Will Auto Insurance Cover Winching?

Last Updated on October 6, 2023

If your car gets stuck, then you may need winching to get out. When your car needs winching, can you expect car insurance to pay?

A standard car insurance policy will not cover roadside assistance, which includes winching, dead battery service, towing, and more. However, most insurers let you easily add roadside assistance for just a few dollars per month.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance and winching.

winching auto insurance

Standard Car Insurance Policies Do Not Cover Winching

Winching is considered a type of roadside assistance. Roadside assistance is not included in a standard car insurance policy, although many drivers add roadside assistance for added protection.

Roadside assistance covers things like towing, flat tires, vehicle lockouts, and jumpstarts. You can buy roadside assistance through your own insurer. Or, you can buy through third parties like AAA.

Generally, roadside assistance covers extrication or winching. However, it’s not covered by all roadside assistance plans. Basic roadside assistance plans do not always include winching.

If you need winching, then you may be able to call your car insurance company as normal, and your car insurance company could arrange winching – although you’ll need to pay for winching out of pocket.

Alternatively, you can call a towing or winching service yourself, leaving car insurance out of it entirely. Towing or winching can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, depending on your location and the severity of the situation.

What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?

A standard roadside assistance policy covers all of the following:

Flat Tire: A professional will come to your location and change your flat tire for your spare tire.

Towing: A tow truck will come to your location if your vehicle is inoperable, towing your vehicle to the nearest service station. Most roadside assistance plans cover towing within 10 or 15 miles, and you need to pay out of pocket for any additional miles. Premium plans might cover 100 miles of towing. Some have unlimited towing. Without roadside coverage, the average tow will cost you between $75 and $250.

Lockouts: If you lose your keys or locked your keys in your vehicle, then roadside assistance could cover a locksmith. A professional comes to your location to unlock your door.

Fuel Delivery: If you run out of fuel, then roadside assistance could cover the cost of delivering fuel to your location. You will receive enough fuel to get to the nearest gas station.

Jumpstart: If your vehicle’s battery dies, then roadside assistance covers a battery jumpstart. A technician will come to your location to jumpstart your vehicle.

Extrication or Winching: If your vehicle is stuck in snow, mud, ice, or a ditch, then roadside assistance covers extrication or winching, bringing your vehicle back onto the road. Basic roadside assistance policies may not cover winching or extrication.

Typically, roadside assistance covers up to $100 per event, and you’ll need to pay anything else out of pocket.

Roadside Assistance Tiers & Prices

Roadside assistance plans have different tiers of service. The more you pay, the more the plan covers.

Basic roadside assistance plans may not cover winching or extrication. Most intermediate or advanced plans, however, will cover winching or extrication.

If you want to limit risk, or if you frequently drive long distances on remote roads, then you may want to splurge on a higher-end roadside assistance plan. Higher-end roadside assistance plans cost $100 to $200 per year, but they have higher limits and cover a wider range of situations.

Or, if you have basic driving needs and are willing to take a slightly higher risk, then a basic roadside assistance plan may be the right choice. A basic plan costs between $40 and $60 per year.

How to Get Roadside Assistance

You can get roadside assistance through your insurance company or through a third-party provider like AAA or Good Sam. Some credit cards also include roadside assistance for all clients automatically.

Your Own Insurer

All major insurance companies offer roadside assistance. You can add roadside assistance via your own insurer. Just contact your insurance company and ask to add roadside assistance to your plan. With some insurers, it costs just $20 to $60 per year for roadside assistance and offers significant added protection.

Generally, roadside assistance will pay for itself if you have to make a single service call every two years. Many customers also appreciate the peace of mind.

Third-Party Companies

You can buy third-party roadside assistance through companies like AAA, Allstate Motor Club, Better World Club, and AARP – regardless of your current insurance company. These providers offer multiple tiers of service, including basic, intermediate, and premium tiers, making it easy to customer service based on your unique needs.

Credit Cards

Your credit card may have roadside assistance. Visa, for example, offers pay-per-use roadside service to all Visa cardholders. You pay just $69.95 for any service call. Other credit cards have similar policies. Check with your credit card provider for any available benefits.

Your Vehicle Warranty

Your vehicle manufacturer or dealership may offer roadside assistance through its warranty coverage. Roadside assistance is part of the factory warranty after a car’s initial purchase. The warranty generally expires after a certain length of time or number of miles driven.

Is Roadside Assistance Worth It?

Roadside assistance may be worth it because it provides valuable peace of mind and protection at a reasonable price. Roadside assistance can also be customized based on your needs. If you want full protection, then you can pay $100 to $200 per year, for example, while if you want basic protection, then you can pay less than $50 per year.

Other things to consider with roadside assistance include:

Your Preparedness: Can you change a tire on the side of a busy highway? Do you carry emergency fuel or battery jumpstart tools in your vehicle?

Age & Type of Vehicle: A newer vehicle is less likely to break down than an older vehicle. Newer vehicles may also have roadside assistance through their warranty.

Budget: How much are you willing to spend for peace of mind? Are you willing to spend money to lower your risk?

Family: Roadside assistance plans can cover you and any eligible family members. You might be comfortable changing a tire on the side of a road – but is your new teenage driver comfortable?

Generally, roadside assistance pays for itself with a single service call. Towing can be expensive, and many drivers appreciate the peace of mind.

Final Word

Car insurance does not cover winching or extrication unless you have roadside assistance. If you are stuck in the mud, snow, ice, or ditch, then you may need to call a winching or towing company yourself.

Roadside assistance plans range from $30 to $150 per year and cover things like towing, fuel delivery, vehicle lockouts, dead battery jumpstarts, and winching or extrication. If you want car insurance to cover winching or extrication, then consider adding roadside assistance.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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