Sitting on the side of the interstate with a languishing vehicle is certainly stressful enough without having to worry how costly the towing will be. Knowing you have roadside assistance lessens the anxiety to some degree, but having that sort of coverage can be costly. Some vehicles actually have roadside assistance included in the warranty, but for those that don't, AAA isn’t your only option anymore. These are a few ways you can dig for deals that could save you over $100 a year.
Cell Phone Providers
Besides having a general stipulation that you must have your phone on you when you call for assistance (similar to having your AAA card on hand), most cell phone providers offer good rates on roadside help. Check your provider to see if you have the option of adding the program to your plan. Some start at as little as $5 a month and usually require as much effort as it takes to tick a box.
You may already have a money-saving device in your wallet without even realizing it. A number of membership programs can reduce emergency assistance rates or even cover them all together. Executive membership through Costco offers free roadside assistance with Ameriprise auto insurance coverage. Sam’s Club membership includes free towing up to 10 miles, fuel delivery, jump starts and flat tire changes. Pull out your membership cards and check out what emergency services might be available.
Be Wary of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies can offer incredible rates on roadside assistance. For example, Geico offers emergency road service starting at $12 a year on top of your policy. It’ll also pay up to $100 of labor and supplies if you lock yourself out. You can do a little research into your own insurance provider to see if they offer similar deals. The big problem is that while they’re offering help in your time of need, they are also recording your automotive problems. State Farm and others actually take into account your use of roadside assistance when calculating rates. Saving money on emergency help may end up raising your insurance premiums, so tread lightly.
Buy the Plan That's Right for You
Check the plans carefully as most leave gaps in coverage or have superfluous extras that aren’t suited to your way of life. Some only provide five miles of towing – not a problem for someone whose regular commute doesn’t take him that far, but definitely an issue if long drives are part of your routine. Others may tow you but won’t change your tire – a deal-breaker for someone who doesn’t know basic maintenance. Also, check premiums for covering family members. Some have better rates than others, which will help you out if you’ve got your spouse and two teenage children to look after.