How Much Does It Cost? Roadside Assistance Programs for Drivers

Emergency stop sign

The value of a roadside assistance program goes beyond the direct monetary cost or specific services provided. It involves the peace of mind, convenience, and sense of security that comes with knowing help is just a phone call away in the event of a roadside emergency.

The Cost of Emergency Roadside Service Without a Roadside Service Plan

Without a dedicated plan, the cost of roadside assistance coverage varies widely depending on the type of service needed, the service provider, and local market rates. When seeking assistance without a specific roadside service plan, drivers typically pay for services on a per-incident basis. If you don’t have a roadside service program in place, you may have to pay out of pocket for individual services when emergencies occur.

What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?

Roadside assistance covers a range of services that address common vehicle-related issues that may occur while driving. Here are some general estimates for common roadside assistance services without a plan:

 

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and actual costs may vary based on factors such as the location, time of day, and the specific service provider. Additionally, some providers may offer bundled services or discounts for multiple services requested during the same incident.

An emergency roadside assistance plan provides a convenient solution in emergencies. If you prefer the ease of making a phone call and having professionals handle the situation, it can be worth the investment.

While paying for individual services without a dedicated roadside service plan is an option, many drivers find value in having a roadside assistance plan. Roadside assistance plans typically offer coverage for a range of services at a lower overall cost compared to paying for each service separately.

Additionally, plans provide peace of mind and convenience, especially for frequent travelers or those who want comprehensive coverage for unexpected roadside incidents.

Total Cost of Roadside Assistance Plans

It’s common for roadside assistance plans to be offered on an annual or subscription basis, with prices ranging from around $30 to $100 or more, depending on the level of roadside coverage and additional benefits included. Providers may also offer different tiers of plans with varying features and costs.

Keep in mind that prices may vary based on factors such as geographical location, the provider’s pricing structure, and any promotional discounts or special offers. Always review the terms and conditions of the plan to understand the coverage limits, services included, and any exclusions before making a decision.

How Does Roadside Assistance Work?

Drivers can enroll in a basic plan by becoming a member of an auto club, purchasing a standalone roadside assistance plan, or adding it as optional coverage to their auto insurance policy. Roadside assistance is designed to offer a quick and efficient solution to common vehicle-related issues, providing drivers with the peace of mind that help is available in emergencies.

Roadside Assistance Benefits and Coverage Limits

Roadside assistance options and coverage limits in the United States can vary depending on the provider and the specific plan chosen. However, many roadside assistance plans offer a range of common benefits with certain coverage limits. Here are typical roadside assistance benefits and coverage limits:

Towing Services

  • Benefit: Towing services to transport a disabled vehicle to a repair facility or another specified location.
  • Coverage Limit: The distance covered for towing, often measured in miles. Common limits range from 5 to 100 miles.

Fuel Delivery

  • Benefit: Delivery of a small amount of fuel to the stranded vehicle to reach the nearest gas station.
  • Coverage Limit: The quantity of fuel delivered, often measured in gallons.

Battery Jump Start

  • Benefit: Assistance with jump-starting a vehicle’s dead battery to restart the engine.
  • Coverage Limit: Typically, there is no specific limit on the number of jump-starts allowed within the coverage period.

Mechanical labor

  • Benefit: When a driver experiences a breakdown or mechanical failure on the road, and the issue requires more than basic assistance (such as a jump-start or tire change), mechanical labor might be necessary.
  • Coverage Limit: Roadside assistance plans may have coverage limits on mechanical labor. For example, there may be a maximum number of hours of labor covered or a specific monetary limit for labor costs.
Man working in towing service on road

Other Roadside Services

Lockout Assistance

  • Benefit: Assistance with regaining access to a locked vehicle, often involving the services of a locksmith.
  • Coverage Limit: The number of lockout services allowed within the coverage period.

Battery Replacement

  • Benefit: Replacement of a dead or malfunctioning battery with a new one on-site.
  • Coverage Limit: Some plans may have a limit on the number of battery replacements allowed.

Extrication and Winching

  • Benefit: Assistance with freeing a stuck vehicle, such as in mud, snow, or a ditch, using winching equipment.
  • Coverage Limit: Limits on the time or effort allocated for extrication services.

Emergency Repairs

  • Benefit: Basic on-the-spot repairs for issues that can be fixed temporarily to enable the driver to reach a repair facility.
  • Coverage Limit: Depending on the plan, there may be limits on the types of emergency repairs covered.

Trip Interruption Coverage

  • Benefit: Reimbursement for expenses incurred due to a covered breakdown, such as lodging and meals, when far from home.
  • Coverage Limit: The maximum reimbursement amount for trip interruption expenses.

Common Questions About Roadside Assistance Coverage

Common questions about roadside assistance coverage often revolve around the details of the services provided, coverage limits, and specific scenarios. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can I Get Emergency Roadside Assistance Without Insurance?

Yes, you can typically get emergency roadside assistance without having auto insurance. Many roadside assistance programs and services are offered independently of insurance policies, and you can subscribe to them directly. These services are often provided by auto clubs, service providers, or as standalone packages from various companies.

Here are some common ways to access emergency roadside assistance without insurance:

Money in the hands of a person who counts it against the background of a car accident, an emergency sign and the roadside

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost Without Insurance?

The cost of roadside assistance without insurance can vary depending on the provider, the level of coverage, and any additional features included in the plan. Standalone roadside assistance plans are typically offered on an annual or subscription basis. Here are some general guidelines for the cost of roadside assistance without insurance:

  • Basic Plans: Basic roadside assistance plans, covering services such as towing, jump-starts, flat tire changes, fuel delivery, and lockout assistance, often range from $30 to $60 per year.
  • Mid-Tier Plans: Plans that provide additional benefits, such as trip interruption coverage, higher coverage limits, or discounts on travel services, may cost between $60 and $80 per year.
  • Comprehensive Plans: More comprehensive plans with a broader range of services, extensive coverage limits, and extra perks can range from $80 to $100 or more per year.
  • Pay-Per-Use or On-Demand Services: Some roadside assistance providers offer pay-per-use or on-demand services, allowing users to pay for assistance only when needed. The cost for these services can vary based on the specific assistance required.

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and actual prices may vary based on factors such as the provider’s pricing structure, regional differences, and any promotional discounts or special offers. Additionally, some providers may offer different tiers of plans with varying features and costs.

Do you need roadside assistance coverage?

Roadside assistance coverage can be beneficial for a wide range of drivers and situations. While it’s not mandatory, having roadside assistance can provide peace of mind and practical assistance in various scenarios. Here are some groups of people who may find roadside assistance coverage particularly useful:

  • New Drivers: New or inexperienced drivers may encounter situations like flat tires, dead batteries, or lockouts more frequently. Roadside assistance can be especially helpful during the learning period.
  • Frequent Travelers: Individuals who travel frequently, whether for business or leisure, may find roadside assistance valuable, especially when navigating unfamiliar areas.
  • Commute-Heavy Drivers: Drivers with long daily commutes are at a higher risk of encountering issues on the road. Roadside assistance can offer quick help in case of breakdowns or emergencies.
  • Parents with Young Drivers: Parents of young drivers may appreciate the added security of knowing their teenagers have access to roadside assistance in case of emergencies.
  • Elderly Drivers: Older drivers, who may be more vulnerable to vehicle breakdowns, can benefit from the convenience and safety provided by roadside assistance.
  • Car Owners with Older Vehicles: Older vehicles are more prone to mechanical issues. Roadside assistance can be crucial for owners of older cars to avoid getting stranded.
  • People with No Mechanical Skills: Individuals who are not familiar with basic vehicle maintenance or lack the skills to address common issues may find roadside assistance a reliable solution.
  • Solo Travelers: Drivers who often travel alone, whether for work or leisure, may rely on roadside assistance as a safety net in case of emergencies.
  • Those Without a Spare Tire or Tools: Some modern vehicles may not come equipped with a spare tire or necessary tools for certain repairs. Roadside assistance can fill this gap.
  • People Who Lack Access to Reliable Mechanics: For those without easy access to reliable mechanics or repair shops, roadside assistance can provide an immediate solution to get the vehicle back on the road.

While these groups may find roadside assistance particularly useful, it’s worth noting that anyone can benefit from the convenience and support it offers in unexpected situations. Some roadside assistance plans offer trip interruption benefits, reimbursing you for expenses incurred due to a covered breakdown, such as lodging and meals. This can be valuable during road trips.

Can Roadside Assistance Be Used For Another Vehicle?

Roadside assistance coverage is typically tied to a specific vehicle rather than an individual. In most cases, the coverage extends to the vehicle that is explicitly listed on the roadside assistance plan. However, there are some situations in which roadside assistance may be used for a different vehicle:

  • Named Driver Coverage: Some roadside assistance plans offer coverage based on the named driver rather than the specific vehicle. In such cases, the covered individual can receive assistance regardless of the vehicle they are driving.
  • Family Plans: Family plans may extend coverage to multiple vehicles owned or regularly used by family members. The specific terms and conditions vary between providers, so it’s important to check the details of the plan.
  • Guest Driver Coverage: Some plans may allow coverage for a guest driver using the covered individual’s vehicle. This provision is less common, and coverage limitations may apply.
  • Commercial Coverage: In the case of commercial roadside assistance plans, coverage may extend to a fleet of vehicles owned by a business rather than individual vehicles.

If you have specific questions about using roadside assistance for another vehicle, contact your roadside assistance provider directly. They can provide accurate information based on the terms of your particular plan. Additionally, if you frequently drive different vehicles or have multiple vehicles in your household, consider choosing a plan that offers flexibility and coverage for a range of scenarios.

Are you covered if you're not in your car?

Roadside assistance coverage is typically associated with the vehicle rather than the individual. This means that the coverage applies when the covered vehicle is involved in an eligible roadside emergency, regardless of whether the owner or a different driver is present.

If you’re not in your car at the time of a roadside emergency and the coverage is vehicle-specific, you may need to check if the plan allows for flexibility or consider other options, such as coverage tied to the driver or family plans that cover multiple vehicles.

Are there restrictions on the type of vehicle covered?

Some plans have restrictions based on the type of vehicle. For example, coverage for larger vehicles like RVs or motorcycles may have different limits compared to coverage for standard passenger vehicles.

Will service claims affect your car insurance rates?

Generally, using roadside assistance services itself is unlikely to directly impact your car insurance rates. Roadside assistance services are typically considered separate from your insurance coverage for damages, accidents, or liabilities. Insurance premiums are typically affected by claims related to accidents, damage to your vehicle, or liability issues.

Using emergency roadside services like towing, jump-starts, or tire changes is not likely to impact your premiums. Roadside assistance is not a claim on your auto insurance policy. It is a service provided by a separate roadside assistance provider or through an auto club.

Do You Have to Pay for Roadside Assistance?

The availability and cost of roadside assistance can vary depending on how you access the service. Whether you choose a membership, insurance bundle, standalone plan, or another option, there is typically a cost associated with accessing roadside assistance services. However, some car manufacturers offer free roadside assistance for new cars.

Is Roadside Assistance Worth It?

Whether you should purchase roadside assistance or not depends on various factors, including your driving habits, the age and reliability of your vehicle, and your ability to handle common roadside issues. If you frequently travel long distances, have a lengthy daily commute, or embark on road trips, the likelihood of encountering a roadside emergency increases. A roadside assistance program can provide peace of mind in such situations. Older vehicles or those with a history of mechanical issues may also benefit more from roadside assistance. Newer and more reliable cars may experience fewer breakdowns.

Where to Get a Roadside Assistance Plan

  • Credit card company
  • Car manufacturer
  • Car insurance company
  • AAA and other member organizations

Get Roadside Assistance Whenever You Need It

Many insurance companies offer roadside plans tailored to your specific needs as a driver. CTI specializes in a diverse range of insurance policies. Get a truck insurance quote from our TRS-certified agents and gain access to curated policies that match your requirements at competitive rates. We collaborate with over 30 insurance providers to help you secure the best possible deals in commercial trucking insurance.