What is roadside assistance coverage, and do you need it?

Woman looking under the hood of her car while broken down on the side of the roadImage: Woman looking under the hood of her car while broken down on the side of the road
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Roadside assistance coverage is like a trusted friend who’s always there to help you out of a jam.

If your car breaks down or you run out of gas, roadside assistance can make it less of a hassle — and it’s typically available around the clock. Many insurers, carmakers and auto clubs offer roadside assistance, so understanding the costs and services you’ll get in return is key to making a good choice.

What does roadside assistance cover?

Roadside assistance plans typically offer a broad range of coverage for things like …

  • Battery jump-starts or flat tire changes
  • Towing to the nearest repair facility if your vehicle disabled
  • Locksmith services if you lock yourself out of your car or lose your keys
  • Fuel if you run out of gas

Coverage may vary from one plan to the next, so you’ll want to check details carefully before buying.

What happens if I break down and I don’t have roadside assistance?

Towing a car after a breakdown can be pricey. A breakdown without roadside assistance can also be a big inconvenience.

You may need help finding a service provider and getting the aid you need. Having roadside assistance coverage simplifies things — you’ll know exactly who to call if you’re stuck.

How you can get roadside assistance coverage

Many auto insurers can provide this as part of a policy or standalone serve, but you can also get roadside coverage from auto clubs and some carmakers.

Auto insurers that offer roadside assistance

Here are some auto insurers to consider for roadside assistance coverage. 


Allstate offers various roadside plans through three programs.

  • Membership — Membership plans start for as little as $89 for the first year. Allstate offers this as a standalone plan. You don’t need to be an Allstate customer to purchase this coverage.
  • Pay-per-use — Allstate also offers pay-per-use coverage. With this plan, you’re only charged if you need service, and the fee varies based on the service provided. The cost for a tow starts at $154. Again, Allstate sells this coverage as a standalone product, so you don’t have to purchase any other insurance products to qualify.
  • Insurance add-on coverage — This coverage is for those who already get car insurance from Allstate. It allows you to add roadside assistance to your current Allstate policy for as little as $25 per vehicle.

Allstate’s 24-hour coverage includes tow service, jump starts, fuel delivery, lockout service and tire changes.


Nationwide offers roadside assistance as an add-on to one of the company’s car insurance policies. The company sells the following two plans:

  • Basic — This plan covers towing up to 15 miles, battery jump starts up to $100, lockout service and flat tire replacement with your spare. It also covers ditch extraction and fuel delivery although some restrictions apply.
  • Plus — This plan builds on the Basic plan, adding towing for up to 100 miles. It also includes trip interruption coverage that reimburses you up to $500 for lodging, transportation and meal expenses if you get stranded 100 miles or more from home.


Progressive offers roadside assistance as additional coverage you can include with your policy.

Services include vehicle towing (within 15 miles or to the nearest station), jump starts, fuel delivery, vehicle lockouts and flat tire changes. The company also offers winching service, which can assist if you’re stuck in mud, water, snow or sand within 100 feet of a road or highway.

Progressive works with a service provider called Agero to provide roadside assistance.

Car manufacturers that offer roadside assistance

These car manufacturers offer complimentary roadside assistance when you make a vehicle purchase.


Honda offers free roadside assistance on new vehicle purchases. The program extends through the automaker’s 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Honda’s program began in the 2015 model year, and it covers winching, jump starts, fuel delivery, lockout and flat tires. It also covers towing caused by a mechanical breakdown or an accident.


Every new Toyota vehicle purchased comes with free roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. The plan covers battery jump starts, lockouts, fuel delivery, tire service, towing and winching.


Ford offers roadside assistance that is complimentary for some purchasers and available to all purchasers for a fee. The coverage extends for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. It includes fuel assistance, lockouts, towing, and tire and battery assistance.  

Auto clubs that offer roadside assistance

Roadside assistance is one benefit of some auto club memberships. The clubs listed below offer this service.


AAA was founded over 100 years ago, and membership includes roadside assistance. Towing, winching, jump starts, battery replacement, tire assistance, fuel delivery, lockouts, battery testing and minor auto repairs are part of the package. AAA membership plans start at $59.99 annually, and different membership levels are available. AAA auto insurance plans are also available.

Better World

Better World is unique in that it offers roadside assistance for cars and bicycles. Its car plans cover towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, lockouts, fuel delivery, winching and trip interruption. A basic auto plan with a towing range of five miles costs $61.95, and an upgraded plan with a towing range of 100 miles costs $99.95. Hybrid and electric cars may be eligible for discounts.

Good Sam

Good Sam offers roadside assistance for cars and RVs. Coverage includes tire service, battery jump-starts and recharging. Trip interruption assistance, lockouts, emergency medical assistance and emergency fuel delivery are also part of the plan. Different membership levels are offered, with plans starting at $49.95.

FAQs about roadside assistance coverage

What company is best for roadside assistance?

Choosing a company for roadside assistance isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Research each company and select based on your budget and the services provided.

How much is the best AAA membership?

The AAA membership with the best benefits starts at $119.99 per year. It includes 200 miles of standard towing.

Does using roadside assistance increase my premium?

Infrequent use of roadside assistance typically won’t affect your car insurance premium. But repeated service calls within a relatively short period may cause your rate to increase.

Next steps

Figure out which roadside assistance services are most valuable to you. Then, use your selections to evaluate and choose providers, and price-shop to get the best deal.

About the author: Warren Clarke is a writer whose work has been published by Edmunds.com and the New York Daily News. He enjoys providing readers with information that can make their lives happier and more expansive. Warren holds a Bac… Read more.