Auto Insurance With Roadside Assistance Coverage

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Roadside assistance coverage is there to help drivers who experience breakdowns on the side of the road. Nearly every insurance company offers this “add-on” to car insurance policies.

Roadside assistance coverage works like this – insurance companies employ a network of roadside assistance businesses to help policyholders who get “stuck” on the side of the road. If you experience a breakdown and need assistance, you can call up your insurer’s roadside assistance number and they will dispatch someone to come help you.

Insurance companies offer this service for a small annual fee. Most roadside assistance options include battery jumpstart, towing, and fuel replacement. Continue reading below to learn more about roadside assistance coverage and whether or not it’s right for you.

Auto Insurance with Roadside Assistance

Situations In Which Roadside Assistance Can Help

Roadside assistance is there to get your vehicle moving again (without taking it to a repair shop) if it stalls on the side of the road. These are common scenarios in which your auto insurance company’s roadside insurance coverage can help you out:

Emergency Jumpstarts

If your battery dies, roadside assistance can deploy somebody to you to help jumpstart your battery or even replace your battery with a new one. This service can be especially useful for people who frequently leave their lights running or drive an older vehicle.

Flat Tires

If you do not know how to replace a flat tire or you do not have a spare, roadside assistance can do it for you. Even if you do know how to replace it yourself, it’s oftentimes more convenient and safer to have roadside assistance do it for you. Imagine if you are driving alone at night during a snowstorm when you get a flat. Pulling over to the side of the road and getting out of your car to replace the tire would be extremely dangerous.

Fuel Delivery

If you run out of gas while driving, roadside assistance can actually come and deliver fuel to you. Unfortunately, they will not come and fill up your tank for you on the spot. Usually, they will just give you enough fuel so you can make it to the nearest gas station.

Lockout/Locksmith Service

If you get locked out of your car, roadside assistance can help. A lockout service will first try to gain entry to your vehicle by using a wedge, a “Slim Jim”, or a reach tool. If they cannot help, a more expensive locksmith will be deployed who can pick the lock (in older vehicles) or reprogram the key.

Extrication/Winching Service

If your vehicle gets stuck in a ditch, the snow, or any place it can’t get out of, roadside assistance can use their tools to try and dislodge the vehicle.

Towing Coverage

If roadside assistance fails to get your vehicle up and running again, they will tow your vehicle to the closest in-network repair shop. It can also help tow your vehicle to your home or to your preferred mechanic, but that might cost you extra.

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Who Should Get Roadside Assistance Coverage?

Roadside assistance provides you with the peace of mind knowing that there is always somebody to help you out if your car breaks down on the side of the road. If the extra peace of mind is not enough for you, you should really still consider adding roadside assistance coverage to your current policy if one or more of the following conditions are met:

  1. You Drive An Older Vehicle – Old cars break down more often than new cars do. Newer cars drive smoother and have fewer issues. Sometimes, they even have complimentary roadside coverage from their manufacturer’s warranty. Old cars, however, seem to experience one issue after the next. If you drive an older car, roadside assistance coverage might be a wise investment.
  2. You Drive Long Distances – If your daily commute is lengthy, you might consider getting roadside assistance coverage, especially one with towing benefits. Being stuck far away from home in a broken-down car is not fun.
  3. You Know Nothing About Car Repair – If you have no clue how to fix or maintain a vehicle, roadside assistance coverage is a must. Instead of having to locate a local mechanic or towing service every time your vehicle experiences the slightest issue, you can simply rely on your insurance company’s roadside assistance. Not only is it convenient, but it’s also cost beneficial.

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Coverage Cost?

The cost of roadside assistance coverage all depends on the amount of coverage you purchase and which auto insurance company you use. In most cases, however, roadside assistance plans pay for themselves after just one use. For example, GEICO charges $14 per year for roadside assistance coverage. In comparison, one tow, alone, can cost over $200. Below, let’s compare some roadside assistance plans from major American insurance carriers.

Roadside Assistance Plans By Insurer

    Cost: $14 per year, per car.
    Includes: Emergency Jumpstart Services, Towing (to the closest service station), Vehicle Lockout (up to $100), Flat Tire Service.
  • USAA
    Cost: Depends
    Includes: Emergency Jumpstart Services, Towing, Emergency Fuel Services, Vehicle Lockout, Flat Tire Service.
  • Progressive
    Cost: $10-$18 per policy period
    Includes: Emergency Jumpstart Services, Towing (15-mile radius), Emergency Fuel Services, Vehicle Lockout, Flat Tire Service, Extrication/Winching Service, One Hour of Labor/Mechanical Repair.
  • State Farm
    Cost: $5-7 per policy period
    Includes: Emergency Jumpstart Services, Towing, Emergency Fuel Services, Vehicle Lockout, Flat Tire Service.
  • AARP
    Cost: $58-74 per year
    Includes: Emergency Jumpstart Services, Towing, Emergency Fuel Services, Vehicle Lockout, Flat Tire Service, Extrication/Winching Service, Labor/Mechanical Repair.

Final Word On Roadside Assistance Coverage

Before purchasing roadside assistance coverage through your auto insurance provider, first, check to make sure that you do not already have roadside assistance coverage through another outlet. Many credit cards, such as American Express, offer free roadside assistance to all cardholders. Additionally, if you are a AAA member, it should go without saying that you probably already have adequate roadside assistance coverage. As mentioned above, new vehicles still under their manufacturer’s warranty might have roadside assistance coverage included.

Roadside assistance coverage, regardless of how you get it, can be a very useful type of insurance. It can offer you peace of mind, convenience, and can even save you money. It’s an invaluable service, especially to those who drive an older vehicle or have long commutes. If you think roadside assistance coverage is right for you, please call your insurance provider today to see which plans they offer.

Additional Information

  • Consumer Reports – Roadside assistance program warnings
  • Edmunds – Warranty and roadside assistance coverage

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