3 Tips For Comparing Roadside Assistance Plans

With the spring and summer driving seasons approaching, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to protect your car on those long road trips. While insurance policy has you covered for the worst-case scenarios, what about situations less severe than a major accident? Flat tires, breakdowns, and dead batteries can quickly ruin a day at the beach or a whole vacation.

A roadside assistance plan is an excellent way to keep these relatively minor problems from becoming massive headaches, but which one is right for you? These three tips will help you compare the programs available in your area so you can maximize your protection while minimizing your costs.

1. Check Local Towing Costs 

One of the most significant benefits of paying a yearly subscription for an assistance program is saving on towing costs. Many programs offer multiple tiers, usually with towing limits at each level. These limits typically include both the number of times you can use a tow per year as well as the total number of towing miles.

If you aren't sure which plan is best for your situation, call up a few local towing companies and compare their rates. If a single local tow costs as much as a year subscription to an assistance program, it may be worthwhile to pay that annual cost. In these cases, you'll save money even if you only have to use your plan's towing benefits once per year.

2. Make Apples-to-Apples Comparisons

Not all roadside assistance programs are the same. While many companies offer similar benefits, some may lock certain features behind higher tiers or add-ons. For example, you may need to pay more per year to receive free fuel delivery or vehicle lockout service. Towing distances also typically vary by the type of plan you purchase.

If you're looking at price alone, you may not be making an apples-to-apples comparison. Check the benefits you'll receive at each tier when comparing assistance programs and determine if pricier programs offer more substantial benefits.

3. Consider Your Unique Needs

Everyone's roadside assistance needs are unique. For example, You might not need extended towing distances if you don't travel much. On the other hand, breakdown assistance and extended towing ranges can be lifesavers if you drive an older, out-of-warranty vehicle on long road trips. You should also consider your daily commute and the distance to tow your car to a shop closer to your home.

Remember that subscribing to a roadside assistance program is about preparing for the worst. When comparing programs, always consider the situations where you're most likely to need your benefits. Spending a little more to meet your specific needs will help guarantee that a little automotive bad luck doesn't leave you stranded.