All About Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance coverage provides service to stranded vehicles that need assistance, such as with towing, gas, a jump start, or lockout service.
As great as cars are, they all have problems now and then. If you drive a car long enough, you’re going to get caught dealing with some of the imperfections of your car. No matter how diligent you are with maintenance and care, chances are you’ll still find yourself with a dead battery one morning, or on the side of the road with an unexpected flat tire. Of course, even if your car acts perfectly, you may accidentally be the cause of why the car can’t be used; even the most careful drivers occasionally let their vehicle run out of gas or lock their keys in the car.
Thankfully, many auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance, which can greatly help you out in one of these scenarios. Roadside assistance isn’t included in every plan, but nearly every car insurance provider offers it, if you think that it’s best for you. In this article, Part 1 covers the basics of roadside assistance, Part 2 talks about what it covers, and Part 3 describes the cost variables.

Part 1 of 3: What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance provides service to you when you cannot bring your car to a mechanic. Whether you can’t get into your vehicle, can’t start your vehicle, or can’t safely drive your vehicle, roadside assistance will come to you to help fix the problem.
Usually roadside assistance is through a third-party service that has a contract with your insurance provider. Depending on your provider, when you need assistance you may have to call your insurance company, and they’ll contact the service for you, or you may have to call the service directly and provide your insurance information. Alternatively, a few larger auto insurance providers have their own roadside assistance programs in large cities.

Part 2 of 3: What does roadside assistance cover?

Roadside assistance covers almost anything that would keep your car stuck on the road. If you run out of gas, roadside assistance will bring you some. If you’ve locked your keys in your car, or lost your keys, they’ll help get you back into your car, or get you a new set of keys.
If your car isn’t starting, due to a bad battery, alternator, or any other reason, roadside assistance will come jump start your vehicle, or tow it if need be. Similarly, if you have a flat tire, roadside assistance will either provide a repair, or tow you back to an auto shop. And if, for any reason you need your car towed, roadside assistance will do that as well.

Part 3 of 3: How much does roadside assistance cost?

The cost of roadside assistance depends on your car insurance provider, and your policy. In general, roadside assistance is quite affordable, usually only a few dollars a month. Because it can save you a lot of money for situations that cannot be predicted or prepared for, it’s considered a smart purchase for most drivers. It’s always easier to pay a few dollars a month, than $100 when you least expect it.
Roadside assistance is one of the most practical policies offered by car insurance companies. It’s so easy and common to end up stranded on the side of the road, and roadside assistance can help get you back on the road, and quickly. If you drive your car a lot, roadside assistance is an excellent purchase.

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