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Best Roadside Assistance for 2016

Find the best cheap roadside assistance

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Best Roadside Assistance Plans

The best roadside assistance will be there for you when you are stranded on the side of the road. The best plans will also provide other benefits, to protect you from whatever life might throw your way, on the road or off.

One of the best roadside assistance programs reports getting around 30 million calls for help annually. I've looked closely at which companies offer the best roadside assistance plans.

What do the best roadside assistance companies have that others don't? Emergency roadside assistance should combine operational dexterity with superior customer service. The best plans have a network of professional agents to help you with whatever trouble you come across on the road. My top picks offer the most comprehensive service with lots of practical benefits at affordable prices.

Best Roadside Assistance 101

Before you pick a roadside assistance plan, it helps to know what roadside service is and what it can offer you. Roadside assistance is synonymous with "emergency roadside repair" and "vehicle breakdown coverage." If your car overheats, runs out of gas or gets a flat tire, someone will come to help you if you have a roadside assistance plan.

An emergency roadside assistance plan can offer individual coverage or business coverage. Often, a roadside service plan for a business or commercial use is more comprehensive than a plan targeted at individuals. People who drive for their business, such as delivery drivers or taxi drivers, often need more coverage than average drivers like you and me.

Whether you choose an individual plan or a commercial plan, a few of the most basic features you can expect from an emergency roadside service program include:

  • Free towing up to a certain distance. Many plans will tow your car to a gas station or mechanic's garage within 75 miles of the breakdown spot.
  • Service available across the US and in Canada, in some cases.
  • A limited number of service calls answered each year, after which an additional charge applies.
  • 24/7 client service.
  • Full range of services, including jumpstart, flat tire, flat tire change and limited fuel delivery.
  • Help in lock-out and lost key situations.

Essential Services Offered by the Best Roadside Assistance Plans

Choosing the best roadside assistance company is important. Each provider has its own pros and cons. Don't pick the first roadside assistance provider that you see. Many of the best roadside assistance providers offer similar features and services.

Here are some essential features to look out for:

1. 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.

2. 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. Some companies will tow further distances than others, so that is another thing to look out for. A good company provides you with a lift.

3. Lockout

If you lose your keys or lock them in the car, the best roadside assistance will help you get back in. You shouldn't have to pay extra for the help of a locksmith. The service should come with your breakdown insurance plan.

4. Fuel Delivery

A good gas station can be hard to find, especially if you're in unfamiliar territory. If you've ever worried about running out of gas or had it happen to you, it's not a scenario you want to repeat. Roadside assistance providers are 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.

5. 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 on 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 in the middle of the night. You need help whenever and wherever you are.

6. Discounts

The best roadside assistance plans don't just help you on the road. They also help you save money in your everyday life. If you have a roadside plan, you can get discounts at certain repair shops, hotels, car rentals and other transit options. Some museums offer a discount to people with certain roadside service plans.

5 Features of the Best Roadside Assistance Companies

It's not only the services offered by a roadside assistance company that matter. How each company offers those services is also important. I've found that the following features set the best roadside service companies apart from the rest.

1. Response time

You'll want a service that is known for its timely help. Most services should come to your aid, quickly. Find out what the average wait for service is. You don't want to be left out in the cold, rain or heat, waiting for help to arrive.

2. Location of service

Most service providers will cover you all across the continental US. Some also provide coverage in Canada, the Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico. Make sure you know where you are covered before planning any road trips. You don't want to get caught with a broken down car out of your service range.

3. Ease of account management

A good roadside assistance provider should provide online account access. You should be able to change membership plans and get more information about your account online. There should be some online features such as mobile apps or even printable maps to help you plan a road trip.

4. Overseas coverage

Yes, some roadside assistance plans 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.

5. Helpful customer service

The best roadside assistance plans have a customer service team standing by, 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 help you out.

The Best Roadside Assistance

AutoVantage Roadside Assistance Review

  • Pros
  • Only $1 in the first month
  • Monthly pricing with no annual commitment
  • Everyone in your household is covered
  • Ability to trace call location in order to find you quickly
  • Lockout assistance for both car and home
  • Cons
  • Reports of long wait times in certain areas

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 is able to provide a quick response, thanks to their LocateMe technology. Locate Me triangulates your position based on your phone call, so that help can 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 much farther than other services. The company is fairly competitively priced for the service it offers, at $69.99 per year.

AllState Motorclub Roadside Assistance Review

  • Pros
  • On time grantee
  • Competitive subscription price
  • Helpful mobile app
  • Add family members to your plan
  • Trip interruption coverage
  • Cons
  • Only $100 benefit for basic plan

The Allstate Motorclub offers affordable service with plenty of excellent features, with their 24/7 roadside assistance service being the most notable. They provide you with everything you need, including lockout services and towing. 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 easily. 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 and you.

Good Sam Roadside Assistance Review

  • Pros
  • Very competitive pricing
  • Special coverage for RVs
  • Unlimited distance towing
  • Rewards offered if your vehicle is stolen
  • Discounts at AAMCO
  • Cons
  • Slightly out of date website

Good Sam offers roadside assistance for pretty much anything you can think of. The company specializes in RV coverage and offers the best RV roadside assistance plan. . It also offers a comprehensive plan for regular family vehicles.

The 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 distance and you have to pay to go beyond that point. Good Sam members also get access to large discounts on lodging and repair services.

AAA Roadside Assistance Review

  • Pros
  • Large network of agents across the US
  • Excellent customer service
  • Help desk is available 24/7
  • Manage your account online
  • Sign up is easy, and the website is easy to navigate
  • Cons
  • AAA agents may be slow during peak times

The American Automobile Association, or AAA, is one of the most well-known and best roadside assistance companies out there. The company covers you not only for roadside assistance but also offers services like auto maintenance advice and battery replacement.

AAA provides information on gas prices, automotive news, and auto buying. It offers a selection of exclusive "AAA approved auto repair" shops as well. 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.

With AAA, you get the convenience and reliability of online account management, as well as additional resources on their site to further your education.

Better World Club Roadside Assistance Review

  • Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Eco-friendly focused company
  • Offers bike, RV and fleet coverage
  • Two plan choices
  • Cons
  • New membership fees
  • Additional fees for Motorcycles and RVs

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 for renewing your yearly membership. Better World Club aims to make the world a better place and they do so with great roadside assistance.

Why the Best Roadside Assistance Plans Need to be Available 24/7

You need a 24-hour insurance plan. Why? You never know when something can go wrong on the road.

In fact, emergency roadside assistance becomes even more important if you're driving late at night and end up with a flat or engine trouble. Finding an open service station at 3 am can be difficult. With breakdown coverage, the help comes to you, no matter what time of day it is.

There are two cases when having 24-hour roadside coverage becomes particularly important. If your job requires a lot of long distance travel, you want to make sure emergency help is there when you need it. Many companies that expect their employees to drive a lot for work pay the car breakdown insurance premiums, so you don't have to worry about it unless you own the business.

If you're on the road a lot for any other reason, 24/7 roadside service is also a must. The more you drive, the higher the risk of having some sort of breakdown or car trouble.

If you are concerned about the cost of roadside service, it helps to think of it this way. The repair costs for even one roadside intervention are often much higher the annual premium charged for roadside assistance. The peace of mind that comes with knowing someone's got your back on the road also makes the price of premiums worth it.

Advice for Finding Cheap Roadside Assistance

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.

Best Roadside Assistance 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 or may not want. 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 best roadside assistance provider treats you like a person, not a customer. It is there to provide you with the help you need, when you need it, and it provides the services you need to take care of your vehicle. Although you have to pay an annual fee for roadside assistance, I think it's a small price to pay for the services you get.

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

While roadside assistance can help you out in a pinch, remember that it's no replacement for the best car insurance. If should you need need to purchase a new part for your car after a breakdown or accident, check out my reviews of the best auto parts stores.

Best Roadside Assistance FAQs

What is covered with roadside insurance?

When you're out on the road and you experience automotive trouble having roadside assistance can feel like a heaven-sent service. Depending on the policy you purchase roadside assistance may include a jump, a tow, help fixing a flat tire, or lockout service. AAA, for examples, offers three types of roadside assistance packages: classic, plus, and premium. AAA classic comes with up to four 5-mile tows, emergency starting, battery, and flat tire service plus a vehicle locksmith service. Their varying tiers of service depending on what your budget allows for. For a few more dollars you can get additional towing, free gas and additional extrication/winching services.

What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance is a service which includes everything from towing to tire replacement. It's your go-to service when you experience an automotive emergency and are left stranded with no other options. The major roadside insurance providers (AAA, State Farm, AARP, Geico, National Automobile Club) have highly rated customer service departments, multi-policy discounts, and fairly competitive rates. The most common benefits include:

  • towing

  • emergency starting

  • battery service

  • flat tire service

  • vehicle locksmith service

  • extrication/winching service

  • fuel delivery

  • 24/7 customer support

For states with colder climates extrication/winching is essential. If your automobile becomes stuck as the result of snow, hail, or any other meteorological condition, a roadside assistant agent will help you reach a safe road surface. To get a quotes simply visit one of their websites and enter in your vehicle's information or contact a customer service representative via phone.

What services do roadside assistance services plans typically cover?

The typical services offered by most plans include some or all of the following: car towing service up to a certain number of miles; ditch extraction service if you get stuck; delivering gas to you if you are driving and get stranded because your tank is empty; jumpstart a dead battery; unlock your car if you accidentally lock your keys inside or replace a flat tire with your spare.

Do most roadside service providers offer a variety of plans to choose from?

Yes, most providers will offer at least two different levels of service. The major difference you will usually see between the plans are the length of distance of towing service that the plan will cover as well as trip interruption coverage. Trip interruption coverage means the plan will reimburse your expenses up to a certain amount for alternate transportation, lodging and meals when you're stranded a certain number of miles from your home.

Where is the service available geographically?

Some service providers only cover certain geographical ranges, meaning if you live in Detroit and break down on a road trip to Los Angeles, you could be out of luck. Don't get caught broken down out of your services range. In addition, some roadside assistance plans even cover you while traveling abroad.

Does your current auto insurance policy offer roadside assistance or does your current auto insurer offer the availability to add that as a feature to your current policy?

Check what coverage is available with your current insurance provider. Don't buy something you already have. You may find that you can get the same coverage a separate standalone roadside assistance policy might offer you for less by adding that as a feature to your current auto insurance policy versus buying a separate standalone roadside service plan.

What services are offered by the specific plans you are considering?

It's the middle of summer and your car dies. It turns out your battery is completely fried and needs replacing. Meanwhile, you have an important meeting in 20 minutes. The outcome of this situation could depend on your plan and provider. If a roadside assistance provider is willing to send out a towing company to jump your car, but the towing company does not have the capability to both sell you a new battery and install it on the spot, then you're likely going to miss your meeting. If the roadside service provider has contracted with towing companies or has its own trucks with batteries available for sale on them, then you make the meeting.

Is there a limit on how many roadside assistance visits you can have?

Each provider likely will offer you a differing number of roadside visits depending on the plan. Some limit it according to the service that you need, i.e. your car jumped vs. unlocking your car if you locked your keys in your car whereas others may limit it to a flat number of roadside assistance visits no matter the reason for the visit.

Can you get assistance 24-7?

Virtually every plan will cover you no matter the time of day or night that you are stranded on the side of the road.

Am I responsible for finding the towing company or does the roadside service plan provider do that for me?

One of the biggest differences between the better providers and some companies that offer roadside service plans is a better plan provider will automatically dispatch someone they already have under contract whereas other plan providers might require you to find the towing company and contact themselves-all from the side of the road.

Can I get a plan that covers multiple vehicles?

Most plans cover every vehicle that you own, so services are available no matter what car you are driving if you become stranded. Some plan providers even offer plans that will cover your recreational vehicle in addition to your cars.

Are there additional benefits that may go along with your roadside service plan?

You have likely seen the AAA sign at just about every major theme park, attraction, and even at many restaurants. One consideration in considering when it comes to roadside service plans is that, although you are required to purchase a membership to get a roadside service plan from a provider, substantial savings on hotels, entrance to theme parks, etc. may also be included in that membership price.

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11 Comments

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This was so helpful. I created a check list of things I was looking for until I found one that suited my needs

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Just like every other "service provider" in this country anymore, everyone out-sources and sub-contracts and no one knows (or cares) who is responsible when things go sideways. The buck stops nowhere any more. Customer service today consists of learning to repeat the phrase "we're sorry for the inconvenience."

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@Peter not everyone has a smartphone

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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" ... honkforhelp 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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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.