Your Complete Guide to Roadside Assistance Coverage

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    Dead car battery. Broken alternator belt. Flat tire. Dry gas tanks. The list of potential auto problems is a mile long and never convenient. Owners diligent with their vehicle’s maintenance rarely find themselves unexpectedly stuck on the side of the road, but this doesn’t change the fact that car trouble affects every driver sooner or later.

    Having roadside assistance can be just what stranded drivers and struggling vehicles need. This service shouldn’t be confused with towing, although towing may be part of roadside aid if the situation warrants it.

    Roadside assistance generally provides expert help in getting you and your car/bike/truck back on the road, or at least to the nearest auto shop for necessary repairs. 

    This roadside assistance guide will cover exactly what roadside assistance is, what it does and does not cover, how much it should cost, and where you can get it.

    Understanding Roadside Assistance and Why You Need It 

    Roadside assistance coverage is a package of services that helps you when you’re having auto trouble that’s significant enough to stop you (think flat tire replacement, dead car battery, or keys locked in the car) yet isn’t a significant enough issue that mechanics need to be called. 

    These services can get you and your vehicle out of trouble, whether you’re trapped on the side of the freeway, marooned in a parking lot, or even stuck in your own driveway!

    The experts may try to repair the vehicle and get it moving right away, depending on the nature of the issue(s). This can allow you to drive yourself to an auto repair shop if more complex work is needed. 

    More serious situations – like an overheated engine or faulty alternator – will mean the roadside assistance provider will help you arrange for a tow truck to haul your vehicle somewhere where it can spend time being serviced.

    The cost of a tow truck and car accident recovery can be prohibitive, so don’t presume it’s your first or only way out of a tight spot. The right roadside assistance plan can save you from a significant financial burden during an already stressful event. 

    Let’s discuss what these packages usually cover and what they don’t.

    What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?

    Coverage plans will vary depending on which company is providing them. They will generally pay for the cost (less any deductible) of sending a professional to your location to perform basic services on your vehicle to get it back up and running.

    If you’ve ever cried, “I locked my keys in my car!” you probably wish you’d had roadside assistance. Acting as a vehicle lockout service is one of many functions a roadside team can serve. Here are some other examples of what’s typically provided under these plans:

        • Delivering gas if you run out of fuel.

        • Providing a jumpstart for a dead car battery or providing car battery replacement.

        • Flat tire repair or flat tire replacement, including putting on your own spare. Drivers should remember that not every plan will provide repair and replacement services, only the fitting of an existing spare.

        • Towing your vehicle or car accident recovery if it can’t be quickly repaired and driven.

      These are the most common services covered. Some providers go the extra mile and might offer other benefits like glass repair or travel expenses after breaking down far from home – a perk commonly known as trip interruption coverage. This extra money can pay for food and lodgings until you’re back on track.

      roadside assistance coverage

      What Doesn’t Roadside Coverage Cover?

      A quick car battery replacement or flat tire repair is great; however, your roadside assistance plan won’t cover the cost of any major auto repairs. These plans only help you get back on the road as quickly as possible so you can seek more comprehensive auto repair services later if necessary.

      Roadside assistance coverage is not a replacement for auto insurance because they don’t cover the costs of:

          • Damage to your vehicle or another driver’s.

          • Damage to public or private property.

          • Injuries sustained by yourself or others in an auto accident.

        A good roadside assistance plan is still a sound investment. The cost is truly minimal compared to the expense it can offset when you don’t have one. There’s no “one size fits all” quote for plans, however, so let’s look at the various contributing price factors.

        How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost?

        Roadside service plans can vary significantly in cost depending on which provider you choose and how many eventualities you want to guard against. Some other variables that will affect the total price of a plan are:

            • Limits on how many calls you can make in a year.

            • Whether the provider will pay for fuel costs.

            • Access to additional services like trip interruption, vehicle lockout solutions, or discounted rental car rates.

            • Any mileage limits imposed on how far the plan will pay for a vehicle to be towed if necessary.

          Memberships in roadside assistance plans typically cost anywhere from $50 to $150 annually, and payment can be made all at once or in installments. The AAA service offers a basic coverage plan for only $57 a year.

          A fair price with the drawback that it will only cover towing for seven miles and doesn’t include fuel delivery or a vehicle lockout service. Move up a tier to the $91 AAA Plus® plan, and you can get towed up to 100 miles! 

          Now we have a better idea of the costs, so let’s talk about where to start looking for roadside coverage that’s right for you.

          Where to Buy Roadside Coverage

          You will first want to make sure you don’t already have roadside services available to you. Most insurance providers include basic aid like vehicle lockout or jumpstart battery assistance in your auto policy. 

          You can look at your policy to see what it does and does not offer. If roadside services aren’t covered, or if you want more coverage than your policy provides, there are a few places you can look.

          -Your Auto Insurance Provider

          Even if your insurance policy doesn’t include roadside services, you can likely add them with a little extra cost on your premiums. 

          All the major auto insurance providers like Allstate, Geico, Progressive, USAA, and Farmers offer ways for their customers to include additional roadside coverage in their policies.

          -Your Credit Card Company

          You may be able to get flat-rate roadside assistance from your credit card company. Some organizations currently offering this are Bank of America (for Visa-branded cards), Chase (on all Visa cards), and Capital One (for holders of Visa Signature or Platinum cards).

          -Third-Party Coverage

          Many third parties will happily serve you at a competitive rate if you don’t want to buy these services through your insurance provider or credit card company. The most popular is the previously mentioned AAA. 

          They offer a comprehensive package of services at a reasonable annual cost.

          An AAA will generally be a bit more costly than adding coverage to your auto policy. The silver lining is that this extra expense is offset by a host of other benefits many drivers find worth the price.

          Another possible option among third-party providers is Better World Club. BWC is America’s only green auto club offering roadside assistance services with a commitment to being 100% carbon neutral. You could even (believe it or not) pick up a roadside assistance plan from Verizon!

          Roadside assistance relies on caring attitudes from two parties: the professionals providing it and the drivers themselves. Don’t make the mistake of being careless and treating roadside rescue like something that only happens to other people or that isn’t worth the expense.

          Keys Locked in Car? Dead Car Battery? Flat Tire? You Need a Road Assistance Plan

          Not knowing how much roadside assistance costs can make some drivers wary and dismissive of its benefits. Others may feel sure they can fix any issue that arises. 

          Overconfidence in your repair experience or reluctance to pay for roadside help could land you, your passengers, and other drivers in real trouble.

          Here are some facts to keep in mind that will put the cost of roadside assistance into perspective:

              • Don’t assume your existing skills can solve your next auto issue. Road conditions can be treacherous and unpredictable, turning even the simplest fixes into serious risks.

              • The inability to solve an auto issue quickly and professionally can cause you to be stranded in unfamiliar or dangerous territory for extended periods.

              • Being stalled on or near a road could lead to an accident if you and your vehicle aren’t clearly visible.

            You may never need any car accident recovery – if you’re the luckiest driver ever. The reality is that you very likely will need roadside assistance somewhere down the line.

            Don’t get stranded on the roadside without a plan. Keeping a reputable and reliable auto transport team in your list of contacts can quickly bring a trained and licensed professional to your location so you can drive with greater peace of mind.

            Contact Geyers Towing for Car Accident Recovery, Vehicle Lockout Service, and More! 

            Every driver needs a helping hand from time to time. We hope this guide has helped you understand how to choose a provider and plan that will get you the services you need at the right price. The team at Geyers Towing and Transport is standing by to provide experienced and friendly roadside assistance 24/7.

            We have nearly 30 years of experience helping drivers with everything from car battery replacement and flat tire repair to keys locked in cars and car accident recovery. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you find yourself in a bind!

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