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CostHelper > Cars  > Roadside Assistance Service

Roadside Assistance Service Cost


How Much Does Roadside Assistance Service Cost?

 
low costOn Auto Insurance Policy: $15-$60 a yearaverage costAuto Club: $50-$360+ a yearhigh costWithout a Roadside Plan: $35-$600+ Per Tow
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Roadside assistance plans typically cover jump-starting a dead battery, changing a flat by installing a viable spare, bringing an fuel when the vehicle is out of gas, opening the car when the keys have been locked inside or towing a vehicle that cannot safely be made operable (charges may apply after a maximum distance, and there may be limits on the towing destination).

Typical costs:

  • Auto club membership can cost $50-$360 or more a year, depending on whether coverage is for a vehicle, one individual or multiple family members; the maximum free towing distance; discounts on lodging, car rentals or products or services; and free maps and trip planning.
  • For example, AAA membership[1] varies by region but one driver typically costs $49-$69 annually for five miles free towing or $91 -$114 with 100 miles; adding more drivers can cost $25 -$75 each.. Allstate Motor Club[2] costs about $52 -$108 annually, with prices varying slightly based on region and services offered.
  • Credit card companies may offer roadside assistance for free, but often service is extremely limited and extra charges apply. Signature Visa[3] has a free 24-hour roadside dispatch service, but it only sends help; the costs for any services are automatically charged to the credit card, at $60 per call. Discover Card[4] offers a "free" 24-hour assistance number, at $70 per service call.
  • Roadside assistance can typically be added to auto insurance policies for about $2-$5 a month or $15-$60 a year, depending on the company, location and type of vehicle. Coverage is often linked to the insured vehicle rather than a person. Geico[5] offers its policyholders roadside assistance starting at $14 a year per vehicle. At Allstate Insurance[6] , registration for its 24/7 roadside assistance program is free, with flat charges of $50 per roadside service or $75 per tow.
  • Some cell phone companies offer roadside assistance for a small monthly fee, billed to the wireless account, but often there are additional charges. The AT&T Roadside Assistance plan[7] is free for 30 days and $3 a month after that; it pays $50 per tow/service event (the customer pays all other costs) for a maximum of four events per year, with towing for mechanical problems only (accidents, fire, theft or vandalism are not covered).
  • Without a roadside assistance plan, towing a car typically costs $35-$125 or more for up to five miles, and $275-$600 or more for 100 miles. If the keys are locked in the car, a mobile service call by a locksmith can cost $35-$250, depending on location and the complexity of the lock.
Related articles: Towing a Car, Flat Tire Repair, Tires, Locksmith, Car Battery, Car Insurance

What should be included:
  • Coverage varies significantly, even between plans offered by the same company. For example, an Allstate auto insurance policy provides roadside assistance only for the insured vehicle, but members of the Allstate Motor club are covered in any car as long as a member is driving. Consumer Reports describes potential coverage gaps[8] .
Additional costs:
  • Roadside assistance plans typically do not include any needed repairs. Having a flat tire patched can cost $0-$60, depending on type of tire. Replacing a typical car battery can cost $50-$220.
  • There can be additional charges of $2.50-$5 or more per mile if the vehicle is towed farther than the maximum distance allowed or to a destination other than what is specified in the plan.
Discounts:
Shopping for roadside assistance service:
  • Think about when and where assistance might be needed, and read the fine print carefully. Is there a limit to the number of tows per year? Does lost-key service cover a keyless system or only conventional keys? Popular Mechanics explains how to choose and use a roadside assistance plan[10] .
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External Resources:
  1.  automotive.aaa.com/roadside-assistance.htm
  2.  www.allstatemotorclub.com/amcc/member_services/roadsideassistance.faces
  3.  usa.visa.com/personal/visa-signature/benefits/roadside-dispatch.jsp
  4.  www.discover.com/credit-cards/member-benefits/roadside-dispatch.html
  5.  www.geico.com/getaquote/auto/emergency-road-service/
  6.  www.allstate.com/auto-roadside-services/good-hands-roadside.aspx
  7.  www.wireless.att.com/learn/en_US/pdf/roadside_assistance.pdf
  8.  www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/roadside-assistance-beware-the-gaps/index.htm
  9.  www.gsa.gov/portal/content/100039
  10.  www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/repair/how-to-choose-and-use-a-roadside-assistance...
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