Roadside Assistance Program Comparison

Which emergency roadside assistance program is best for you?

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Roadside assistance provider comparison

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.

 

Table of contents: What is the best roadside assistance program?
  1. Roadside programs offered by insurance companies
  2. AAA Roadside Assistance
  3. AARP Roadside Assistance
  4. The Zebra’s Auto Security Plan
  5. Your company’s roadside assistance plan vs. a third-party option

 

 


 

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 INSURANCE COMPANIES' ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Insurance ProviderGEICOState FarmUSAAProgressive
Emergency Jumpstart ServicesYesYesYesYes
TowingYes, to the nearest service stationYesYes15-mile radius
Emergency Fuel ServicesNoYesYesYes
Vehicle lockoutUp to $100YesYesYes
Flat Tire ServiceYesYesYesYes
Extrication/Winching ServiceNoNoNoYes
Labor/Small Mechanical RepairNoNoNoUp to One Hour

 

The primary options that are inconsistent from company to company are extrication and winching services, as well as small labor and mechanical repair. Progressive is the only company that offers this service.

The price may vary based on how many vehicles you cover. Below are estimated prices of roadside assistance plans.

 

ProviderCost of Program
GEICO$14 per car, per year
State Farm$5-$7 per policy period
USAANot listed
Progressive$10-$18 per policy period
AARP$58-$74 per year

 

 


 

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 of 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 DetailClassic MembershipPlus MembershipPremier Membership
Jump StartIncludedIncludedIncluded
TowingUp to 7 miles, 4 times a yearUp to 100 milesOne per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles
Emergency Fuel ServicesFree delivery, pay for fuelFree delivery and fuelFree delivery and fuel
Vehicle lockoutCoverage up to $60Coverage up to $100Coverage up to $150
Flat Tire ServiceIncludedIncludedIncluded
Extrication/Winching ServiceOne service per yearTwo servicesTwo services
Rental Car BenefitsDiscountedDiscounted plus one car-class upgradeOne-day complimentary midsize rental car
Rental Car BenefitsDiscountedDiscounted plus one car-class upgradeOne-day complimentary midsize rental car

 

AAA includes basic roadside assistance coverage plus additional perks and benefits, displayed below. Learn more about AAA's roadside assistance and how it compares to other programs here.

 

ADDITIONAL AAA BENEFITS
Coverage DetailClassic MembershipPlus MembershipPremier Membership
Vehicle Registration Renewal HelpIncludedIncludedIncluded
Discounts on shopping, dining, hotels, and entertainmentIncludedIncludedIncluded
Identity Theft ProtectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection, $10,000 in identity theft insurance
Discount to Carfax Vehicle Report20% off CARFAX20% off CARFAXOne free year, 40% for additional reports
Vehicle inspection serviceFree 40pt, or discount 86ptFree 40pt, or discount 86pt$45 mail-in rebate for 86pt
Extrication/Winching ServiceOne service per yearTwo servicesTwo services
Rental Car BenefitsDiscountedDiscounted plus one car-class upgradeOne-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
CostClassic MembershipPlus MembershipPremier 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
ServiceBasicPremier
Fuel DeliveryYou pay for the fuelUp to 2 gallons free
Total Service CallsSingle: 3
Couple: 3
Single: 4
Couple: 5
Family: 7
Dead Battery JumpYesYes
Flat Tire ChangeYesYes
WinchingYesYes

Lockout Service

YesYes
Towing Serviceup to 5 milesup 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 your vehicle you are traveling with is disabled as a result of an accident, you will be reimbursed up to $1,500 for our 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 defend 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
ServiceBasicPremier
Car Rental SavingsYesYes
Hotel DiscountsYesYes
Pathfinder Trip Routing ServiceNoYes
Warranty Repair/Referral ServiceNoYes
Trip Interruption GuaranteeNoUp to $1,500/yr
Auto Theft RewardN/A; except CA: up to $5,000Up to $10,000/yr
Legal Defense ReimbursementNoUp to $1,000/yr
Hospital Emergency BondNoUp to $1,000/yr
Arrest Bond CertificateNoup to $1,000/yr
RV CoverageNoYes
Free Smartphone AppNoYes
60-Day Money-Back GuaranteeNoYes

 

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

 

AARP ANNUAL PRICING
Plan NameBasicPremier
People covered1-21-3+
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)

 

 


 

The Zebra’s Auto Security Plan

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

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 differs from 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.

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

 

FIMC ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE
CoverageBasic — $60 biannuallyPremium — $100 biannually or $25 monthly
Towing3 events per year to the nearest facilityUnlimited to nearest towing facility
Battery3 events covered per yearUnlimited
Lockout3 events covered per yearUnlimited
Tire change3 events covered per yearUnlimited
Emergency gas delivery3 events covered per yearUnlimited
Extrication/winching3 events covered per yearUnlimited
Auto Maintenance Services15% off services30% off services, up to $500 per year and $250 per event
Deductible ReimbursementNoUp to $500
Medical ReimbursementNoYes
Auto Repair ReimbursementNoYes up to $250
Travel/Entertainment/Food discountsNoYes

 

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.

 

Need Roadside Assistance?


Please note: The Zebra only provides this coverage 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.

 

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:

 

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.

 

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.

 

What do you want from your roadside assistance coverage?

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.

Compare car insurance policies today!

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Additional resources

If you're looking for additional resources related to car insurance, see our related articles below.

Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Based in Austin, TX, Ava has been in the insurance industry as a licensed agent for 4-plus years. Ava is currently one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts and has been featured in publications such as US News Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.