The top performers in our review are Allstate Motor Club, the Gold Award winner; Good Sam Roadside Assistance, the Silver Award winner; and BP Motor Club the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a roadside assistance service to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Roadside emergencies never happen at a convenient time, and there are few things worse than being stranded by the side of the road with no help in sight. Roadside assistance plans allow you to drive with the confidence that you can get help, regardless of where or when you run into problems.
Like insurance companies, roadside assistance companies exist for two primary reasons: to make money and to help you in times of need and emergency. The best roadside assistance companies know good service results in loyal customers, so both parties win.
Such companies are focused on providing the best service possible. It used to be that motor clubs, like AAA and Better World Club, had a corner on the roadside assistance market, but in recent years, businesses like insurance companies and car manufacturers have opened up the competition by offering similar plans.
Some roadside assistance services have options that insure the individual instead of a specific car. This means if you have multiple cars or even if you are using a car rental service you can receive help from this company in the event of a roadside emergency. Many auto insurance companies have roadside assistance options.
Roadside assistance companies provide insurance for common roadside emergencies including towing, tire changes, gasoline delivery, lock-out assistance and dead-battery services. Many motor clubs guarantee roadside help no matter where you break down in the United States or Canada, and some will even reimburse you a predetermined amount for expenses that accrue if your car breaks down over 100 miles from home, including hotel and transportation costs.
The best roadside assistance companies also offer extras, such as retail discounts and travel-planning services, to enhance your travel experiences even more. Many roadside assistance services charge one annual fee, while others allow you to pay in monthly installments.
Be sure to check out our articles on roadside assistance services, as well as our roadside assistance reviews of the best services out there.
A quality roadside assistance plan should provide every possible roadside service, a generous selection of extras and helpful customer support. We assessed the quality of services against the price for standard versus premium membership. We didn’t test the individual services, but we did a comprehensive comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the services available. We used the following criteria to evaluate the top roadside assistance plans.
Services The services provided by a roadside assistance company are the most important features to consider when choosing a plan. Essential services include 24/7 roadside assistance, lockout assistance, minor roadside adjustments, towing, tire-change service, extrication, gasoline delivery and dead-battery services.
In addition to the essential services, you should choose a service that will arrive at the scene in a timely fashion. Some companies offer an on-time arrival guarantee, which is a good indication that help will arrive fast. Other services you might want are emergency travel assistance and reimbursements for travel interruption expenses if your car breaks down more than 100 miles from home. Some services, such as AARP, will even provide money toward a legal defense if you get a speeding ticket. Some plans will intervene if a repair shop it approves does sloppy work.
When choosing a plan, you’ll want to consider important issues, like how many times you can call for service each year and how much it costs to add an additional family member. Several plans in our lineup let you add a spouse for free, while others will charge an extra fee.
Coverage While you can request service no matter where you break down, some roadside assistance companies are unable to enroll members from certain states. You should also choose a provider that covers the vehicles you drive the most. Some companies cover you as an individual rather than a specific vehicle, so all of your vehicles are covered, even if you are on vacation and are using a rental. Some companies, like Allstate Motor Club, also cover all of your vehicles including RVs, motorcycles and trailers.
Most breakdown services offer more than one plan, giving you better and more comprehensive coverage for an additional cost. You should look for a roadside assistance service that offers the most coverage with a basic plan, then upgrade if you want the bonuses the enhanced plans offer.
Better World Club, which prides itself in being eco-friendly, allows you to pay an extra fee for coverage on your bike. It also has an exclusive plan for bikes if you want that independent of a plan. Better World also offers discounts for people with hybrid vehicles. Other companies have followed suit by offering eco-friendly options.
Extras The best roadside assistance plans offer generous extras, such as online trip-planning tools, retail discounts, concierge services and emergency travel assistance. Many companies also sell car insurance and offer a mobile application for quick assistance. These extras can help you save money and make it easy to plan and enjoy your next adventure.
Help & Support Customer service is always important, but with a service like roadside assistance, it is pivotal. A good service will offer toll-free phone support to answer any questions you may have before signing up or to address any concerns once you're a member. The company should also offer email support as an additional option. We also looked for FAQs on each plan's website, since a good FAQs section can help you find answers to your questions quickly.
What Else is Important with Roadside Assistance?
One thing you want to do when choosing a roadside assistance service is read the small print. Our matrix and reviews are designed to point out some of those details you will want to be aware of.
Such details include considering if you will be charged extra for adding a driver, such as a spouse, and the towing limitations. Generally towing is included, but you will want to know how many miles are included with the free towing and at what point you’ll be charged extra. Although it is the exception to the rule, some services charge extra for towing of any kind. If you frequently travel far from home, you will want a service with generous towing services or trip-interruption services.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re not paying extra for services that are covered on your credit card. If you are driving a new or certified vehicle, the automaker will often provide roadside assistance services that could make paying for a service on the side unnecessary.
There are now many roadside assistance services out there with widely varied options. You will want to make sure you are picking the one that meets your needs and allows you to customize the services to your liking. In deciding which plan is best for you, our reviews are a good place to start.
Our Verdict and Recommendations
We identified the best roadside services out there. The best options we found are the Allstate Motor Club, Good Sam Roadside Assistance and BP Motor Club. Each of these services had a lot to offer in terms of services, coverage and overall extras and benefits.
All three services are available to customers in all 50 states and Canada. These three companies offer 24-hour towing with varying mile radius, depending if you get the basic or premium packages. All of the essential services are present in abundance. Other essentials include lockout services and tire-change services.
While in some instances you have to pay extra for full coverage on vehicles, like RVs and motorcycles, top roadside services allow you to opt for that coverage. There are a number of extras to choose from as well, including travel-planning assistance and retail discounts. Each of the top roadside services also offer legal defense reimbursement benefits in the event of accidents, with varying stipulations depending on the situation.
In our reviews we set out to help you decide which service works best for you. While the top three services were the best overall, there are unique services, like Better World Club, which offers a number of eco-friendly options. You’ll want look at each service and determine which one best serves your specific needs.