Today’s cars are as reliable as ever, but there are still many ways to get stranded with your vehicle. In addition to a potential mechanical breakdown, you can have a car battery die, a tire blow out or a set of keys go missing. Fortunately, roadside assistance plans are available to reduce the inconvenience and expense of mishaps such as these. Here's a look at how the best roadside assistance insurance plans stack up.

In this article

Who offers roadside assistance insurance?

Roadside assistance insurance comes in many forms. Your choices include membership clubs, car insurance add-ons and coverage from a cell phone or credit card provider.

In addition to tows, most roadside assistance insurance plans cover jump-starts, replacing a flat tire with your vehicle’s spare and delivering fuel to your location if you run out of gas.

Most can get you get back into your vehicle after a lockout, and some cover the cost of having locksmith produce a replacement for a lost key.

Some plans also include battery replacement, which covers the costs of delivering and installing a new battery, but not the price of the battery itself.

The average price of a typical tow is $109, according to J.D. Power, and if you need a longer tow or additional roadside assistance services, your costs may be considerably higher.

Roadside assistance insurance can spare you from large, unexpected expenses in the event of a breakdown, not to mention the hassle of trying to find a mechanic, towing company or locksmith in an unfamiliar location.

Roadside assistance insurance plans at a glance
Company/plans Monthly cost Coverage highlights Call and tow limits
AAA: Classic, Plus and Premium $7 to $17 Jump-starts, battery replacement, tire changes, fuel delivery, lockouts and locksmith labor Four calls, 5/100/200-mile tow limits
Allstate Motor Club: Advantage and Elite $9 to $15 Jump starts, fuel delivery and roadway hazard and lockouts Five to 10 calls, 10- to 100-mile tow limits
Better World: Basic and Premium $5 to $10 Jump-starts, flat-tire changes, fuel delivery and lockouts Four calls, 5- to 100-mile tow limits
GEICO $2 to $5 per vehicle Jump starts, tire changes, lockout services No call limits, tows to nearest repair facility
Good Sam: Platinum, Platinum Plus and Platinum Complete $8 to $15 Tire changes, lockouts, jump-starts, battery replacement and fuel delivery No stated call limits, Plus and Complete: tows to nearest repair facility
Nationwide: Basic and Plus $2 to $5 per vehicle Tire changes, fuel delivery, jump-starts and locksmith labor No call limits, 15- and 100-mile tow limits
Progressive $2 to $5 per vehicle Jump-starts, fuel delivery, battery charges for electric vehicles No call limits, tows up to 15 miles
State Farm $2 to $5 per vehicle Jump-starts, fuel delivery, tire changes and locksmith labor No call limits, tows to nearest repair facility
USAA $2 to $5 per vehicle Jump-starts, field delivery, tire changes and lockouts No stated call limits, tows to nearest facility
Verizon $5 Battery charges, fuel delivery, flat-tire replacement Four calls per year, 10-mile tow limit

Best membership clubs for roadside assistance

AAA Plus and Better World Premium are among the best roadside assistance membership club plans. Both provide ample towing limits and cover you in any car, including when you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.

Allstate Motor Club and Good Sam only cover you in your own car, but these clubs have the best rates for family plans.

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American Automobile Association (AAA)

AAA’s specific membership terms vary by state, but membership generally covers you in any car, including rentals, borrowed cars and as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. You have to buy associate memberships, which cost $4 to $6 a month per person, to get coverage for others in your family.

The five-mile towing radius that comes with a Classic AAA membership is usually enough to get you off the side of a highway, but not much farther. Ponying up for a Plus or Premier membership gives you longer towing limits.

Splurging on a Premier membership also gets you up to $1,500 in trip interruption coverage.

A typical trip interruption plan covers unexpected travel costs, such as food and lodging, that arise after a car accident more than 100 miles from your home. AAA’s trip interruption benefit also applies to vehicle breakdowns, natural disasters and unexpected illnesses or injuries.

Best if: You want a convenient roadside assistance plan that covers you in any car, whether you are driving or a passenger in someone else’s car.

Allstate Motor Club

You don’t have to purchase car insurance from Allstate to subscribe to the company’s roadside assistance membership program, which is offered in Advantage and Elite tiers.

Both plans offer road hazard coverage, which pays to replace a tire damaged by certain causes. Both plans also include trip interruption coverage for unexpected travel expenses resulting from a car accident more than 100 miles from your home.

Adding others to your plan costs less than a $1 a month per person.

Best if: You want basic roadside assistance and towing services for you and household family members in your own cars.

Better World

Better World is sort of like an eco-friendly version of AAA. The certified B Corporation donates 1% of gross annual revenue to environmental cleanup and advocacy and traces its roots to political disputes with AAA over clean air and mass transit.

A Better World Basic Auto plan covers tows of up to five miles, while a Premium Auto plan covers tows of up to 100 miles. Both plans also cover jump-starts, flat-tire changes, lockout services and fuel delivery.

A hybrid or electric vehicle gets you a 10% membership discount.

Better World’s trip interruption benefit also only kicks in after a car accident more than 100 miles away from your home.

As is the case with AAA, your membership covers you in any car, and you have to purchase associate memberships, which cost $3 to $5 a month per person, to cover family members.

Best if: You want the convenience of having roadside assistance in any car and prefer companies that support environmental causes.

Good Sam

Good Sam’s roadside assistance memberships, which are separate from its discount programs for campsites and gas stations, cover you, your spouse or domestic partner and dependent children under age 25.

A Good Sam Platinum Auto plan does not cover tows, but it does cover other roadside services, such as flat-tire replacement, lockout services, battery replacement and fuel delivery in cars you own.

A Platinum Plus Auto membership expands your coverage to leased, rented and borrowed cars.

Platinum Plus Auto and Platinum Complete Auto plans cover tows to the nearest qualified repair facility. Both also provide up to $1,000 in trip interruption coverage, but only for car accidents more than 100 miles from your home.

New members can get a 50% discount on enrollment for up to three years.

Best if: You want basic roadside assistance coverage for you and your family and don’t mind short towing limits.

How do insurance company roadside assistance plans work?

Most car insurance companies offer basic towing and roadside assistance coverage as an optional policy add-on at prices ranging from about $10 to $25 per six-month policy term, or $20 to $50 a year.

Some companies only allow you to add roadside assistance coverage if you also have collision coverage and/or comprehensive coverage on your policy.

Insurance company roadside assistance plans typically cover limited-distance tows, jump-starts, fuel delivery and auto lockout services.

Most insurance company roadside assistance plans pay the service provider directly, as long as you request assistance through the insurance company’s dedicated phone number, website or smartphone app.

However, since some insurance companies require you to pay for service upfront and file a claim for reimbursement, make sure to read the fine print.

If you have multiple cars on your policy, you can add the coverage to as many or as few cars as you want. Since the coverage applies to one or more specific cars on your policy, it won’t cover you in a rented or borrowed vehicle, or while you are a passenger in someone else’s car.

Best if: You want inexpensive roadside assistance for a covered vehicle only.

Roadside assistance from credit card and cell phone providers

As an alternative to memberships and insurance company plans, roadside assistance is also available from some cell phone companies and credit card providers.

Cell phone company roadside assistance

Among leading cell phone carriers, Verizon has the most robust roadside assistance program, available as an add-on service to a wireless subscription.

T-Mobile gives customers a free one-year AAA membership, while AT&T no longer offers roadside assistance.

Roadside assistance from credit card providers

Although the basic coverage available on most credit cards issued by American Express, MasterCard and Visa is not true roadside assistance insurance, these programs can protect you from big bills by limiting the rates their service providers charge.

When you request roadside assistance through the issuer’s roadside service line, the service provider sent to your location charges a flat fee for basic services. Visa’s rate for its Roadside Dispatch services is $80 per call, which is comparable to other issuers’ prices.

The services that qualify for the flat fee typically include:

  • Tows of up to five miles
  • Flat tire replacement with your spare
  • Jump-starts
  • Lockout service
  • Fuel delivery

What should I look for in roadside assistance insurance?

In addition to an affordable price, it’s generally best to choose a roadside assistance insurance plan that offers ample towing limits and covers locksmith services.

Towing limits

At minimum, your plan should cover the cost of towing your vehicle to the nearest qualified repair shop, which may be more than five miles away from your breakdown location.

If you want your car towed to a specific shop, such as one specializing in your car’s make, you may have to cover the portion of the tow that exceeds your service plan’s limit.

According to J.D. Power, the average price of a tow ranges from $1.25 to $7 per mile. Based on these estimates, having your car towed 30 miles beyond your service plan’s limit could cost you up to $210.

Lockouts and locksmiths

It’s also important to understand the difference between lockout services and locksmith services.

Lockout services typically only cover the costs of retrieving your keys from the inside of a locked vehicle, which may not require a professional locksmith.

Locksmith services typically cover the costs of hiring a licensed locksmith to replace a lost or stolen key with a duplicate. This may require the locksmith to program the chip inside a replacement key head or fob to get it to work for your vehicle.

It's also important to know that certain luxury car brands have fobs or smart keys that can only be replaced by an authorized dealer. If your car’s key or fob can’t be programmed by a locksmith, you may have to have your car towed to a dealership

Frequently asked questions

The cost of roadside assistance plans range from more than $100 a year for a full-service membership to as little as $20 a year for add-on coverage to car insurance.

A Plus membership from AAA is the best overall roadside assistance service, because it covers tows of up to 100 miles and up to $100 in locksmith fees. State Farm has the best roadside assistance coverage among insurance companies. Verizon is tops among cell phone providers.

A typical roadside assistance plan covers tows on a limited basis, jump-starts, fuel delivery, retrieving keys locked inside your vehicle and replacing a flat tire with your vehicle’s spare. A few companies also cover locksmith services and can deliver and install a new battery, provided you pay for the battery itself.


The information contained in this article is based on product descriptions shared by providers on their respective websites. The benefit details we have included about each plan are not exhaustive. All prices and services are subject to additional restrictions and subject to change at the discretion of each provider. LLC has made every effort to ensure that the information on this site is correct, but we cannot guarantee that it is free of inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. All content and services provided on or through this site are provided "as is" and "as available" for use. LLC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of this site or to the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. You expressly agree that your use of this site is at your sole risk.