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What is Roadside Assistance? Your Essential Guide to On-Road Help

Roadside Assistance

When Trouble Strikes on the Road

Every driver, no matter how experienced or how well-maintained their vehicle is, has likely experienced the frustration of a roadside breakdown. Whether it’s a flat tire, a dead battery, or something more serious, finding yourself stranded can be stressful, worrisome, and even dangerous. That’s where roadside assistance comes in.

What Exactly is Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance is a service designed to help motorists who experience unexpected vehicle problems. It typically involves a network of service providers who are dispatched to the scene of a breakdown to provide help with:

  • Flat tires: Changing a flat tire with your vehicle’s spare.
  • Dead batteries: Jump-starting your car or providing battery replacement.
  • Out of fuel: Delivering a small amount of gas to get you to the nearest gas station.
  • Lockouts: Helping you regain access to your vehicle if you’ve locked your keys inside.
  • Mechanical issues: Minor on-site repairs. If more extensive repairs are needed, they’ll arrange towing to a nearby garage.

How Do I Get Roadside Assistance?

There are a few ways to get roadside assistance for your vehicle:

  • Car Insurance: Many car insurance providers offer roadside assistance as an add-on coverage to your comprehensive or collision policy.
  • Auto Clubs: Organizations such as AAA and others specialize in providing roadside assistance to members.
  • Credit Cards: Some credit cards offer roadside assistance benefits as a cardholder perk.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer: Many new vehicles come with complimentary roadside assistance for a specific period.
  • Dedicated Roadside Assistance Companies: Companies exist that solely focus on providing roadside assistance on a pay-per-use basis.

What’s Typically Covered in Roadside Assistance Plans?

The specific services covered by a roadside assistance plan will vary. However, most plans generally include the following:

  • Towing: If your vehicle can’t be repaired on-site, it will be towed to the nearest repair facility.
  • Tire Changes:
  • Jump-Starts
  • Fuel Delivery
  • Lockout Services

Some plans may offer additional benefits, such as:

  • Trip interruption coverage: Assists with expenses such as hotels if your vehicle breaks down far from home.
  • Minor mechanical repairs

Why Is Roadside Assistance Important?

Roadside assistance provides valuable benefits for drivers:

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have help on the way if something goes wrong reduces the stress of everyday driving.
  • Safety: Can help you get out of potentially dangerous situations, such as being stranded on a busy highway.
  • Saves Time and Effort: Professionals get you back on the road faster, avoiding the hassle of DIY repairs.
  • Cost-Effective: Often far cheaper than paying out-of-pocket for towing or repairs.

Choosing a Roadside Assistance Provider

When choosing a roadside assistance provider, consider the following:

  • Coverage Area: Make sure the plan covers the areas where you frequently drive.
  • Services Offered: Do the services cover your most likely needs?
  • Cost: Compare costs of different plans, including any limitations.
  • Reputation: Look for a trustworthy company with good customer reviews.


Roadside assistance is an invaluable service for any motorist. If you haven’t already invested in a plan, it is highly recommended. Being prepared means the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major disruption to your day – or worse.