5 Great Ways to Find Roadside Assistance
Check Out Your Carmaker's Program First Don't forget your own carmaker's free roadside assistance program. It usually covers new cars and some cover certified-used cars as well, like Ford and Honda. General Motors' assistance program for new cars is good for five years or 100,000 miles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the better ones; its cars get unlimited roadside assistance."Manufacturers' programs are quite good," says Reed. "They have a vested interested in making sure the car is treated well, such as preventing towing damage."According to Edmunds, most of these programs offer essential services, such as towing, lockout help and fuel. However, towing might only take you to the nearest dealer, who may charge more for repairs. Another downside is that the programs eventually end, and some are short -- such as Jeep's three-year or 36,000 mile assistance program.There's also the GM Motor Club, which covers any make of car. It costs $84 per year for a couple, and offers unlimited towing miles, no limits on service calls and coverage for emergency expenses.
Insurance Offers a Range of Roadside Services
Many insurers also offer good, cheap roadside assistance. They vary widely in price and coverage, so it pays to do your homework.
For example, State Farm's roadside assistance program is only $6 per year and includes basic lockout and towing service. "It's worth the price," says State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke. "Any of our customers can get it."
Other insurers with roadside assistance include Progressive, Nationwide and Farmers. GEICO's service is only $12 annually for lockout, emergency towing and other services. Allstate Motor Club is more comprehensive, offering five plans beginning at $48 per year for basic services.
There is a downside, though. Consumer Reports notes that using the coverage may affect your car insurance rates, since some insurers track assistance calls. Also, some plans like State Farm's reimburse you for towing expenses rather than offer a free toll-free number to call for help.
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