Roadside Assistance

Multiple roadside assistance plans are available numerous sources. Read valuable information about roadside assistance options available for you today.

Breaking down while driving is at best inconvenient and at worst, devastating. Fortunately, roadside assistance services are available to help you through such challenging situations. Many drivers overlook purchasing roadside assistance plans because they feel they do not need them. This feeling disappears quickly after a vehicle breaks down and leaves you stranded with no options for assistance, however. Multiple options for roadside assistance plans are available from a wide variety of sources. Read ahead for valuable information about roadside assistance options available for you today.

Roadside Assistance 101

Roadside assistance is generally explainable as an essential service many drivers overlook until they suddenly find themselves stranded by the roadside without it. Saving money is always important. Many consumers feel roadside assistance is a luxury purchase and therefore choose to not buy it. Frugality is wise, but it comes in many forms. For example, you might save money by avoiding nominal monthly or annual fees for roadside assistance plans - but how much will it cost you to have your car towed out-of-pocket after an unexpected breakdown far from home? How much will it cost you if you end up stranded for an extra day (or multiple days) and must miss work? These questions and many more like them are worth thorough consideration, especially if you are a frequent traveler or heavy commuter.

What It Is

Roadside assistance, sometimes also referred to as breakdown coverage, is a service designed to get you the assistance you need fast in the event your vehicle breaks down mid-travels. Roadside assistance plans are available through your automobile insurance company, through certain credit card accounts and through specialize automobile and roadside assistance membership clubs. When you experience a breakdown you either make a call or use an app to report your situation. Your service will contact you and begin the process of providing the assistance you need.

How It Works

Once you contact your roadside assistance service you might have to wait a nominal period of time for a return-call or message. The goal is always to provide assistance as quickly as possible. Sometimes other drivers are broken down in your area simultaneously, which occasionally ties up provider resources. Once contacted you will be asked about your breakdown and associated problems. Sometimes your service provider will attempt to solve your problem(s) over the phone. Other times a roadside assistance service technician will be sent to your location as soon as possible. If attempts to help you over the phone fail, a roadside assistance service technician will of course also be sent to your location.

Services Provided

Roadside assistance plans provide many services. Basic services include jumpstarting your car battery or replacing your battery as applicable. Tire changes, fluid replacements (including gasoline) and locksmith services are also common. If your vehicle is broken down due to serious mechanical of physical failure or damages, tow-truck services are provided. Most roadside assistance plans have mileage limits pursuant to towing services. For example, the price you pay for your assistance plan might include up to 100 miles of towing. After your allotted miles are exceeded, you might have to pay out-of-pocket to the tow-truck service provider or to your roadside assistance provider (if it initially covers the excess towing costs on your behalf).

Why It’s Important

When you experience a vehicle breakdown, the best-case scenario is you become inconvenienced for a brief period of time. The worst-case scenarios, however, involve the possibility of becoming stranded in inclement weather or on the side (or middle) of dangerous roadways. Breakdowns not covered by roadside assistance also leave you susceptible to high non-reimbursable, out-of-pocket expenses. Essentially, roadside assistance serves as additional insurance when the unexpected or worst roadside incidents occur. 

How Do You Know You Need Roadside Assistance?

More than sixty-nine million automobile breakdowns happen in the U.S. every single year. This means approximately 33.3% of drivers will experience a breakdown at some point every twelve months. Roadside assistance costs might seem superfluous to you until you consider those statistics. You essentially have a 33.3% chance of experiencing a breakdown each year you drive your vehicle. How much is your peace of mind worth to you while driving? This is an important question to answer, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road, and even more so if you spend a lot of time driving with your family.

Even if you have a family at home with whom you do not frequently travel, the fact remains they need you. Roadside assistance plans help get you home safely and faster. Do you frequently drive alone at night? Do you live in a mountainous area full of dangerous roadways and potential large animal crossings? Is the region where you live prone to experiencing severe weather? Roadside assistance is also a viable option for drivers operating older vehicles. If you know you are a good candidate for a roadside assistance plan, the next step is learning where to get it.

Where to Get Roadside Assistance Plans

Roadside assistance is available from multiple types of providers. The most common way to obtain roadside assistance is through your automobile insurance company. Vehicle manufacturers sell vehicles with certain types of warranties. Some warranties include roadside assistance options, while other do not. Extended warranties are also sold by automobile manufacturers, which add additional coverage options for additional charges. Automobile membership clubs such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National General Motors Club are trusted, reliable and popular sources for roadside assistance plans today. If you are a senior citizen, you might also qualify for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) roadside assistance program as well.

Finally, credit card companies also offer roadside assistance plans. These companies all have different plans, perks and pricing depending on a wide variety of factors. This is true for all roadside assistance plans, in fact. Your location, company policies, vehicle type and types of coverage requirements all impact the price you pay for roadside assistance each month or year. Because each company has its own pricing plans, it is challenging to pinpoint an exact price to expect. Still, it is reasonable to expect to pay somewhere between $35 and $150+ per month for roadside assistance plans depending on your provider and needs. A few of the best insurance companies and credit card providers offering roadside assistance plans today include: