Emergency Roadside Service – Auto Insurance

Emergency Roadside Service coverage is offered as an optional feature on any auto insurance policy. Most major companies are also emergency roadside service providers. However, you must ask for it specifically when buying the policy as it will not usually be automatically included.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Written by Eric Stauffer
Founder & Former Insurance Agent Eric Stauffer

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 23, 2022

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What is the best emergency road service? There are several types of emergency roadside assistance coverages offered by insurance companies, and it’s in your best interest to research your options before settling on any particular coverage. Roadside assistance coverage is an optional feature on any auto insurance policy, and you must ask for it specifically when buying the policy; it will not usually be included automatically in a full-coverage auto policy.

The simplest type of roadside assistance pays only for towing. Be aware that accident-related towing is already covered by your collision or comprehensive coverage if the vehicle is rendered non-drivable in an accident. For example, if you hit a tree and damage your engine, your collision coverage will pay to tow your vehicle to a nearby repair shop.

Towing coverage, then, is useful in non-accident situations when your vehicle requires a tow. Examples may include a dead battery, flat tire or other mechanical issue. Depending on your policy, your towing coverage may be limited by a flat fee or mileage amount.

In addition to basic towing coverage, some insurance companies offer more complex roadside services. The policy may cover the cost of a locksmith service, or it may pay for fuel delivery if you run out on the side of the road. The most complex of these policies include additional coverage options that will pay for things like a hotel if your car is wrecked away from home. Enter your ZIP code above to get a FREE insurance quote.

Using Your Roadside Assistance Coverage

Many insurance companies handle their towing and roadside assistance policies on a reimbursement-only basis. This means that you are responsible for paying the tow truck driver yourself, then submitting a receipt to your insurer. In other cases, you may be able to call your insurance company to have a tow truck or locksmith dispatched to your location. These policies may be more expensive than the reimbursement-based ones.

Depending on your situation, roadside assistance coverage may not be necessary. In many cases, it’s possible to get similar or better protection from another source. For example, some vehicles include roadside assistance in their warranties, so you can have these services completed by your dealership.  You can also enroll in an auto club like AAA that offer roadside assistance for affordable towing coverage. Many cell phone providers also offer roadside assistance for a few dollars a month.

Major insurance companies like Geico, State Farm, and Nationwide offer emergency roadside service. In certain cases, you may be able to get free roadside assistance as well.

Before purchasing roadside assistance or towing coverage on your current policy, shop around to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. Although roadside assistance coverage is not usually very expensive, the company offering you the lowest rates isn’t always the one that you want to go with. One company may be better than the other, so it is best to examine your options before buying. Determining what you need and finding the right coverage at the best price through comparison shopping will ensure that you stay well-protected without any unnecessary expense.

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