How Can You Get Free Roadside Assistance?
Last Updated on September 15, 2023
Roadside assistance covers towing, fuel delivery, flat tire changes, and other roadside emergencies.
Typically, you pay $20 to $150 per year for roadside assistance. You buy roadside assistance from your insurer or from a third party like AAA.
Alternatively, you can pay $50 to $250 per service call.
However, you may already have free roadside assistance. Some insurers bundle roadside assistance with full coverage policies, for example. Or, some credit card companies offer roadside assistance as a perk.
How can you get free roadside assistance? Here are the best free (or cheap) ways to get roadside assistance.
Best Free Roadside Assistance Options
You may already have roadside assistance. Some of the best ways to get free roadside assistance include:
- Car manufacturers
- Car dealerships
- Banks and credit cards
- Auto insurance provider
- Cell phone companies
We’ll cover each of these options in further detail below.
Many drivers are surprised to learn their vehicle comes with roadside assistance from the manufacturer.
It’s true: most car manufacturers bundle roadside assistance with all vehicle purchases. If you lock yourself out of the car, get a flat tire, or run out of gas, then the manufacturer may provide complimentary roadside assistance at your location.
There is a “catch” to this free roadside assistance: most policies cover towing to the nearest authorized car dealer for your make of vehicle.
Check your vehicle’s owner manual for any details regarding complimentary roadside assistance for your specific make and model.
Some car dealerships bundle roadside assistance with new vehicle purchases.
If you purchased your car from a dealership, then that dealership may provide complimentary roadside assistance either through an in-house provider or through your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Contact your dealership or check your vehicle’s owner manual for any details regarding complimentary roadside assistance.
Banks and Credit Cards
Some banks and credit card companies include roadside assistance as a perk. You may already have roadside assistance just by being a credit card holder.
Bank of America, for example, offers complimentary roadside assistance on most credit cards. Chase Sapphire cards come with roadside assistance as well.
Other credit cards with roadside assistance include:
Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 Annual Fee): Covered up to $50 for each service call, with up to 4 service calls per year.
Chase Freedom Unlimited ($0 Annual Fee): Chase Freedom Unlimited provides basic roadside assistance for a flat fee per service call, with no annual limit on service calls.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ($95 Annual Fee): Capital One provides basic roadside assistance for a flat fee per service call, with no annual limit on service calls.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card ($95 Annual Fee): Provides basic roadside assistance for a flat fee per service call, with no annual limit on service calls. It also offers free rental car coverage and other perks.
Contact your credit card company or review your credit card paperwork to determine if you have roadside assistance included with your card.
Auto Insurance Provider
Most auto insurance providers offer roadside assistance at a heavily discounted rate.
Instead of paying $10 to $20 per month from a third-party provider like AAA, for example, you could pay just $0.50 to $5 per month when buying from your auto insurance company.
GEICO, for example, lets you add roadside assistance for around $2 per month ($24 per year), for example, giving you added peace of mind and protection against roadside emergencies.
Some auto insurance companies even bundle roadside assistance with all plans for free. Farm Bureau, for example, gives free roadside assistance to all customers with collision coverage policies.
Other auto insurance providers that offer roadside insurance plans include:
- Allstate Roadside Assistance
- American Family Roadside Assistance
- Amica Roadside Assistance
- Direct Auto Roadside Assistance
- Erie Roadside Assistance
- Esurance Roadside Assistance
- Farmers Roadside Assistance
- Fred Loya Roadside Assistance
- Liberty Mutual Roadside Assistance
- Mercury Roadside Assistance
- MetLife Roadside Assistance
- Nationwide Roadside Assistance
- Progressive Roadside Assistance
- State Farm Roadside Assistance
- Travelers Roadside Assistance
- USAA Roadside Assistance
Contact your auto insurance company or review your auto insurance documents to determine if you have free roadside assistance.
Cell Phone Company
You may get free or discounted roadside assistance through your cell phone provider.
Three of America’s largest cell phone companies offer roadside assistance for $3 to $4 per month.
These policies have a unique perk: they follow the cell phone and not a specific driver or vehicle. As long as your Verizon cell phone is present at the location where service is needed, for example, you’ll pay nothing for roadside assistance (assuming you already signed up for Verizon’s roadside assistance program).
Major cell phone providers offering roadside assistance include:
AT&T: $2.99 per month
Verizon: $3 per month
Sprint: $4 per month
Your employer may offer roadside assistance as a perk. Some employers are part of a benefits network that includes roadside assistance, for example.
Review your employer’s benefits package to determine if you have roadside assistance. If your employer works with MetLife for benefits, for example, then you may have roadside assistance through MetLife.
What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?
Whether you’re getting free roadside assistance or a paid subscription, plans tend to cover similar items, including:
- Towing up to a certain limit
- Flat tire service, including the cost of dispatching a technician to replace your flat tire with your spare tire
- Car battery service, including battery jumpstarts
- Emergency fuel delivery, including the provision of enough fuel to get to the nearest service station
- Locksmith services, including vehicle lockouts
- Winching, including winching out of ditches on the sides of roads
Most roadside assistance plans cover you anywhere in the United States, up to a certain dollar limit or mileage limit. Beyond these limits or outside of coverage areas, you may need to pay for roadside assistance out of pocket.
What’s the Catch with Free Roadside Assistance?
Free roadside assistance programs generally don’t have a “catch.” You genuinely receive free roadside assistance coverage without paying anything.
However, check the roadside assistance plan’s paperwork for restrictions like:
Towing Limits: Some roadside assistance plans only cover towing to the nearest service station or a specific mileage limit – like 5 or 10 miles, for example. Beyond this limit, you may need to pay a specific per-mile rate – like $5 per mile. This is a common restriction on both free and paid roadside assistance plans.
Coverage Limits: Most roadside assistance plans only cover you in the United States, although some extend coverage to the United States, US territories, and Canada.
$50 to $150 Per Service Call: Some roadside assistance plans only cover up to a certain dollar limit per service call – like $50 to $150. Beyond this limit, you’ll need to pay out of pocket.
Private Roads or Off-Road Restrictions: Most roadside assistance plans only cover you when driving on public roads. If you’re driving off-road or on private land, then you may not be able to request roadside assistance.
Winching Restrictions: Roadside assistance plans may have winching restrictions. You may only receive free winching coverage if you’re within 10 to 20 feet of the side of a public road, for example.
Alternative Vehicle Restrictions: A standard roadside assistance program covers standard vehicles – like ordinary cars, trucks, and SUVs. However, you may not be covered for RVs, trailers, moving trucks, and other alternative vehicles. You may need to pay extra for expanded coverage.
However, as long as you understand these limits, most free roadside assistance plans genuinely provide free roadside assistance without fees, added charges, or restrictions.
Final Word – Free Roadside Assistance
Many drivers are surprised to discover they already have roadside assistance.
You could have free roadside assistance through your credit card company, auto insurance provider, or car manufacturer, for example.
Check your owner manual, review your paperwork, and contact your insurance company to determine if you have roadside assistance coverage.