Roadside assistance is a service for stranded drivers that usually covers towing, locksmith services, battery changes, jump-starts, tire changes, and the delivery of fuel or oil. The best roadside assistance plans are from Better World Club, Nationwide, and Travelers because they cover a lot at a low price.
2021’s Best Roadside Assistance Companies
Most roadside assistance plans are available for a flat fee every month or year. In addition to standard coverage options, some roadside assistance plans offer especially high towing limits and cover winching needed to get your car out of mud, sand, or snow. More expensive plans generally offer added perks as well, like hotel discounts and trip interruption insurance.
Roadside assistance can come from your car insurance company, your cell phone provider, or a standalone provider like an auto club. Additionally, many auto manufacturers provide free roadside assistance for new cars.
Best Roadside Assistance Companies
1. Better World Club
Better World Club is the best roadside assistance company because of its above-average coverage options, relatively low price, and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Better World Club’s plans are on the cheaper side for auto clubs, in particular, and its website says the company will match AAA’s prices.
For those who aren’t familiar, Better World Club is a subscription-based service that markets itself as the only eco-friendly auto club. The club advertises its bicycle roadside assistance, carbon-neutral fleet, and donations to environmental charities, among other initiatives.
Travelers offers the best roadside assistance from a car insurance company, as drivers can choose between two inexpensive plans. Both the basic coverage plan and the premier package include winching, which is rarely available from a car insurance company’s roadside assistance. Additionally, the premier option provides up to 100 miles of towing, trip interruption coverage and personal property coverage.
Nationwide provides stellar roadside assistance for a car insurance company and offers the choice of two plans, basic and plus. The basic plan alone provides above-average service, since it includes ditch extraction. And the plus plan is a good choice for long-distance drivers, because it offers towing for up to 100 miles as well as trip interruption reimbursement up to $500 if you’re stranded farther away than they will tow.
Progressive offers one inexpensive roadside assistance program. In addition to standard services like towing and fuel delivery, Progressive covers winching your car out of snow, sand, mud, or water, up to 100 feet from a road or highway. So Progressive is a great choice for those who tend to drive in hazardous weather or on roads in poor condition.
Allstate provides the most flexibility of any roadside assistance provider. Drivers can buy roadside assistance as an add-on to an Allstate policy or purchase a subscription plan regardless of their insurer. Plus, any driver can use Allstate’s mobile app to access pay-per-use roadside assistance, regardless of insurer.
Adding roadside assistance to an Allstate policy or getting pay-per-use service will cover you for the usual needs, including lockouts and tire changes. But for drivers who want the benefits of an auto club, an Allstate Motor Club subscription provides additional discounts and perks, such as trip interruption coverage.
Farmers provides an inexpensive and relatively basic policy, though it does include winching if your car is stuck within 10 feet of a public, paved road. Farmers received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, too.
Ultimately, it is a reliable option for drivers who want only the essentials covered and who do not plan on long road trips.
7. Good Sam
Good Sam is an auto club that offers a variety of plans for different vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, RVs, and trailers. The basic Good Sam plan provides towing to the nearest service center, regardless of mileage. Members can also save at AAMCO transmission centers.
AT&T offers standard roadside assistance for $2.99 per month for customers with one phone line. The plan covers up to four roadside assistance calls per year and will pay for services that cost up to $75 per incident. If the customer calls more than four times in a calendar year, they must pay for any service themselves, though AT&T will help arrange it.
One thing you should note is that AT&T coverage is linked to a specific phone, so the phone and the subscriber must be physically present at the car to qualify for roadside assistance. In other words, the phone’s owner can be the driver or a passenger, but they cannot call on behalf of someone else who is stranded. With that being said, AT&T’s plan is a good choice for drivers who want cheap roadside assistance but cannot or do not want to buy it from their car insurance company.
9. American Family
American Family roadside assistance only includes standard services, but it’s an inexpensive, solid choice. It costs $10-$20 per year to add to an existing car insurance policy, and American Family earned an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.
10. State Farm
State Farm’s roadside assistance is one of the cheapest options, costing as little as $1 per month. It is an especially good choice for budget-conscious drivers who anticipate small problems rather than large disasters. On the other hand, drivers who want extra coverage, like long-distance towing or travel discounts, should look elsewhere.
It’s worth noting that the most well-known auto club, AAA, ranked 14th out of 22 providers in our analysis. Despite its extensive coverage options and added perks, AAA has a grade of F with the Better Business Bureau due to a large number of unresolved customer complaints.
Roadside Assistance Cost
Roadside assistance from car insurance companies is usually the cheapest option, often costing around $20 per year. However, this type of coverage must be added to an existing policy. And some insurers will only sell roadside assistance when a policy already has collision and comprehensive.
On the other hand, auto clubs sell monthly or annual roadside assistance subscriptions. This type of roadside assistance normally costs more in return for additional coverage and discounts at affiliated businesses. Prices vary significantly by state, company and membership tier, but you can expect to pay $50-$100+ per year for the most basic coverage level.
Tips for Choosing the Best Roadside Assistance
1. Decide if a roadside assistance subscription is worth it.
If your car is already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, for example, buying additional roadside assistance is probably unnecessary. In addition, if you don’t expect to use roadside assistance often, apps like Blink and Honk do not require a subscription but can connect you with providers for a flat fee per service call.
2. Weigh the pros and cons of an auto club vs. the more basic coverage provided by most car insurance companies.
Auto club subscriptions usually have higher towing limits, while insurers offer cheaper, more basic coverage.
3. Think about whether you want to be covered as an individual or if you want your car to be covered.
Frequent car renters or business travelers should probably purchase plans that cover them as an individual, rather than covering a specific vehicle. But if you have multiple family members using one car or one insurance policy, coverage on the car itself or on the policy is likely to be the most cost effective.
4. Take any special circumstances into account.
Do you take road trips to Canada or Mexico? Do you own an RV or a motorcycle? If so, be sure to tailor your search to these specific needs.
WalletHub editors rated 22 roadside assistance providers, including car insurance companies, cell phone networks, and auto clubs. The best roadside assistance options were determined based on four key metrics:
- Number of coverage options
- Level of coverage provided by the base plan
- Cost of the base plan
- Better Business Bureau rating
Companies earned a maximum of 5 points for each category and up to 1 bonus point overall. Bonus points were given to companies with extra features like flexible payment plans, free coverage for family members, and an eco-friendly footprint. WalletHub editors then ranked the companies by total points to determine the best roadside assistance companies.