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Roadside assistance comparison: which insurance company's program is best?

Roadside assistance can give you some much-needed peace of mind. If you’re stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery or flat tire, your roadside assistance service is available to help you.

While most major providers offer roadside assistance — usually as an add-on for an additional cost — not all policies are created equal. Let’s compare some roadside assistance programs from top insurers to options offered by third-party service providers so you can decide which will offer you the best value.

roadside

Emergency roadside programs from car insurance companies

Many car insurance companies offer roadside assistance. While these programs vary by location and company, most apply only to the vehicle and drivers listed on the policy. Roadside assistance through a car insurance provider is typically cheap. See below for roadside assistance prices and coverage options from top providers in the United States.

Popular Roadside Assistance Programs
Insurance Provider GEICO State Farm USAA Progressive
Emergency Jumpstart Services Yes Yes Yes Yes
Towing Yes, to the nearest service station Yes Yes 15-mile radius
Emergency Fuel Services No Yes Yes Yes
Vehicle lockout Up to $100 Yes Yes Yes
Flat Tire Service Yes Yes Yes Yes
Extrication/Winching Service No No No Yes
Labor/Small Mechanical Repair No No No Up to One 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 $5-$7 per policy period
USAA Not listed
Progressive $10-$18 per policy period
AARP $58-$74 per year

The Zebra’s Auto Security Plan

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

As an added 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.

The Zebra’s plan is similar to those of AAA and AARP in that you do not need to participate in the auto insurance plan from Auto and Home Plus — the roadside assistance provider — in order to qualify.

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

The Auto Security Plan
Coverage Basic — $60 biannually Premium — $100 biannually or $25 monthly
Roadside assistance: Towing, battery, lockout, tire change, emergency gas delivery, extraction/winching 3 events covered per year Unlimited
Auto maintenance services 15% off services 30% off services, up to $500 per year and $250 per event
Deductible reimbursement No Up to $500
Medical reimbursement No Yes
Auto repair reimbursement No Yes up to $250
Travel/entertainment/food discounts No Yes

Key terms explained

  • Medical reimbursement: This will provide reimbursement of the first 48 hours of emergency medical expenses and ambulance expenses that are not covered by your insurance and that result from car accidents.
  • Deductible reimbursement: This is specific for qualifying events (defined in your policy agreement) and will apply after the claim has exceeded the deductible.

Please note: the Auto Security Plan is available in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah*, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

*In Utah, The Zebra provides only the basic $60 plan.


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 7 miles, 4 times a year Up to 100 miles One per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles
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 Two services
Rental Car Benefits Discounted Discounted plus one car-class upgrade One-day complimentary midsize rental car
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% for additional reports
Vehicle inspection service Free 40pt, or discount 86pt Free 40pt, or discount 86pt $45 mail-in rebate for 86pt
Extrication/Winching Service One service per year Two services Two services
Rental Car Benefits Discounted Discounted plus one car-class upgrade One-day complimentary midsize rental car

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

AAA Costs by Membership Tier
Cost Classic Membership Plus Membership Premier Membership
Monthly Fee $5 $7.75 $9.75
6-Month Fee $30 $47 $59
Annual Fee $60 $279 $351

AARP Roadside Assistance overview

If you’re an AARP member, you can purchase a roadside assistance policy with tiered services and features, similar to AAA. See below the basic and premier coverage options.

AARP Emergency Services
Service Basic Premier
Fuel Delivery You pay for the fuel Up to 2 gallons free
Total Service Calls Single: 3, Couple: 3 Single: 4, Couple: 5, Family: 7
Dead Battery Jump Yes Yes
Flat Tire Change Yes Yes
Winching Yes Yes
Lockout Service Yes Yes
Towing Service Up to 5 miles Up to 100 miles

AARP Roadside Assistance coverage options explained

  • Pathfinder Trip Routing Service: Tips and maps on destinations in the US, Mexico, and Canada.
  • Trip Interruption: This means if the vehicle you are traveling with is disabled as a result of an accident, you will be reimbursed up to $1,500 for your travel expenses. You must be more than 100 miles away from home to be eligible.
  • Auto Theft Reward: This will provide a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief if your vehicle is stolen.
  • Legal Defense Reimbursement: Provides litigation defense in the event you are taken to court over a traffic violation. Certain restrictions apply.
  • Hospital Emergency Bond: If you're injured more than 100 miles away from and are required to present evidence of financial responsibility at a hospital, this will provide support.
  • Arrest Bond Certificate: An AARP edition of a get out of a "get out of jail free card." If you're arrested for a driving-related offense (but cannot be DUI/DWI related), you can use this coverage as a jail bond. Up to $1,000.
  • RV Roadside Coverage: You can add this coverage for $24/yr and will get two additional service calls for this coverage.

AARP’s program offers additional benefits not provided by a standard insurer:

AARP Non-Emergency Services
Service Basic Premier
Car Rental Savings Yes Yes
Hotel Discounts Yes Yes
Pathfinder Trip Routing Service No Yes
Warranty Repair/Referral Service No Yes
Trip Interruption Guarantee No Up to $1,500/yr
Auto Theft Reward N/A; except CA: up to $5,000 Up to $10,000/yr
Legal Defense Reimbursement No Up to $1,000/yr
Hospital Emergency Bond No Up to $1,000/yr
Arrest Bond Certificate No up to $1,000/yr
RV Coverage No Yes
Free Smartphone App No Yes
60-Day Money-Back Guarantee No Yes

Like AAA, AARP’s roadside assistance coverage is more expensive than coverage from an insurance company.

AARP Annual Pricing
Plan Basic Premier
People covered 1-2 1-3+
First-Year Membership Fee $58 $74 (1 person),$84 (2 people),$104 (3 people)
Renewal Pricing $58 /yr $84 (1 person),$94 (2 people),$114 (3 people)

Roadside assistance comparison: third-party vendors versus insurance companies

If you're deciding between a third-party roadside assistance company or your current car insurance company with whom you have an auto insurance policy, consider the following suggestions:

claims
How does your insurance company handle roadside assistance claims?

If you have too many roadside claims with your current car insurance provider, your coverage can be dropped altogether. If you file multiple claims with a third-party vendor, your car insurance coverage should be unaffected.

money
What are you willing to pay?

Third-party roadside service vendors offer more products and better service, but they are more expensive. If you prefer to keep your rates low, the coverage provided by your current company might be a good solution for you.

roadside
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, backed by FMIC, 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.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Will my farmers insurance cover my towing off the the NJ turnpike

Although I am not a Farmers insurance agent, my understanding of Farmer's Roadside Assistance program is you can either call their roadside service while your vehicle is inoperable and they will tow you up to $150 or you can be reimbursed for your troubles. However, this is all dependent on having towing and roadside on your policy.
May 2, 2018 Woodland, NJ

Is there roadside assistance options for my house?

This can depend. AAA does provide home locksmith options if you're a premier member up to $100.
Jan 15, 2019 San Francisco, CA

Does roadside assistance help with keys locked in a car?

While I cannot speak for the actual details of your policy, GEICO's roadside assistance does provide lockout services up to $100. Meaning, they would reimbursement you after-the-fact for your claim.
Jan 16, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana

Does roadside assistance cover people not on your policy

I haven't heard of a roadside assistance program that doesn't extend to anyone using the vehicle that has been given permission to do so. While most companies prefer any driver using the vehicle to be listed on the policy, they do have previsions in the policy that extend to infrequent users.
May 9, 2018 Jersey City, NJ

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

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 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.