Most roadside assistance plans offer all the services you might need – from towing and tire changes to fluid deliveries, jump-starts, and lockout support. However, providers and plans can vary quite a bit in the quantity or limitations of those services, the extra perks or benefits, and the specific features to suit your scenario. It’s best to choose a plan, first and foremost, that offers the services you’re most concerned about for the vehicle type(s) you’re hoping to cover.
While most roadside assistance companies offer nationwide services, some have better regional representation in certain areas or have a better process for handling rural calls, breakdowns in remote areas, or challenging weather. Further, some providers offer a wide mileage radius for tow services, and others have only short-distance towing availability. Read reviews from people in your area, or in the areas you frequently travel, to get a better idea of which provider will handle your needs the best.
Choose a roadside assistance company that communicates the way you prefer. If you like to make an old-fashioned phone call and talk to a real person, make sure this is available through your provider. However, if you prefer a digital, one-touch, or app-based experience, you’ll need to choose a roadside assistance provider for the modern age. More companies are moving in this direction.
Be aware of what type of coverage you have and how many small fees you might accrue if you go beyond the limitations of your plan. For example, some plans only cover a certain number of towing miles, and then you’re paying by the mile to get your car the rest of the way to the auto shop.“There are two types of products in roadside assistance. There’s a typical subscription model like AAA and others, where insurance companies or individuals pay out a monthly subscription based on the individual. There’s also the pay-per-event model, where individuals pay only when they need roadside assistance,” describes Marcus Newbury, COO and co-founder of Driver Technologies.
To determine the best option and price range for you, consider your main needs and travel ranges as well as your budget.
“Some programs are priced as low as $1 per month, which is a cost-saving option, but they can be incredibly limiting in their services, such as the number of gas fills, tows, or how far the provider can tow your vehicle to your nearest repair shop,” says Newbury.
All of the roadside assistance providers in this list offer 24/7 service and should be able to answer your call at any time. However, for a variety of reasons, your roadside assistance provider may not be able to physically reach you in under 30 minutes. Delays happen because of inclement weather, high volume of calls, or the logistics of where you’re located and what you’ll need. While patience may be necessary no matter what, you can read reviews and do your due diligence to find a company with quicker response times. It’s wise to choose a provider that has high regional presence in the areas you like to travel.