Roadside Assistance

Automotive issues alway seem to happen at the most inopportune times. Breaking down on the road can be very stressful, and dangerous. Some problems that occur are:

  • Keys locked in the car
  • Dead battery
  • Empty fuel tank
  • Flat tire
  • Engine failure

Emergency road service (ERS), or towing and labor coverage, is invaluable in these cases. These coverages can help cover the cost of towing, locksmiths, even roadside fuel delivery or tire service.

Motor Clubs

Many motor clubs offer roadside assistance to their members. While the cost for membership may be higher that buying coverage through your car insurance provider, they often offer additional perks like discounts for entertainment, restaurants, and hotels, as well as travel assistance.

Some insurance companies even offer discounts to members of motor clubs.

Roadside Emergencies

The first thing to remember in case of emergency is to stay calm and move your car, if possible, and yourself as far away from traffic as you can.

Most Auto insurance companies provide a phone number when you purchase towing and labor coverage. In the event of an emergency, call the number and let the representative know where you are and the type of assistance needed. Then they will arrange for your roadside assistance.

Some insurers may allow you to contact a towing service yourself. In these cases, you will need to pay for the service and the submit the receipt to your agent for reimbursement. Be sure to ask your agent what options you have when you buy the service coverage.

Buying Emergency Road Service

Many auto insurance policies offer some form of these services, and it can be as simple as checking a box on the application when you purchase your car insurance policy.

If you are interested in buying a roadside service plan, you should research the types of services that your car insurance company offers, the limit that you want, and the cost of the services.

Be aware: In some states, you must have collision and/or comprehensive coverage before you can purchase emergency road service through an insurance provider.


Emergency road services are meant for just that - emergencies, not for major mechanical problems. Therefore, limits are usually rather low, but, since the cost associated with the services is usually low, there is rarely an out-of-pocket expense.

Limits are different from company to company, so ask your agent about the specific limit associated with their ERS plan.