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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- On time grantee
- Competitive subscription price
- Helpful mobile app
- Add family members to your plan
- Trip interruption coverage
- 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
- Very competitive pricing
- Special coverage for RVs
- Unlimited distance towing
- Rewards offered if your vehicle is stolen
- Discounts at AAMCO
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Competitive pricing
- Eco-friendly focused company
- Offers bike, RV and fleet coverage
- Two plan choices
- 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.
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.