Roadside service plans are the kind of insurance you need when you are stranded somewhere on the I-95, between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, when it is twelve o'clock on a chilly winter night, and no other vehicle is in sight, or, you know, any similar situation. It is in extreme situations like this one that you see the importance of roadside assistance, or "breakdown coverage," as it is also known in the industry.

Road assistance companies provide much-needed help in various risk events like fire, accident, vehicle immobilization on the highway, or any other situation that happens to millions of American drivers. They even offer plenty of benefits and rewards when signing up, such as discounts on car rentals, lodging reservations, and many more.

The top five roadside assistance companies combine operational dexterity with superior customer service and a network of professional agents to help you with whatever trouble you come across on the road. These five offer the most comprehensive service with lots of practical benefits at affordable prices.

Roadside Assistance: The Essentials

Choosing the right roadside assistance company is important. Providers come with their own pros and cons. As a result, you shouldn't pick the first roadside assistance provider that leaps to mind. Choosing the right provider depends on a few different items; here are some essential features to have:

  • Annual Fee - One of the first things to know about is the price. If you're getting good coverage, you want to know how much it will cost. Is the cost worth the amount of services the company provides? It helps to compare with other plans and other providers to see what services you will get as a paying member. There are plans that offer everything from cheap yearly coverage with plenty of features to expensive plans with the bare minimum. It is important to do your research in finding out which plan is worth the value.
  • 24/7 Coverage - If your car breaks down in the middle of the night, you want to know that someone will be arriving shortly to help out. You never know when an accident could occur, so it is best to have a service that can help you out whenever you need it.
  • Towing - If your car breaks down, you're going to need someone to tow it for you to a service station or wherever you need it to be. Towing is a necessity when it comes to roadside assistance. If you find a company that can't tow you or tow you where you need to go, then don't bother with them. A good company provides you with a lift.
  • Lockout - If you lose your keys or lock them in the car, shouldn't your roadside assistance help you get back in? Why pay extra for a locksmith to open your car for you. A good roadside assistance provider will get you back in your car.
  • Fuel Delivery - Ever worry about getting lost and not knowing where to find gas? Or have you ever had your car break down because you ran out? A good provider will be on hand to deliver fuel at your exact location. You don't want to wander down a dark strip of highway late at night to try and find some gas. You deserve a provider that will help you out of this jam.
  • Flat Tire - Let's face it. Flat tires happen. Some of us know how to fix them, some don't. As part of your membership, you need someone who can help you put a spare or deliver you a spare when you need one. You don't want to have to fix your car in a strange part of town at an odd hour of night. You need help whenever and wherever you are.
  • Discounts - For signing up with a roadside assistance provider, you should be entitled to some discounts when it comes to using certain repair shops, getting lodging, or renting a car. After all, sometimes accidents happen. You may need some emergency car service or hotel when you least expect. As part of your membership you deserve to save money on the things you may need.
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Other Things to Consider

Check what coverage is available with your current insurance provider. Many insurance companies may already provide you with a roadside assistance plan. You could be entitled to a great provider and plenty of good services as part of your insurance policy. Your family may be covered as well. Don't buy something you already have. Check to see if your insurance provides you with this kind of coverage.

What is their reputation for quick response time? You'll want a service that is known for its timely help. Most services should provide you with fast service. There may be some, however, that are not necessarily the speediest. Find out what the average wait for service is. You don't want to be left out in the cold, waiting for help to arrive.

Where is the service available? Most service providers will cover you all across the continental US. Some will even cover you in Canada, the Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico. Make sure you know where you are covered before planning that road trip. Don't get caught broken down out of your services range.

Can you manage your account quickly and easily? Are there online features? A good roadside assistance provider should have access to an online account where you can change membership plans and get more information about your account. There should be some online features such as mobile apps or even printable maps to help you plan a road trip. A good provider should have a good website to boot.

Is there overseas coverage? Yes, some even follow you abroad. You may be covered farther than you know. Renting a vehicle overseas can be stressful so it is good to know whether or not you are covered in case something should happen. You never know where and when you'll need help/

Is their customer service team responsive and helpful? You should also have access to customer service 24/7. In case of an accident, you want to know what your options are and what important details you need about your account. You also need service that is genuinely helpful. If you're in a pickle, you want a company that will get you out and make you feel like your rights are considered. A good provider will also provide you with good customer service.

Getting reliable service from a reputable provider is important, especially when the consequences can leave you stranded. In our research for the best roadside assistance, the providers delivering the greatest value were AllState Motorclub, Good Sam andAutoVantage. Read through our articles on roadside assistance for more information in this area.

Meet the Best Roadside Assistance Providers

With more and more drivers on the road each year, there are plenty of roadside assistance providers to choose from. As a result, many online companies have started to provide services to anyone with any kind of vehicle.

We've reviewed the industry to see which companies stand out. Here's an introduction to some of our favorites:

AutoVantage

AutoVantage is a quality roadside assistance service that offers 24/7 roadside services including basics such as lockouts and towing. Their family coverage includes everyone that lives in your household no matter what vehicle. Roadside service involves quick responses with their Locate Me technology, which is able to triangulate your position based on your phone call in order to find you quickly when you need assistance. AutoVantage offers lockout assistance if you're locked out of your car or home. They also cover towing for up to 150 miles, which is a pretty long distance when compared to other services. The company is fairly competitively priced for the service it offers at $69.99 per year.

Allstate Motorclub

The Allstate Motorclub offers affordable service with plenty of excellent features, with their 24/7 roadside assistance being the most notable. They provide you with everything you need including lockout services and towing. Aside from this you can also get plenty of useful services such as trip interruption coverage and arrest bond certificates. Allstate also has a very helpful mobile app with GPS function to help dispatchers locate you with ease. They also provide coverage for different kinds of vehicles and cover multiple members of the household. Overall, they are a great choice when it comes to taking care of your car.

Good Sam Club

Good Sam offers roadside assistance for pretty much anything you can think of. The company specializes in RV coverage and has several RV plans to choose from. However, they also have a comprehensive plan for regular family vehicles. Their Good Sam Platinum+ plan covers all household vehicles you own (which means any non-commercial vehicles like cars, SUVs and minivans). They also automatically cover you, your spouse and your dependent children under your plan. One great feature is their unlimited distance towing policy, which will cover the total towing cost to the nearest service facility. Other top companies only cover towing up to a certain amount and you have to pay the rest. Members also get access to get large discounts on lodging and repair.

AAA

The American Automobile Association, or AAA, is one of the best known roadside assistance companies out there. The company covers you not only for roadside assistance but also services like auto maintenance advice, battery replacement, and provides information on gas prices, automotive news, auto buying, and a selection of exclusive repair shops dubbed "AAA approved auto repair" shops. AAA has an extensive network of agents across the country with first-rate customer service. They've kept their economic standing over the years and have made the necessary changes to improve customer satisfaction. You have the convenience and reliability of online account management as well as additional resources on their site to further your education.

Better World Club

The Better World Club offers roadside assistance geared towards green living and eco-friendly practices. They offer roadside service for your car, your bicycle and even your company's fleet of vehicles. As part of the fleet vehicle coverage, your employees will be taken care of if they get into an accident on the road. They provide plenty of services in case you should get a flat, need a jumpstart, or need directions to where you are going. They even offer a rewards program for referring new members or renewing your yearly membership. These can be very useful in the right situation. Better World Club aims to make the world a better place and they do so with great roadside assistance.

Roadside Assistance Advice

Before you make your final decision as to which roadside assistance provider is best for you, take a look at our advice section to become well-versed in the industry. Take a deeper look at topics like coverage options, buying advice and roadside insurance basics.

Roadside Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

If you need to get acquainted with the basics of roadside assistance, take a look at our handy FAQ section. Before you begin shopping for your ideal roadside assistance provider, make sure you know the fundamentals.

Recap

Every now and then, car insurance companies like to rewrite the rules of emergency road service, introducing new fees and services that drivers may want or reject. But if you choose one of the best roadside assistance programs, you won't have to worry about your auto insurance tricking you when it comes to emergency road service. A good provider treats you like a person, not a customer. They are there to provide you with the help you need when you need it, with the services you may need to take care of your vehicle. The annual fee you pay for roadside assistance is minimal and worth it, believe me.

Things to look for when you comparison shop for breakdown coverage include the annual fee required, the variety of services offered, and the towing or mechanical help that is often provided when the vehicle is disabled. With so many providers to choose from, you can rest assured that there is one that will cater to your specific needs.

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What Others Have to Say

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Lots of complaints We have Good Sams can't complain. We just lost our Motorhome to a fire so I was looking for a different roadside program but think we might just stay where we are. We've had them tow our car, rv and our daughters car was always great and never saw a bill.

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I have all you complainers beat. I have AAA Plus and have for 15 years. Last night I didn't notice my low fuel warning until too late. 10 miles outside of the last city and 8 mileus from the next gas station. After 2 HOURS they still hadn't located anyone who would work for their miserable pay schedule that would come and bring me gas. Finally, after 2 and 1/2 hours they find someone who will TOW me to a gas station, BECAUSE THEY PAY MORE FOR TOWING THEN FOR BRINGING GAS. Unbelievable nightmare.

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I don't know why people these days bother with buying memberships. There's "an app for that" ... www.honkforhelp.com. From all reports WAAYYYY faster than the membership services. I've downloaded and looked at the app and there's no hidden costs or anything, it's just like ordering a cab through Uber where it's all done through your smartphone so you trust the arrival times they give you.

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@Susan Samantha That had nothing to do with State Farm. Like every single other roadside plan, it's up to the individual tow companies to get there is a reasonable time. State farm has zero control on how long it takes.

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State Farm is the worst. Called at 1:30 pm. They said 45 minutes. Nice Sunday sunny day. No traffic. No problem right? Two hours later still waiting for just to unlock my car. The attendant lied about where he was.

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Today I was driving my 9 year old to school when a emergency state farm tow truck was driving along the side of the road on 480 west bound. All of a sudden he pulling into my lane without using turning signal. Forcing me in to the next lane. All of sudden he pulls up next to me, acting as he a state trooper yelling at me. I try to explain to him his mistake . Going into a lane without using his blinker. He the one that came into traffic without looking. I was in the right of way. He came into me. He had the choice to wait or cause an accident he choice to to pull out. Would I cancel my insurance, no. Just get more experience drivers that are willing to help stranded drivers and are aware of their surroundings.

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I use Verizon's roadside assistance which is Allstate. They charged me for a tow I did not receive, never checked to see if the tow truck even arrived, and now say that it'll be a week before I get my money back. Their reps were polite but totally unhelpful-not that the rep can change policy. One of them slipped up and revealed that they were Allstate or I never would have discovered that-I asked the next person to see if they'd tell me and they tried the "no, we're Verizon" until I told them they were busted so they're liars too. Others may have had a good experience but as I had no money for groceries on Christmas Eve, the 58.31 they charged for towing was most of my 65.00 budget, I am not satisfied.

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I have State Farm Roadside Assistance. I called them at 8am this morning because my daughter lost her car keys. She has a 12:30pm college class. They are the WORST roadside assistance I have ever had! It took them 2 and 1/2 hours just to find someone who could come and make a key, which would take another 2 to 3 hours. On top of that, I would have to pay $50 to $100 out of pocket after my insurance paid their part. I am dropping my roadside assistance with State Farm. I know there are better services available to me in an emergency.

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@Peter not everyone has a smartphone

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