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?

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 extra feature 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 assistance

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 $66 - $143 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

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.

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.

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 per year One per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles; 4 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 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 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 $1,500
Fuel Delivery Up to 2 gallons; you pay for the fuel Up to 2 gallons free
Rescues per year Single - 2; Couples - 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 $100

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

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.

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

Manufacturer or dealership roadside assistance

 

If you're in the market for a new vehicle, one of the simplest ways to get a roadside assistance plan is right at the dealership when you purchase the car. Most manufacturers offer some kind of roadside assistance program for new car buyers, included with the price of the car. 

new car

But like insurance-based roadside assistance plans, they aren't all equal. For example, if you purchase a new Audi R8 or A8, it actually includes trip interruption reimbursement — which can help cover lodging, food and alternative transportation. They even offer a concierge service to help arrange some of the details. As with these Audi models, the inclusions that come with roadside assistance can vary by vehicle, even from the same manufacturer. It is important to get details from the dealership or manufacturer when purchasing a new car and learning about your new roadside assistance program, specific to your vehicle.

Most manufacturers offer a certain mileage or time frame from your date of purchase (sometimes it is the build or in-service date) where the roadside assistance program is included. When evaluating these programs, consider that most brand-new vehicles likely won't have much trouble when they're right off the assembly line. So it might make sense to look at brands offering longer-lasting plans, like five or six years, when you're more likely to experience issues with the car. Below are some of the most purchased vehicle makes and their new car roadside assistance limits, listed in miles and years. 

Brand Roadside assistance years/miles Extra details
Acura 7 years/100,00 miles Coincides with the length of the Powertrain Limited Warranty; includes extras like trip interruption coverage
Audi 4 years/unlimited Certain models may differ (such as A8, R8, electric vehicles)
BMW 4 years/unlimited 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 on electric vehicles
Dodge 5 years/100,000 miles 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/1000,00 miles
Honda 3 years/36,000 miles
Hyundai 5 years/unlimited
Jeep 5 years/100,000 miles
Kia 10 years/100,000 miles 10 years for Certified Pre-Owned, as well
Lexus 4 years/unlimited 2 years/unlimited on a L/Certified vehicle
Lincoln Lifetime of ownership 2013 and newer; Used vehicles continue coverage if within 6 years/70,000 of their warranty date
Mazda 3 years/36,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz Length of warranty Any Mercedes with a warranty is covered; a model purchased at dealership prior to 2011 is covered as long as you own it
Nissan 36 months/36,000 miles
Subaru 3 years/36,000 miles
Tesla Length of warranty or extended service agreement
Toyota 2 years/unlimited mileage 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

Roadside assistance comparison: third-party vendors versus insurance companies

If you're deciding between using your manufacturer's program until the time frame is up, using a third-party company or membership program, or adding roadside assistance to your current car insurance policy, consider the following suggestions as you make a decision:

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, as noted above, not all of the included plans are equal in length or benefit levels. Typically, with luxury names, you'll probably get a lengthy (perhaps even unlimited) time frame and some added perks outside of the norm. But more commonly purchased makes often only offer their roadside assistance packages for a few years, which means you'll be researching other options before you know it. The included benefit might be a great place to start, but likely won't be the ultimate answer to protection for as long as you own the vehicle.

claims
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. It is a way to keep things simple and convenient if comparison shopping isn't your favorite task. But keep in mind that 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 (like AAA, Better World Club or Good Sam), 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. 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.

dealership
What can the dealership do to help?

Individual dealerships will usually offer products to supplement or lengthen the manufacturer's included roadside assistance program. For example, if your new vehicle only offers roadside assistance for 2 or 3 years, you may be able to add an extended warranty through the dealership that lengthens the benefit to 5 or 6 years. Oftentimes, the roadside assistance benefit matches the length of the warranty, so extending this period might make you feel more secure. 

The dealership can also help you interpret the details of your warranty. Sometimes different models offer different roadside assistance benefits, and most of this information can be found in the fine print when you buy a vehicle. However, it isn't always the easiest to find and understand as a consumer, so turning to the pros where you purchase the vehicle can be a big help to fully comprehend what you're getting.

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.

Compare car insurance policies today!

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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 content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
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  • 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.