Do You Need Roadside Assistance Coverage?

If you ask yourself, "do you need roadside assistance coverage insurance," there are a few things you should consider. Many car insurance companies have roadside assistance plans that are available as an additional coverage. Roadside assistance in car insurance is just an added coverage like rental car reimbursement or comprehensive coverage. Often roadside assistance is available from your insurer for just a few dollars more per month. Unfortunately, if you use roadside assistance a lot, roadside assistance does count as a claim on your policy which can make your rates go up. You can avoid this by getting roadside assistance plans through credit cards or clubs that are separate from your auto insurance provider.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Sara Routhier, Director of Outreach and Managing Editor of Features, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overw...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach

UPDATED: Nov 24, 2020

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Before you go any farther in this article, ask yourself one important question: what if you were driving down the road tomorrow on your way to work, and your tire blew out? What would you do?

Do you have a spare in your trunk? Do you know how to change a tire yourself? Would you get in trouble for being late to work if you had to change your tire, or wait for your vehicle to get towed?

Would you have the money to tow your vehicle to a shop and pay for a new tire? In other words, how much would a common roadside incident, like a flat tire or an empty gas tank, disrupt your normal life?

With roadside assistance coverage on your policy, you won't have to worry about spending too much time or money taking care of such a situation.

And for most car insurance policies, adding roadside assistance coverage only cost an extra few dollars.

But there are some pitfalls to roadside assistance as an auto insurance coverage option that you may want to be aware of before you sign up. And we will explain them to you now.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare insurance rates now!


Auto Insurance Companies Offering Roadside AssistanceLegend: Texas Florida California Liberty MutualThe GeneralAllstate 306090120150180210240270300330360$131$188$274$365$344Doesn't Offer$186$296$339

What to Expect from Your Roadside Assistance Coverage

If for whatever reason, your car is suddenly rendered undrivable while you are on the road, you will likely require roadside assistance services in order to get it up and running again.

Many auto insurance policies come with a fairly comprehensive list of roadside assistance services, such as:

  • Towing services
  • Jump-starting your car battery
  • Flat tire change (if you already have a spare)
  • Lockout/locksmith services
  • Fuel delivery
  • Winching/extraction

Keep in mind that some of these services have a limited range and number of uses per policy term.

With Progressive, for example, your towing benefits are limited to an approved repair facility within 15 miles of the point from which you tow the vehicle, or the nearest acceptable facility if it happens to be beyond 15 miles.

Furthermore, other companies may put a limit on how many times you can, for example, call for a battery jump start.

If you exceed that maximum number, they may force you to pay for the service out of pocket or treat it as a claim against your policy and up your rates on the next renewal.

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Who Does (and Who Doesn't) Need Roadside Assistance?

For starters, there are alternatives to purchasing the roadside assistance coverage option offered by your car insurance company.

You could potentially get these services from an auto club, one of your credit card companies, or the dealership that your vehicle comes from.

But if the roadside assistance options offered by your automotive insurer are more attractive than alternate options, you should still keep the following factors in mind before you make a final decision:

  • Older vehicles benefit more from roadside assistance coverage. Newer vehicles usually don't require this type of coverage because either a) they are much less likely to break down, or b) many dealerships offer complimentary roadside assistance at no cost to you for purchasing a brand new vehicle from them. But once the warranty on your vehicle expires with your dealership, you might want to think about taking on a little roadside assistance with your policy.
  • The price of roadside assistance coverage costs significantly less than calling for a private service, even if you only use it once a year. For something as simple as locking your keys in your car, you can end up paying upwards of $75 to $100 or more. And the more often it happens, the more costly it will get. On the other hand, companies like Progressive charge about $15 a year for roadside assistance coverage - that's less than $2 a month.
  • How far you travel can determine whether or not you need roadside assistance. People who frequently travel long distances or who often commute far away for work may benefit more from a roadside assistance package than those without. If you're on the open road, far from home, and one of your tires blows out, it may be extremely difficult for you to handle the situation on your own. But if you have the opportunity to take advantage of roadside assistance from your insurance company, all it takes is a phone call (or the tap of a button on your insurance company's phone app) to get the help you need.

Hopefully, some of the scenarios above can give you a better idea of what sort of benefits you could get from a roadside assistance package on your policy.

What If My Car Insurance Company Doesn't Offer Roadside Assistance?

While most major auto insurance providers do, in fact, offer roadside assistance, there are some smaller entities out there who either don't or can't provide such coverage.

Obviously, you will need to get in touch with your insurance company and ask them if roadside assistance is available for your policy.

You should also ask them specifics about what their roadside assistance package includes; unfortunately, these optional coverages are not uniform across all providers.

Your insurance company has the freedom to decide which options they can offer, and the limitations of them.

Furthermore, auto insurance companies aren't the only source of roadside assistance. Some credit card companies, especially if you have exceptionally good credit, offer roadside assistance as a bonus perk to their valued customers.

You can also purchase roadside assistance from the auto club, like AAA.

These organizations specialize in not only roadside assistance, but offering people discounts on hotels, restaurants, goods, and services that you would need on a road trip, or deals on things that have nothing to do with travel (but most people would like a discount on anyway).

Although most auto club memberships are significantly more expensive than roadside assistance from your insurer, many drivers feel that the goods, services, and discounts they get in exchange are well worth the money.

Monthly Premiums by Credit ScoreLegend: Excellent Credi Good Credit Poor Credit MetLifeElephantThe GeneralEncompass 255075100125150175200225250275300325350375400425450$127$136$179$139$162$195$356$365$472$251$285$445

 

If you think you might benefit from roadside assistance, then you'll also have to take into consideration which company can give you the best options for your money.

Sometimes, that company will also give you a better rate on your auto insurance policy overall; other providers, however, may have the roadside assistance package you need but not the best price.

How can you find out which one is which? By comparing rates right now, of course! Use our FREE tool now!

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