Roadside assistance is great to have because you don’t have to pay out of pocket in case you have a flat tire, you are locked out of your car, or if your car breaks down. AAA is one of the well-known names when it comes to roadside assistance services. When you buy a AAA membership, you also get other perks such as discounts at hotels and auto repair shops, travel planning resources, car buying services, and several other benefits. But AAA membership is expensive and has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. Most people do not need all the bells and whistles that come with membership.
Roadside assistance typically covers
- Changing flat tire
- Fuel delivery services/electric charging
- Locksmith services
- Jump starts in case your battery goes down
Where can you buy roadside assistance services?
You can buy roadside assistance through any of the following providers.
- Membership in organizations (such as AAA, Better World Club, etc.)
- Insurance companies
- Credit card companies
- Cell phone providers
- Car manufacturers and tire companies
Alternatives to AAA Roadside Assistance
Better World Club
Better World Club offers nationwide roadside assistance at competitive prices. In addition to cars, its services cover bicycles. Better World Club will match AAA’s prices. The club’s roadside assistance services are 100% carbon neutral. The club donates to several environmental causes and advocates sustainable transportation policy.
Good Sam provides roadside assistance for cars and RVs. While Good Sam provides roadside assistance for all vehicles, it specializes in providing assistance to RVs. While other providers have limitations on the number of miles your vehicle will be towed, Good Sam offers unlimited towing to the nearest service center. Another perk with Good Sam is that household members are covered for free. Good Sam offers three tiers of service – Standard, Platinum, and Platinum Complete. You can check out the prices here. Good Sam offers its members discounts at AAMCO transmission centers.
Travelers offers optional roadside assistance coverage for its insurance customers. Travelers offers two tiers of roadside assistance – basic and premier. Premier roadside assistance provides 100 miles of towing while basic roadside assistance only provides 15 miles of coverage. The Premier plan also provides trip insurance coverage and personal property coverage.
Progressive insurance customers can add optional roadside assistance coverage. Progressive roadside assistance is provided by Agero, a well-known company that works with dealers, insurance providers, and motor clubs. If you have auto insurance through Progressive, you easily add roadside assistance services to your policy.
Allstate offers two options to buy roadside assistance – as an add-on to the auto insurance policy and a subscription plan (Allstate Motor Club) which does not require purchasing insurance from Allstate. Allstate also offers pay-per-use roadside services irrespective of insurance provider.
Allstate offers two plans – Roadside Advantage and Roadside Elite. Both plans offer towing services, jump starts, fuel delivery, lockout service, tire change, and trip insurance. The Elite plan offers towing up $250 per tow (Advantage plan towing is $150 value per tow), 5 rescues per year (vs 3 for Advantage plan), and RV coverage.
If you don’t want to sign up for an annual contract, Roadside Dispatch can be a good option. You only pay for the service calls you make. It costs about $70 per service call. Service is available throughout the US. The number of services offered is limited compared to AAA but it covers towing, changing tires, winching, fuel delivery, battery jumping and lockout service.
What to look for when buying roadside assistance
- How much does the plan cost?
- Is the cost one time or do you have to pay every time you use the service?
- Is there an additional cost to add family members?
How many times a year you can use the service?
How many times you can use roadside assistance per year varies by plan. Some plans offer service 3 times, others offer more. Choose a plan based on how old your car is and your service needs.
How long can you tow the car?
Some plans will tow your car for 10 to 15 miles while others will tow for 100 miles. Choose a plan that fits your needs.
Is it an insurance claim? (When buying roadside assistance coverage from the insurance company
Every call you make to get roadside assistance is considered a claim by the insurance company. But not all claims raise premiums. In general, roadside assistance does not increase auto insurance premiums. But there are exceptions. It’s best to keep insurance and roadside assistance separate if possible.