as cheap add-ons to insurance policies. Warranty companies and standalone roadside assistance providers, like AAA, also offer coverage. If you’re considering purchasing a roadside assistance plan, this article will help you decide which option is best for your needs and budget.
If your auto insurance provider doesn’t offer roadside assistance, you might consider switching. Compare free quotes using the tool below to see if you can save money on your premiums.
What Is A Roadside Assistance Plan?
A roadside assistance plan is a very specific type of auto insurance that helps drivers cover the costs of emergency road services when their car malfunctions. It is an option on almost every auto insurance policy and is generally available for a monthly, semiannual, or annual fee. The best roadside assistance plans cover:
- Battery services
- Flat tire replacements
- Fuel deliveries
- Lockout services
- On-site repairs
Roadside assistance plans are a common offering for major auto insurance companies, but they are also offered by standalone roadside assistance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and even credit card companies and cell phone providers like American Express and Verizon.
The Best Roadside Assistance Plans
There is no single best roadside assistance plan for everyone. When shopping for a plan, consider your needs and budget. High-end roadside assistance can be expensive, and very low-cost roadside assistance may not offer the services you need. Look for a provider with a high rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to ensure you’re getting legitimate coverage.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular service providers of roadside assistance and what you’ll get from each service.
|Best Roadside Assistance Provider||Average Cost||BBB Rating||Coverage||Towing Limit||Policy Limits|
|1. Progressive||$16||NR||Towing, winching, jump-start, fuel delivery, battery change, lockout service, flat tire change, on-scene labor||15 miles or nearest repair shop||Service limits vary by policy|
|2. AAA||$38–$164||A+||Towing, flat tire change, jump-start, fuel delivery, mechanical first aid, locksmith service, identity theft protection, passport photos, trip planning||The nearest gas station, AAA-approved repair facility, or preferred mechanic||Limit of 4 service calls per membership year|
|3. Better World Club||$58-$98||A+||Battery jump-start, flat tire change, lockout service, fuel delivery, trip routing, discounts on hotels, rental cars, and more||5 miles with the Basic Auto package, 100 miles with the Premium Auto package||Limit of 4 service calls per year|
|4. USAA||$14||A+||Towing, lockout service, jump-start, flat tire change, fuel delivery||Nearest repair shop||Pays up to $100 per occurrence|
|5. Geico||$14||A+||Towing, jump-start, flat tire change, lockout service||Nearest repair shop||Limit of 5 service calls per year|
|6. CARCHEX||$60–$110||A+||Towing, mechanical first aid, flat tire change, emergency battery service, lockout service, fuel delivery, theft reward, trip route mapping||25 miles||Limit of 5 to unlimited service calls per year, depending on package|
|7. Allstate Motor Club||$86–$144||A+||Towing, jump-start, fuel delivery, lockout service, flat tire change, trip planning||$150–$250 benefit per tow, depending on package||Limit of 3–5 service calls per year, depending on package|
|8. AARP||$64–$84||A+||Towing, flat tire change, fuel delivery, battery boost, winching, lockout service, trip routing, auto theft reward, emergency hospital bond, arrest bond certificate, legal defense reimbursement, trip interruption guarantee||5 miles with the basic package, 100 miles with premium package||Limit of 3–4 service calls per year, depending on package|
|9. OnStar||$300–$756||F||Automatic crash response, automatic emergency services contact, towing, flat tire change, fuel delivery, stolen vehicle assistance, remote vehicle diagnostics, 2GB hotspot data||40 miles or nearest repair shop||Service limits vary by customer and state|
|10. American Express||Free*||A+||Towing, winching jump-start, fuel delivery lockout service, flat tire change||Nearest repair shop||Only provides coordination and assistance with obtaining services (cost of services are the responsibility of the customer)|
*Included with American Express Serve® or Bluebird® by American Express membership.
Our Top Picks For The Best Roadside Assistance Plans
There are four providers that stand out as the best roadside service providers: Progressive, AAA, Better World Club, and USAA.
Buying a roadside assistance package through your insurer is usually the cheapest option, but premium services like AAA or Better World Club can be worth the separate fee.
#1 Progressive: Best Roadside Assistance Overall
Progressive roadside assistance is only slightly more expensive than other low-cost competitors, while also offering better benefits. The most generally useful emergency roadside services are towing, winching, and lockout services. Progressive offers all of these, and the Progressive towing service has a greater range than similar competitors.
If you have Progressive car insurance already, going with Progressive roadside assistance is a no-brainer. Even if you don’t have Progressive, we recommend looking into the insurer for its great coverage. To learn more about the provider, read our full Progressive auto insurance review.
#2 AAA: Best Plan Features
AAA roadside assistance is the gold standard in roadside assistance plans. AAA offers three different policies: Classic, Plus, and Premier. The Classic plan limits towings to five miles, but with the Plus plan, you can have your vehicle towed up to one hundred miles, which is much farther than most roadside assistance packages.
With even the most basic AAA membership, you have access to the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) services in some states. AAA can help you complete any paperwork you would normally do at the DMV like vehicle registration, titling, and plate renewal services. Instead of going to the DMV, you can do these things at a AAA office, and AAA covers all the necessary fees.
The perks of the Plus and Premier AAA memberships are that they offer reimbursements for locksmith fees, trip interruption, emergency medical transport, and even windshield repair. Read our full review of AAA insurance to learn more about the provider.
#3 Better World Club: Best Green Roadside Assistance
Based out of Oregon, Better World Club is committed to providing great roadside assistance while protecting the planet through its 100% carbon-neutral services. This provider is the only green roadside assistance and car insurance company in the space. Plans are available in all 50 states plus Canada and can even offer protection for bicycles.
Better World Club has proven its advocacy for clean and environmentally friendly transportation through its B Corporation (B Corp) certification. Certified B Corps are recognized as adhering to the highest environmental standards and initiatives of creating a healthier world.
You can choose from two sustainable roadside assistance packages: the Premium Auto plan and the Basic Auto plan. Both plans offer towing, battery jump-starts, flat tire changes, lockout service, winching, trip routing, and additional discounts. Each new member pays a $15 sign-up fee, but this can be waived for new members switching from AAA to Better World Club. If you’re interested in learning more about roadside assistance from this provider, check out its website.
#4 USAA: Best Value
We think USAA car insurance provides great value, and this opinion extends to its roadside assistance program. While the services included are limited, at $14 per year, it is among the cheapest means to get roadside assistance. Even if you only use it once a year, USAA roadside assistance is well worth the premium. Read our USAA insurance review to learn more.
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.
Are Roadside Assistance Plans Worth It?
Have you ever needed a tow, winch, locksmith, or someone to replace your flat? If the answer is yes, then you might find a lot of value in a roadside assistance plan. Even if the answer is no, it might give you peace of mind just to know that the service is there for you.
The best roadside assistance plans help you deal with unexpected situations, especially ones you may encounter during long road trips far from your accustomed surroundings.
Some roadside assistance plans are much cheaper than the cost of a towing or winching service, while others could cost you several hundred dollars. Sometimes, roadside assistance is included in your policy for free, such as if you’re a Costco member and you purchase Costco car insurance. Ultimately, whether roadside assistance is worth it depends on the provider you choose.
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
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.