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Last updated: March 22, 2023

Guide to Roadside Assistance

You’re stuck on the side of the road. What now?

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With the costs of car insurance, gasoline, and vehicle maintenance, the last thing you want to do is add another recurring expense for your car. But if you’re stranded on the side of the road and need a tow, tire change, or battery jump start, you’ll be glad you invested in roadside assistance. And the good news is that with most companies, you can get away with paying less than $10 a month for this service. Learn more with our roadside assistance guide.

What Is Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance is a service that will help you if you or your car needs emergency assistance due to a vehicle breakdown. Different plans cover different issues, but here’s what you can expect in general.

What It Covers

Roadside assistance will cover these costs:

  • Death benefits
  • Emergency car rental
  • Extrication
  • Flat tire replacement
  • Fuel delivery
  • Hospital benefits
  • Jump starts
  • Lockouts
  • Lodging, meals, and transportation if you get stuck while away from home
  • Medical transportation
  • A tow truck service call so you can get your car to the nearest repair shop
  • Winching

Why You Need Roadside Assistance

You need roadside assistance because, without it, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for expensive services such as towing and lockouts. These services could cost you hundreds of dollars, versus the roughly $100 you’d spend on a roadside assistance program yearly, if not less.

Take the cost of towing, for example, which varies based on distance.

  • 5 miles or fewer: $35 to $125
  • 40 miles: $125 to $275
  • 100 miles: $600 maximum1

It’s better to pay $100 a year for roadside assistance than to risk having to pay $600 if you need a tow a long way from home (not to mention the cost to stay in hotels, for which some roadside assistance programs reimburse you).

J.D. Power also looked at the costs of car locksmiths, which don’t come cheap either.

  • Door unlocking: $70 to $150
  • Car rekeying: $50 to $100
  • Car door lock replacement: $300 to $600
  • Rekeyed ignition: $100
  • Multiple key copies: $30 to $50

Those expenses could be covered if you had roadside assistance.

Roadside assistance is also a necessity for teen drivers or anyone who lacks driving experience. It will give you peace of mind to know that when your loved ones are on the road, they can easily get the help they may need with just one phone call and little expense.

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost?

On average, roadside assistance costs between $5 and $9 a month. More expensive plans from companies like GEICO cost $14 a month, but keep in mind that these plans tend to cover more vehicles and people.

Company Minimum cost per month Maximum cost per month
AAA $5 $10
AARP (Allstate) $6 $11
Allstate Roadside $8 $14
AT&T $3 $3
Better World Club $5 $8
Erie $0 $0
GEICO $14 $14
Good Sam $4 $7
Motorcycle Towing Services $3 $15


Senior drivers can take advantage of a 20 percent discount on Allstate Roadside.2

How to Find the Best Roadside Assistance Programs

While you’re exploring roadside assistance options, pricing isn’t the only factor you should consider. Also take into account the following aspects of the program:

  • How often you can use the service: Most roadside assistance programs place limits on how many times you can use the service per year.
  • The calling process: If a roadside assistance program isn’t easily reachable by a toll-free phone number, it won’t do much good when you’re locked out of your car on a freezing night.
  • How long it takes to arrive: Use websites such as Trustpilot to see how fast the provider usually arrives.
  • Which vehicles it covers: If you’re part of a family, make sure your roadside assistance plan applies to everyone and their respective vehicles.
  • Where the plan provides coverage: Some plans cover you only when you’re near home, while others provide coverage within a certain radius. If you plan to take a road trip, make sure roadside assistance will be available throughout your journey.
  • Towing distance: Most companies impose a maximum distance for which they will reimburse you for towing; you’ll be responsible for funding anything beyond that distance.
  • Cancellation policy: The program should be easy to cancel, and the company should provide a prorated refund based on your cancellation date.
  • Complaints with the Better Business Bureau: Check the Better Business Bureau’s website for both the company rating and the customer rating. Avoid providers with customer ratings of three stars or lower.
  • Discounts/specials: A seasonal discount could make one program cheaper than another. Make sure you’re signing up at an optimal time to save money.


As of February 2023, roadside assistance plans from Good Sam are 50 percent off both for RVs and regular passenger vehicles.3


While roadside assistance plans are certainly helpful when you have a flat tire, they shouldn’t be your go-to for all situations. For example, if you caused an accident with extensive injuries or property damage, you should call 911 first, not your roadside assistance provider.


Roadside assistance isn’t available for all situations, so you may end up paying out of pocket for emergency services in times like these:

  • Your car breaks down outside your service area.
  • Your car needs major repairs.
  • You need fuel delivery (you have to pay for the cost of the fuel itself).
  • Your lockout is more expensive than your limit.
  • You have a towing trip that’s longer than your maximum distance.

Roadside Assistance vs. Car Insurance

Roadside assistance and car insurance are not the same. However, many auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an add-on to their insurance policies. Sometimes, these programs are included for free; other times, they cost an additional small monthly fee.

Are You Already Covered?

Check your car insurance policy or ask your auto insurance agent about your coverage. The following companies provide roadside assistance as add-ons to their car insurance policies:

  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Erie
  • Farmers
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers

Typically, it’s cheaper to buy roadside assistance with your car insurance provider than to buy a separate policy, so ask your agent about your options before you search the marketplace.

Another thing to note is that some credit card companies (like Visa, Mastercard, and Chase) provide roadside assistance coverage, including free towing; help with dead batteries, flat tires, and vehicle brakes; and trip interruption reimbursement. Before you sign up for another program, make sure you don’t already have this coverage through your credit card.


Want more roadside assistance options? Check out our list of the best roadside assistance programs you’ve never heard of. Or, keep reading our frequently asked questions below to learn even more about roadside assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between AAA Basic and Plus?

These are the main differences between the AAA Basic and Plus plans:

  • Cost: The Basic plan costs $4.62 a month, while the Plus plan costs $7.38 a month, as of February 2023.
  • Towing: Plus includes towing up to 100 miles, while Basic caps it at 3 miles.
  • Cost of fuel delivery: Only the Plus plan includes fuel and delivery for free.
  • Vehicle lockout service reimbursement: While the Basic plan covers lockout services up to $50, it’s double that amount with the Plus plan.
  • Passport photos and foreign travel books: Only the Plus plan includes one free set of passport photos and foreign travel books.
  • Truck extrication/winching: The Plus plan will provide a second truck for extrication and winching, if need be.

Who is a competitor of AAA?

Some competitors of AAA include these companies:

  • Allstate
  • Better World Club
  • Blink
  • Good Sam
  • Motorcycle Towing Services
  • State Farm

How do I use Verizon roadside assistance?

  1. Request help online via or call either 7623 from your enrolled phone or 1-87-ROADSIDE from a non-enrolled phone. 
  2. Provide your vehicle make, model, and color, along with your nearest major crossroad or street. 
  3. You’ll receive a text message confirming your services needed, an estimated time of arrival, the name of the company providing the services, and the company’s phone number.

What is the AAA roadside assistance number?

The AAA roadside assistance number is 1-800-222-4357.


  1. How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Car? J.D. Power. (2021, Mar 8).


  3. Roadside Assistance. Good Sam. (2023).