Anything can happen on the road, so having roadside assistance can give you peace of mind no matter where you’re going. There are many ways to gain access to free roadside assistance services, such as through insurance companies, automaker warranties, or auto club memberships. Learning about roadside assistance services, what they cover, and how you can get free roadside assistance can help you access the services you need to stay safe on the road.
What Is Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a service you can access to get help if you experience a problem with your vehicle on the road. For example, if you have a mechanical breakdown, run out of fuel, or experience a collision that makes your car unsafe to drive, you can contact a roadside assistance service to get help. These services help you get professional help to intervene in an emergency situation, which can keep you safe, prevent you from becoming stranded, and get your car the services it needs.
What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?
What services your roadside assistance covers depends on your provider. Some providers may offer more comprehensive services than others, and the level of coverage you have can depend on the package it comes with. Here are some common services that roadside assistance covers:
- Tire services: Roadside assistance can help you if you get a flat tire or experience another tire-related issue on the road. The assistance service can deliver an emergency spare tire to you, help you change your tire, and inspect any damage that your wheel may have incurred that would prevent you from driving safely.
- Battery jumpstart or replacement: If you have a dead battery and can’t start your vehicle, roadside assistance can give you a jumpstart. Under conditions where a jumpstart can’t fix the battery, the assistance service may deliver and replace the battery for you.
- Towing: Many roadside assistance services can provide towing for you if your vehicle breaks down and can’t run on its own. Depending on your service provider, you may get towed to the nearest car dealership that specializes in your vehicle or another qualified repair shop.
- Emergency deliveries: Under emergency circumstances, a roadside assistance service can deliver fuel, oil, and other essential components to help you get your vehicle running again if you break down. This type of service can get you back on the road quickly.
- Lockout services: If you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle, your assistance service can help you retrieve your keys.
How Does Roadside Assistance Work?
Most modern drivers access roadside assistance through their smartphones. Some service providers may operate an app that you can use to contact the provider, while others may give you a number to call if you need help. Once you contact the service provider, you’ll need to explain the problem, describe what sort of help you need, and provide a location. After reporting the incident, the dispatcher will let you know how long you’ll have to wait for assistance. Wait times can vary based on your location and the number of service technicians available.
When the technician arrives, they may ask you more questions about your vehicle. Depending on the problem, they might inspect your vehicle to decide how best to proceed. If possible, they may fix the problem for you. Otherwise, they may tow your car to the closest authorized repair shop. Having your car towed through your roadside assistance provider can be less expensive than contacting the company yourself. Depending on the provider, you may also get reimbursement for towing.
How Can I Get Free Roadside Assistance?
Drivers have many options for getting roadside assistance. Some providers give you free roadside assistance services when you make another purchase, like getting an extended warranty on your vehicle. Others may offer discounted rates on your roadside assistance service that makes it cheap to access. Here are some ways you can get roadside assistance:
If you buy a new or certified pre-owned vehicle, your warranty package may come with free roadside assistance. Many dealerships and third-party providers include 24-hour roadside services for free when drivers purchase an extended warranty package. If you buy a new vehicle with factory warranty coverage, you may also get free roadside service for as long as the warranty lasts.
Credit Card Companies
Certain credit card companies provide free roadside assistance to their customers. Your coverage can vary based on the company, so it’s best to contact your card provider to learn about any limits or exclusions for your service. For example, your credit card company may limit how many miles the service provider can tow your vehicle for repairs.
Car Insurance Providers
You may get access to free roadside assistance through your insurance provider. If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, it may come with roadside assistance. In other cases, you may add roadside assistance to your insurance plan for a reduced price. The cost of adding roadside service can vary based on your provider, location, and the make and model of your vehicle.
Wireless Service Providers
Many major wireless service carriers offer discounted roadside service options that you can add to your contract. Note that the services you can access through your provider may be subject to some limits, like towing distance. Other services you may get through your wireless provider may include lockout assistance, tire changes, and emergency fuel delivery.
You can also get roadside assistance through membership with an auto club. Depending on the club and membership options, you may get roadside assistance as part of your membership. Some common auto clubs that offer roadside assistance include:
- Better World Club
- Good Hands Roadside Assistance
No matter your age or level of driving experience, having access to roadside assistance can keep you and your passengers safe. Enjoy peace of mind by having access to services that can repair your car, help you during a lockout, or get your car towed to a qualified mechanic in case of an accident or breakdown.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.