Anyone who has experienced the stress of being stranded due to a breakdown or flat tire knows what an unpleasant and even dangerous experience it can be. Even the best of us aren't immune to locking our keys in the car or running out of gas on a long lonely stretch, and driving a new car is still not a complete guarantee against unexpected breakdowns.
Roadside assistance can take a lot of the worry out of car travel by giving you the security of knowing that a helping hand is always available. Auto clubs offer these services for a fee, but there is a good chance that your credit card already gives you complimentary roadside assistance.
For example some top-tier American Express cards offer a roadside assistance benefit that you can use up to 4 times per calendar year. This generally includes flat tire change if you have your own spare, free towing up to 10 miles (you pay $3 per additional mile), jump starts, winching, delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel and a lockout service.
Visa offers a Roadside Dispatch® service which lets you access a 24/7 roadside dispatch service by phone (by calling 1-800-VISA-TOW). You will have to pay $59.95 per dispatch, which includes towing of up to 5 miles, tire changing if you have your own good spare, jump starting, lockout services, up to 5 gallons of fuel delivery (you pay for the fuel) and winching if you are near a paved road (or a non-paved but county maintained road). It doesn't quite compare with the American Express service that you can get as a complimentary benefit 4 times a year, but if you are in an emergency, $59.95 is a pretty small price to pay to get back on the road.
Almost all credit card roadside services are limited to the US, Canada, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. You will usually have to cover third party costs like workshop repairs or the cost of towing above a certain distance, but most auto clubs have similar limitations. If you do most of your driving within 5-10 miles of a large town then the roadside assistance provided by your credit card is probably all you need.
Here is our pick of credit cards that come with roadside assistance:
|Credit Card||Features||Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Why we like it||We least like||Credit Required||Related links|
The Platinum Card® from American Express
|Related Links Read our review of The Platinum Card® from American Express or view more details of The Platinum Card® from American Express. See more American Express credit cards.|
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
|Related Links Read our review of Chase Freedom® or view more details of Chase Freedom®. See more Chase credit cards.|
Limited Time Offer
United℠ Explorer Card
Limited Time Offer
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
|Related Links Read our review of United℠ Explorer Card or view more details of United℠ Explorer Card. See more Chase credit cards.|