Roadside Assistance Program Comparison

Which car insurance company has the best roadside assistance program?

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Roadside assistance comparison: which program is best for you?

If you’re stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery or flat tire, knowing you have roadside assistance service can give you some much-needed peace of mind.

Many insurance companies and third-party providers offer these services for an additional fee. We're here to help you compare the options available to find the best program that offers you the best value.

Auto Hero Logo
The Zebra's suggestion: Auto Hero

The Zebra partners with FIMC to provide a roadside assistance plan called Auto Hero. This third-party plan can be purchased independently from your car insurance policy and comes with features like deductible reimbursement, repair discounts, and more.

Learn more about the Auto Hero plan from The Zebra

Emergency roadside programs from car insurance companies

Many car insurance companies offer roadside assistance, which is usually affordable and specific to the vehicles and drivers listed on your policy. We've compiled prices and coverage details from top U.S. providers in the table below.

Popular roadside assistance programs
Service GEICO State Farm USAA Progressive
Emergency Jumpstart Services Yes Yes Yes Yes
Towing Yes, to the nearest service station Yes Yes Yes, within 15-mile radius
Emergency Fuel Services Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vehicle Lockout Up to $100 coverage Yes Yes Yes
Flat Tire Service Yes Yes Yes Yes
Extrication/Winching Service Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labor/Small Mechanical Repair Yes, up to 1 hour Yes, up to 1 hour Yes, up to 1 hour Yes, up to 1 hour

Which insurance company has the cheapest roadside assistance program?

The price of roadside assistance services may vary based on how many vehicles you insure. Below are the estimated prices of popular insurers' roadside assistance plans.

Provider Cost of Program
GEICO $14 per car, per year
State Farm $30 per year
USAA Not listed
Progressive $13-$36 per year
AARP $66 - $143 per year

The Zebra’s Auto Hero Plan

We work with FIMC to deliver the Auto Hero program as a top-notch roadside assistance option. One of the best features of The Zebra’s plan is that you don't need to participate in the auto insurance plan to qualify for roadside assistance, which makes it similar to AARP and AAA.

How is Auto Hero different from insurer's roadside assistance?

The Zebra’s Auto Hero Plan follows the individual, rather than the vehicle: you can apply this coverage to another driver’s vehicle, as long as you’re in the car with them. This gives you more flexibility than other insurance companies’ roadside assistance packages: GEICO’s and State Farm’s coverage, for example, applies only to the vehicle listed on the insurance policy.

As a bonus, the Auto Security Plan is the same price no matter how many dependents — family members like your spouse or children — you add to the policy, unlike AAA or AARP’s products.

If you’re interested in discussing the Auto Hero Plan with a representative, click the button below or call (888) 444-2833.

Auto Hero benefits:

✔ Unlimited 24/7 roadside assistance: Towing, battery, lockout, tire change, emergency gas delivery

✔ Auto repair discounts: 50% off qualifying services up to $500/repair, $1,000/year

✔ Auto insurance deductible reimbursement: Up to $500 for a collision or comprehensive claim on covered vehicles

✔ Discounts on repairs: tires, mufflers, brake services and more from participating providers

✔ One low price: it covers your entire family and their cars too!

✔ Flexible payment options: Pay in full or monthly for a 6 or 12-month policy term

Please note: the Auto Hero Plan is available in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DelawareFlorida, Georgia, HawaiiIowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, MarylandMissouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, NevadaNorth Carolina, North DakotaOhio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode IslandSouth Carolina, South DakotaTennessee, Texas, VirginiaUtah*, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C.West VirginiaWisconsin and Wyoming.

*In Utah, The Zebra provides the Auto Security plan which differs from Auto Hero.

Third-party vs insurance carrier roadside assistance

When deciding between roadside assistance from a third-party provider or your car insurance carrier, consider the following differences:

Carrier roadside assistance:

  • Convenience: Added directly to your car insurance policy with one point of contact.
  • Cost: Often cheaper when bundled with your insurance.
  • Coverage specificity: Specifically ties to the vehicles and drivers listed on your policy.

Third-party roadside assistance:

  • Broader coverage: Can cover the member, not just specific vehicles, which means you’re covered even as a passenger in another car.
  • More services: Often includes extra perks like trip planning.
  • Flexibility: Available to drivers who might not own a car but still need protection when driving or riding in others’ vehicles.
Hunter Black, insurance expert
Agent insight:

It's advised to purchase a third-party roadside for a few reasons:

  1. If you use your roadside assistance with your carrier, it counts as a claim and can increase your premium rates. Some carriers could even choose not to renew your policy if you use it often.
  2. Third-party roadside like Auto Hero is unlimited with a stable monthly fee
  3. Third-party roadside memberships usually offer more extensive coverages and other benefits like discounts on car repairs, deductible reimbursements, etc.

Hunter Black — Licensed insurance professional at The Zebra

Questions to consider

The decision on which type of roadside assistance package to choose is based on several factors. We've come up with some key questions to help you evaluate your options and make an educated choice.

keychain new car
Is the manufacturer's included plan enough peace of mind?

If you're opting to purchase a brand new car, having a roadside assistance plan automatically included at purchase is a nice (and easy) way to have peace of mind behind the wheel. However, not all of the included plans are equal in length or benefit levels.

  • Coverage duration and benefits: New cars often come with complimentary roadside assistance. Luxury brands may offer longer terms with extra perks, while standard makes typically provide shorter coverage periods. After this initial term, you’ll need to explore other options.
  • Dealership extensions: Dealerships might offer extended warranties that prolong roadside assistance, matching the warranty length for added security. This can be particularly beneficial if the original plan is short.
How does your insurance company handle roadside assistance claims?

Your current insurer can be an easy way to begin if you haven't had roadside assistance before, or if you feel confident in your relationship with your agent and company.

  • Integration and ease: Adding roadside assistance to your existing policy can simplify your coverage. However, frequent claims might lead to policy cancellation.
  • Cost vs. service: Insurance-based roadside assistance is generally cheaper than third-party services but offers basic help compared to comprehensive plans from specialized providers like AAA, FIMC, Better World Club or Good Sam.
What are you willing to pay?

Third-party roadside service vendors offer more products and better service, but they are more expensive. Most people are familiar with companies like AAA or AARP and these can be great options depending on your needs. But if you prefer to keep your rates low and don't want to necessarily join a membership-based organization (or won't use the added discounts and perks), the coverage provided by your current company might be a better choice.

What do you want from your roadside assistance coverage?

Similar to comparing car insurance quotes, which plan works best for you may depend on how you drive, who you are, and what you want out of your roadside assistance package. If you’re already an AARP member, its program might be an easy option for you. If you prefer AAA’s stellar reputation and extra amenities, choose this option. If you’re content with more barebones service, your current provider’s package might be sufficient.

The Zebra's roadside assistance package from FIMC, Auto Hero, is a good mix of the two. While it doesn’t include as many amenities as AARP and AAA, it does cover more than a standard car insurance company’s roadside assistance option. The best choice is to define for yourself what you want and what you’re willing to pay for.

AAA Roadside Assistance overview

AAA is what most people think of when they think about roadside assistance. AAA’s program is among the most reliable and in-depth roadside assistance options, but that service comes at a price. See below the coverage options offered by AAA’s membership tiers.

AAA roadside assistance coverage
Coverage Detail Classic Membership Plus Membership Premier Membership
Jump Start Included Included Included
Towing Up to 3 miles; 4 times a year Up to 100 miles; 4 times per year One per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles; 4 times per year
Emergency Fuel Services Free delivery, pay for fuel Free delivery and fuel Free delivery and fuel
Vehicle Lockout Coverage up to $60 Coverage up to $100 Coverage up to $150
Flat Tire Service Included Included Included
Extrication/Winching Service One service per year Two services per year Two services per year
Rental Car Benefits Discounted Discounted plus one car-class upgrade One-day complimentary midsize rental car

AAA includes basic roadside assistance coverage plus additional perks and benefits, displayed below.

Additional AAA benefits
Coverage Detail Classic Membership Plus Membership Premier Membership
Vehicle Registration Renewal Help Included Included Included
Discounts on Shopping, Dining, Hotels, and Entertainment Included Included Included
Identity Theft Protection Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection, $10,000 in identity theft insurance
Discount to Carfax Vehicle Report 20% off CARFAX 20% off CARFAX One free year, 40% off additional reports
Vehicle Inspection Service Free 40pt or discount on 86pt Free 40pt or discount on 86pt $45 mail-in rebate for 86pt inspection
Extrication/Winching Service One service per year Two services per year Two services per year
Rental Car Benefits Discounted Discounted plus one car-class upgrade One-day complimentary midsize rental car

AAA membership tiers

This extra coverage comes at a cost. AAA roadside assistance costs more than assistance provided by an insurer. But AAA typically has better reviews, thanks to its response time and quality of service. Furthermore, AAA might be a good option if you’re interested in discounts on hotels, dining and other services.

There are currently three different membership levels, each with a yearly fee. For each membership tier, you're allowed four free calls per year; there is a service charge for each call over this amount. The AAA membership also includes a bonus subscription to the AAA Explorer magazine. 

AAA Costs by membership tier
Cost Classic Membership Plus Membership Premier Membership
Annual Fee $62 $91 $118

Find the car insurance coverage that gives you peace of mind on the road.

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AARP Roadside Assistance overview

If you’re an AARP member, you can purchase a discounted roadside assistance policy through Allstate Roadside with tiered services and features, similar to AAA. See the table below for details of the basic (Roadside Assist) and premier (Roadside Elite) pricing and coverage details. 

Coverage Level Roadside Assist Roadside Elite
First year: annual rate $66 $131
First year: monthly rate $5.50 $10.92
Renewal rate $83 $143
Household members included 2 2
AARP (Allstate Roadside) emergency services
Service Roadside Assist Roadside Elite
Trip Interruption No Yes, up to $1,500
Fuel Delivery Up to 2 gallons; you pay for the fuel Up to 2 gallons free
Rescues per Year Single - 2; Couple - 3; Family - 5 Single - 3; Couple - 5; Family - 7
Dead Battery Jump Yes Yes
Tire and Wheel Protection Tire changes only Tire changes, plus up to $250 for repair/replacement
Winching Yes Yes
Lockout Service Yes Yes
Towing Service Up to 10 miles Up to 100 miles
Roadside Benefit per Incident $150 $250
Roadside Hazard Reimbursement No Yes, up to $100

AARP annual pricing

When you become a member AARP offers discounts for multi-year plans that auto-renew, so it can be significant savings if you plan on continuing membership for several years. The following fee structure is based on new members signing up for plans between one and five years (the more years, the higher the discount). You can also get a discount for auto-renewing from year to year. 

AARP annual pricing
Plan length One year Three years Five years
Membership fee $12 - $16 $43 - $48 $63 - $80

Like AAA, AARP’s roadside assistance coverage is more expensive than coverage from a typical insurance company. But its additional benefits and perks might warrant membership due to the extra savings outside of roadside assistance.

AARP additional benefits

AARP also offers a multitude of additional benefits and discounts with your membership that aren't provided by a standard insurer in the following categories (with examples added): 

  • Health and wellness discounts (pharmacy, hearing and vision)
  • Travel (cruises, rental cars)
  • Finance (retirement, investments)
  • Work (job board, resume help)
  • Shopping and grocery (flowers, deliveries)
  • Technology (phone plans, anti-virus software)
  • Restaurant discounts
  • Vehicle (Allstate Roadside, oil changes)
  • Entertainment (Ticketmaster, games)
  • Family caregiving (medical alert services)
  • Home and resl estate (home warranty, mobility services)
  • Magazine discounts
  • Community (virtual and in-person activities)
  • Advocacy

Manufacturer or dealership roadside assistance

One of the simplest ways to get a roadside assistance plan is right at the dealership when you purchase the car. However, coverage quality varies by manufacturer. For example, a new Audi R8 or A8 includes perks like trip interruption reimbursement and concierge services, unlike more basic plans. Details can differ even between models from the same maker, so be sure to verify specifics with the dealership.

Manufacturers typically include a roadside assistance plan with the purchase of a new vehicle — but how long the benefit lasts can vary greatly. Since new vehicles are less likely to have issues initially, consider choosing plans that provide longer coverage, such as five to six years, to ensure help is available as your car ages. It's a good idea to compare the length of coverage and the benefits included for the best overall protection.

Below are some of the most purchased vehicle makes and their new car roadside assistance limits, listed in miles and years. 

Brand Roadside Assistance Coverage Extra Details
Acura 7 years/100,000 miles Coincides with the length of the Powertrain Limited Warranty; includes extras like trip interruption coverage
Audi 4 years/unlimited miles Certain models may differ (such as A8, R8, electric vehicles)
BMW 4 years/unlimited miles Up to 6 years for Certified Pre-Owned BMWs
Buick 5 years/60,000 miles Applies to 2020 and newer vehicles
Cadillac 6 years/70,000 miles
Chevrolet 5 years/60,000 miles 8 years/100,000 miles on electric vehicles
Dodge 5 years/100,000 miles Includes Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, RAM - all under Mopar vehicle assistance
Ford 5 years/60,000 miles
GMC 5 years/60,000 miles Tow coverage for electric vehicles extends to 8 years/100,000 miles
Honda 3 years/36,000 miles
Hyundai 5 years/unlimited miles
Jeep 5 years/100,000 miles
Kia 10 years/100,000 miles 10 years for Certified Pre-Owned, as well
Lexus 4 years/unlimited miles 2 years/unlimited miles on a L/Certified vehicle
Lincoln Lifetime of ownership Applies to 2013 and newer models; Used vehicles continue coverage if within 6 years/70,000 miles of their warranty date
Mazda 3 years/36,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz Length of warranty Coverage extends as long as you own the vehicle; applies to models purchased at dealership prior to 2011
Nissan 3 years/36,000 miles
Subaru 3 years/36,000 miles
Tesla Length of warranty or extended service agreement
Toyota 2 years/unlimited miles ToyotaCare also includes 2 years/25,000 miles of maintenance services
Volkswagen 3 years/36,000 miles Certified Pre-Owned have an additional 2 years of coverage

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.