Imagine you’re driving along a highway and you suddenly get a flat tire, or maybe you forgot to stop for fuel before a road trip and now your tank is empty. Perhaps you need to pull over because your engine is overheating and you need a tow.
What should you do? Ideally, you’ll call roadside assistance.
What Is Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a service that covers any immediate auto services, such as a tire change, gas refuel, vehicle lockout assistance, towing, or jumpstarting your car. Your membership fee covers most services according to your plan type.
When Paying for Roadside Assistance Makes Sense
Some of the most well-known roadside assistance programs are American Automobile Association (AAA) Roadside Assistance and AARP®️ Roadside Assistance. Depending on your location and plan type, basic plans can range from $50-$100 per year. If want to add other family members to your plan, that can increase the cost.
These annual payments may feel like a frivolous cost to some, especially if they like to be more hands-on with their car or they don’t experience many auto issues. Paying for roadside aside assistance may be more of an investment for those who:
- Drive an older model car that’s more likely to break down
- Don’t know how to change a tire
- Drive long distances often
While you’ll still have to pay for repairs if your car is towed to a shop, these basic services and the towing itself won’t be an added expense for you; they’re covered by roadside assistance.
Two Money-Saving Alternatives
If you like the sound of roadside assistance but the price is a bit high, you might be in luck. There’s a chance you already have access to these services through other programs and don’t even realize it. Here are two common programs that may offer roadside assistance that could save you money.
Roadside Assistance Through Your Car Manufacturer
If you purchased a new or a certified used vehicle from a dealership, there’s a good chance they included roadside assistance with your warranty. You’ll generally have 24/7 protection when you need it, but check your warranty details to see how long this offer lasts.
Roadside Assistance Through Your Credit Card Company
Some credit card companies also provide free roadside assistance to their cardholders. Check your current credit card terms to see if free service is offered. Free roadside assistance is especially common with rewards cards and travel cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.
Roadside assistance has become commonplace for good reason. No one wants to be stranded somewhere, in potentially unsafe circumstances, and with no money to get help quickly. This service can be worth every cent you spend on it. But if you’re on a budget, you might just luck out and already have it free through your existing accounts.