Emergency Roadside Services Common Coverages

Can you add roadside assistance to your car insurance?

Roadside mechanic repairing flat tire
Photo: Sam Edwards/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Roadside assistance can be very helpful in emergencies, like when you get a flat tire or have a breakdown. Learn how to get help in these types of situations with roadside assistance.

Roadside Assistance for Emergencies

For many of us, we will eventually have a problem where we need to call for help while driving. Of course, having a friend or family member come help us is often the best option. But it could also happen when we're far from home, or it's the middle of the night. Or, the issue could be so severe that we need professional help.

There is nothing worse than being stuck somewhere and having a hard time trying to figure out who can come help. Many companies are not available after hours, on weekends, or during the middle of the night.

Some insurance companies may allow you to add or request roadside assistance at the time of the emergency. That can be a costly option, but it may help you out, especially if you are stuck in a bad situation in the middle of the night and don't know whom else to call.


Allstate is one company that offers roadside service. You don't even have to have a policy there, thanks to Allstate's "Good Hands" pay-per-use program.

Getting a flat tire in the middle of the night on a long road trip could happen to anyone. But deciding to get roadside assistance from your insurer or another source could make the whole situation less stressful.

How Roadside Assistance Can Help You

When you buy your car insurance policy, ask whether they can offer you roadside assistance. The insurance company may allow you to choose a roadside assistance program or endorsement to add to your policy. You may have different options to choose from, with many levels of coverage. 

Here are some of the most common emergency roadside assistance coverages to ask about:

  • Flat tire change: Got a flat? All you have to do is call the 24/7 toll-free number. The emergency roadside assistance customer service representative will send out someone to do the tire change on the scene.
  • Emergency towing: If that flat can't be fixed on the scene, or if a different mechanical issue arises and the vehicle needs to be towed to a garage, the towing may be covered too.
  • Drained battery, lock-out, or lost keys: You left the lights on. Now the battery is drained, and the car won't start. The emergency assistance will come out and take care of that too. Also, if the keys are lost or locked in the car, the company will send out a locksmith to get into the vehicle or will have new keys made.
  • Running out of gas: The company may send someone with gas to help you get back on the road again.
  • Mechanical breakdown: Roadside assistance will often help you if you have a mechanical breakdown and need to be towed to the nearest service station. But the breakdown itself may not be covered. This would likely only be covered if you had mechanical breakdown insurance coverage (MBI).

Fees and Deductibles

Many emergency roadside assistance companies offer most services fee-free at the time of service. This means, for example, if a repairman who is sent by the roadside service company has to come out to change a flat tire or help with another covered repair, there is no cost at the time of service.

After the repair, the customer just signs a form and is back on the road. So, if you don't want to have to pay any fees out of pocket for roadside assistance, be sure you choose a company that does not charge any fees or deductibles at the time of service.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does roadside assistance cost?

Basic roadside assistance plans cost around $40 to $60 per year and cover basic services such as flat repair and towing. Some vehicle manufacturers offer more extensive plans that can cost much more.

How far does roadside assistance tow?

Basic emergency roadside assistance plans typically have towing limits of somewhere between 5 and 25 miles. Many carriers offer optional policy upgrades, which can extend towing limits to 100 or 200 miles.

How do I call roadside assistance?

Many insurance companies now allow you to initiate a roadside claim directly through their mobile app or website. Your insurance card should also have a number on it that you can call to place a roadside help request. If you can't find that number, call your agent's office for more information.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Allstate Insurance Company. "Roadside Assistance Pay-Per-Use."

  2. State Farm. "Emergency Road Service Coverage."

  3. State Farm. "24 Hour Emergency Roadside Service."

  4. Consumer Reports. "What to Consider When Buying a Roadside Assistance Plan."

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