No card in your wallet should make you feel quite as safe as the one for your roadside assistance program, because you’re rarely as vulnerable in life as you are out on the road. Too much can go wrong when you’re trusting your life and the life of your passengers to a machine that is hurtling down the highway at 80 miles per hour, sitting on inflated rubber going over broken blacktop. Having a good roadside assistance service provides insurance for times out on the road, so that come flat tire, blown gasket, keys locked inside, or something more dire, you’re protected.
Once upon a time, there weren’t many options for roadside care. There was the ubiquitous AAA organization, and RVers had the Good Sam Club. Anything else was likely a guy named Merl who might come pick you up in the same week, so long as his bowling league wasn’t in the finals. Today, there’s a wide range of services with options galore to suit drivers of every stripe. Though we’d hate to put Merl out of work, here’s the 8 best roadside assistance services for wherever you may roam.
Some brands become legends and refuse to rest easy. Others trade on their name as quality drains away. You can decide for yourself which the ubiquitous American Automobile Association is, but it’s been a long time since 1902. The same way that Wells Fargo was once a bank for the people, and now uses its customers to create illicit accounts, so too has AAA slithered down in value. Options are limited at the basic level, particularly in the region of towing, making costs jump quickly for the average person to get decent coverage. AAA is almost wholly a fleet coverage service, and it hops and leaps for its corporate masters very well. What it does not do is offer more or better service than the competition. It’s equal in all but overblown price.
Good Sam Driving Club
Having been around since the 1980’s and consistently providing necessary services at a tiny cost, it’s possible that no club can claim as many lives saved as Good Sam. Specializing in RVs, Good Sam helps people with not only cars, but sometimes their very homes. No business takes that relationship more seriously and wants to ensure safe, comprehensive, reliable service that’s available anytime, anywhere. The Better Business Bureau hands Good Sam a vaunted A+ rating, and after millions of roadside breakdowns handled successfully, it’s impossible to argue. Widest coverage, unlimited towing, and cheap coverage for whole families.
Most auto clubs charge by the year, so even if they’re terrible, you’re still out the price of admission. AutoVantage prefers to prove their value every 30 days. You pay $1 for the first 30 days, then can opt to pay each month, or yearly. Either way, it costs more than other plans, but does come with a few perks that travelers will enjoy. There’s help with car rentals, airline miles, and a mechanic hotline where you can get help over the phone to fix basic problems. Whether it’s worthy of the added cost is up to you, but you can easily make up the difference with some smart maneuvering. Or, pick it up for times when you need it, and leave it out during low driving or better weather months.
Better World Club
You’re going to get a dedication to service that also champions safer roadways, more bicycle lanes, more money spent on robust mass transit similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop in order to remove the need for roadside services. Better World wants clean air, clean water, and intelligent transportation that makes sense. While that’s all icing, the fluffy and delicious cake itself is dense with services and savings to suit any driver. Better World promises to meet AAA’s prices anywhere, advocates for greater environmental consciousness, and has some slick benefits you can only find with an eco-friendly operator.
Allstate Motor Club
Insurance companies are traditionally built to desecrate ancient burial sites, so the legend goes, and sup from the milk of human suffering. Allstate works extremely hard to shed this stereotype and be a reliable, helpful, honorable insurance provider that works with you and for you when tragedy hits. They bring this same commitment to their roadside help, and have a vast network that promises to get you help in 30 minutes, or they’ll reduce your next payment by 25%. Families with teenagers should note the special coverage for kids, and their friends at no extra expense. Those on a budget should notice that Allstate costs the same across the country, rather than altering based on zip code.
Using an app to great effect, Blink works largely thanks to the proliferation of cellular infrastructure, which means it’s good, and can easily be tied into your car’s system. Blink is among the largest provider of automotive assistance on the planet with millions aided every year. By being linked to your phone, it can use your GPS and personal data to get help to your exact location faster. Perhaps the only way in which Big Brother watching isn’t a complete violation.
The tendency of most plans is to assume that it will be covering more than one person. CarChex doesn’t take that leap, and has a single vehicle coverage program for those of us out there who are going to die horribly alone with our collection of fine gin. It has the same generous towing allowance as every other CarChex level of service, with five service calls per year allowed. The focus overall in CarChex is on keeping prices down by covering only the people you need, while keeping all the services they require in tact. This way you never waste money on services you don’t need to get the ones you want.
Paragon Motor Club
At the high end, Paragon is exceptional, and could easily walk away with the crown for comprehensive coverage, added options, travel-interruption aid, and customer service that’s just this side of your fairy godmother, Carl. For anyone who doesn’t need the best, or doesn’t wish to pay for it, go literally anywhere else. Paragon’s standard plan is even more restrictive than the most basic of plans, and is rarely better than what you can get for a few extra dollars from your insurance company. This has the shiniest gold and the most tarnished silver and bronze.