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When Selecting a Roadside Assistance Program, Consider whether Its Towing Coverage Meets Your Needs

by Cherly Fowler

A few decades ago, there was one popular service that offered roadside assistance along with many other discounts and features for travelers. Today, there are many companies that provide roadside assistance, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs. When selecting a roadside-assistance program, one of the most important things to consider is the program's towing coverage. You'll want a program that provides emergency towing that meets your needs.

Automakers' Programs May Only Tow to Licensed Dealerships

Many automakers today offer roadside assistance programs to drivers of their vehicles. Several months of roadside assistance is sometimes included with the purchase of an automaker's new or certified pre-owned vehicle.

Often, automaker's roadside assistance may only offer emergency towing to the nearest licensed dealership. Automakers want to ensure the repairs are made at one of their dealers' locations.

If you have a vehicle that's under warranty, signing up for an automaker's roadside-assistance program makes sense. Warranties often only cover repair work done at a dealership, so you'll want your vehicle fixed at a dealership if it breaks down.

If your vehicle isn't covered under a warranty, you might be able to get cheaper repairs done at an independent garage. In this case, you may want to forgo an automaker's roadside-assistance program in favor of one that offers towing to both dealerships and independent garages.

Insurance Companies' Programs Tow Locally

Many auto-insurance companies also now offer roadside assistance programs, and they'll often tow vehicles to a place of your choosing. Some insurance-sponsored plans, however, have a low limit on how far they'll tow a vehicle. In order to keep their costs low, insurers may only tow an automobile a few miles.

If you only drive locally, an insurance company's roadside-assistance program may be your best option. It might be the lowest-priced program available. Even if your plan will only cover towing your vehicle a few miles, that may be far enough for you. 

Travelers Groups' Programs Tow Many Miles

There still are several travel groups that offer roadside assistance. These programs are sometimes more expensive than other options because they often include other features for travelers. They also usually will tow a vehicle for many miles.

If you regularly leave town in your vehicle, a travel group's roadside assistance might have towing coverage that covers the most miles. This type of coverage likely wouldn't limit your choice of garages to just those within a radius of a few miles. 

As you compare roadside assistance programs, carefully consider how much towing coverage you will need. A lot of programs offer emergency fuel delivery, tire changes, and similar services, but they don't always have the same amount of towing coverage.

For more information about roadside assistance and towing services, consult companies such as Ski Country Shell & Towing.