Do You Need Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

Do You Need Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 21, 2021

If you’re like most Canadians, you probably depend on your vehicle to get you from A to Z. But there may be times when your car breaks down for whatever reason, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

Fortunately, there are roadside assistance programs available that can help get out of a jam. Whether you’ve suffered a flat tire, ran out of gas, or experienced mechanical failure with your car, roadside assistance and towing coverage can help.

What Is Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

Roadside assistance and towing coverage will provide you with assistance if your vehicle breaks down and is inoperable, leaving you stranded. Whatever the issue may be with your vehicle, roadside assistance generally offers round-the-clock assistance to give your car a boost, replace flat tires, or deliver fuel, among other things. 

Is Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage Included In Your Car Insurance?

Some auto insurance policies offer some form of roadside assistance and towing coverage, so you’ll have to see if your particular plan has it. That said, this type of service isn’t usually included in a basic car insurance policy, so you’ll likely have to pay a little extra for it. 

You may find it convenient to have roadside assistance added to your auto insurance policy so you don’t have to scramble trying to figure out who to call when you need some help on the side of the road. Your car insurance information — including contact information for roadside assistance — should all be with you in your vehicle. 

What Is Covered By Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

A roadside assistance and towing coverage program will help out with any one of the following:

Delivery Of Emergency Fuel 

If you run out of gas and end up stuck on the side of the road, your roadside assistance plan will bring your car the gas it needs to fuel up and get you to the nearest gas station. Some plans may charge separately for this service, in which case they will use the local pump price as the basis for its fees.

Tow Your Car 

Whether your car has been in a collision, has overheated, or is even stuck in a ditch, a tow truck operator will arrive to take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic. You’ll only be covered up to a certain number of kilometres, after which you’ll be charged extra.

Give Your Car A Jump Start 

If the battery dies in your car, jump-start service providers will arrive to restart the battery to give it enough juice to get you going.

Change A Flat Tire 

If you don’t have a spare tire with you or don’t know how to change a tire yourself, you can have professionals meet you where you are to help change it for you. 

Unlock The Car 

If you’ve locked your keys in your car, a locksmith or lockout service provider will help you get into your car.

Pull Your Car Out If It’s Stuck

Vehicles that are lodged in mud or some other material can be extricated with the help of winching services. If more than one truck or service professional is needed to dislodge your vehicle, you may have to pay extra.

Telephone Consultation 

If you’re able to, you may be able to resolve the problem with the guidance of a dispatcher, which may be covered in a roadside assistance plan.  

Where Can You Get Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

You’ve got choices when it comes to where to take out a roadside assistance and towing coverage plan:

Insurance Companies 

As mentioned earlier, your auto insurance policy will likely offer the option to add roadside assistance coverage to your policy. 

Credit Cards 

You might have some form of roadside assistance included in your credit card. Not all credit cards offer this type of service, so you’ll have to see if the card you’re carrying includes it. Otherwise, you might want to consider applying for a credit card that includes free roadside assistance as part of its overall list of perks. 

Membership Plans 

There’s also the option to enroll in a membership-based roadside assistance plan. This may be an attractive option if you’re looking to customize your plan to include various levels of coverage. Programs offered by CAA, Canadian Tire, and Costco are some of the more popular ones among Canadian motorists. 

Extended Warranty 

If you’ve recently purchased a vehicle, the warranty on the car may include a roadside assistance plan. That said, these plans only last for the duration of the warranty. Depending on how much longer your warranty is in effect, you’ll only have so much time or mileage before the plan expires along with the warranty. 

Manufacturers 

Certain manufacturers offer roadside assistance if you take your vehicle to an authorized service centre to be maintained on a regular basis.

How Much Does Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage Cost?

The cost of roadside assistance and towing coverage depends on where you obtain your policy from and the type of coverage you want to be included in your plan. Generally speaking, roadside assistance plans start from around $50 for the first year for basic services, but can easily jump to over $100 per year for more extensive coverage. 

If you get roadside assistance through your credit card, the services will be covered under the card’s annual fee. In some cases, roadside assistance through credit cards can be accessed and paid for on a per-incident basis.

To save on the cost of roadside assistance and towing coverage, consider the following tips:

  • Keep jumper cables in your car
  • Have a spare tire on hand
  • Don’t drive without sufficient gasoline in the tank
  • Consider a roadside assistance add-on feature to your current auto insurance policy rather than paying for a full membership elsewhere
  • Shop around to compare quotes and options

Roadside Assistance and Towing Coverage FAQs

How many times can you use Roadside Assistance and Towing Coverage?

Most plans don’t allow for an unlimited number of calls. Instead, they usually have a limit on the number of service calls you can make, which is about 4 to 5 times annually. If you make more calls within a calendar year, you may be charged extra. You’ll need to verify what your restrictions are with the plan you’re enrolled in. 

Will Roadside Assistance and Towing Coverage cover me if I’m driving another vehicle?

These types of plans only cover a specific car and are not designed to cover specific drivers. That means your coverage will only kick in if the incident applies to the vehicle associated with your policy. Coverage will apply even if another person is driving the car specified in the plan. 

Do You Need Roadside Assistance And Towing Coverage?

You don’t need roadside assistance or towing coverage in order to get help if you’re stuck on the road. You can still call a tow truck or a taxi to come and help you, though you’ll be paying out-of-pocket for each call you make. The question is, is a roadside assistance program membership worth the annual fee?

To help you answer that question, consider the following:

Your Car’s Age And Condition

Is your car getting old and experiencing certain issues that are making it less reliable? If so, the odds of your car breaking down on the road are higher, in which case a roadside assistance program may be worth it. But a brand new vehicle won’t be as susceptible to mechanical issues, in which case you may want to take your chances without dishing out more money on additional coverage.

How Far You Drive Every Day

Consider the distance you drive every day and whether you frequently visit places that you’re not familiar with. If your commute is far and you often find yourself in places you don’t frequent very often, then perhaps roadside assistance might be something to consider. Otherwise, if you tend to stick around a small radius, then you can probably forego a membership. 

Your Need For Convenience

While the odds of your car breaking down on the side of the road and needing assistance is likely low, it can still happen. And if it does, it would be a lot more convenient to pull out your membership card than have to scramble to get contact information for a specific professional to come and help you out. 

Cost

Of course, the cost or roadside assistance programs should be considered. If it will be challenging to squeeze an annual membership into your budget, then maybe you might want to skip it. On the other hand, a membership to this type of program can save you quite a bit of money if you’re making a handful of service calls every year. Plus, membership programs often come with other perks, including discounts for travel and merchandise. 

Included Coverage

If your auto insurance policy or credit card already offers some form of roadside assistance, then paying extra for membership is not necessary, unless you’re looking for extensive coverage that your insurer or credit card can’t offer.

Final Thoughts

No matter how careful you may be when you’re on the road, anything can happen. And if it does, you’ll want to have access to help as required. Having roadside assistance and towing coverage can provide you with some peace of mind knowing that no matter what kind of assistance you need, help is only a phone call away. Before you take out a policy, look into the various sources that offer such coverage and compare their prices and coverage options.


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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