Using Your Credit Card To Get Roadside Assistance

Using Your Credit Card To Get Roadside Assistance

July 29, 2020         Written By Heaven Speirs

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Which Credit Cards Offer Roadside Assistance?

When you’re stranded on the side of the road, roadside assistance is the ultimate saving grace. It’s also beneficial for silly errors, like locking your keys in your car or forgetting to fill up your gas tank. Did you know that you could get free or discounted roadside assistance with your credit card? This is a popular option among travel rewards cards, and it could turn a ‘sufficient’ card into the perfect credit card for you. 

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What Is Roadside Assistance?

Roadside assistance is a set of services designed to get you out of car trouble. The specific services vary by provider, but they typically include:

  • Unlocking your car if your keys get locked in
  • Providing a small amount of fuel if you run out on the road
  • Towing your vehicle to a mechanic (usually within a certain distance)
  • Replacing a flat tire
  • Jumpstarting your car when the battery dies
  • Completing minor mechanical repairs to the car

If you pay for roadside assistance through an automotive club, you may be able to get upgraded services for an additional fee. For instance, some programs offer road hazard coverage or trip interruption benefits. That covers unexpected costs if you experience car trouble in the middle of a trip – getting a hotel room, renting a car, etc. You will need to explore the terms of your roadside assistance program to find out your exact coverage options.

It’s important to note that not all roadside assistance programs are created equal. In many instances, the programs are merely dispatch services that do not include the cost of auto repair. Roadside dispatch is still beneficial when you’re stuck on the side of the road. You just need to be aware of potential expenses. It’s always best to keep emergency funds available on your credit card or in your bank account to pay for unexpected difficulties. 

Credit Cards with Roadside Assistance

The roadside assistance program that comes with your credit card will most likely be a dispatch service. The card issuer will not provide the actual services free of charge, but they can connect you with reliable service providers in the area. These providers may have a contract with the card issuer to offer their services at a discounted rate. You can use this to your advantage. 

Visa Credit Cards with Roadside Assistance

All Visa credit cardholders have access to Roadside Dispatch. There is no enrollment required and no annual dues for the service. Dispatchers are available at 1-800-847-2869 to answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services include: 

 

  • Standard towing for up to five miles
  • Tire changing using your spare tire, in good condition
  • Battery jumpstarts
  • Locksmith services (no key replacement)
  • Delivery for up to 5 gallons – must pay for delivery and the cost of fuel
  • Standard winching

** Get access to Visa’s roadside assistance program HERE! **

This is not a free roadside assistance program. Cardholders must pay a fee for any services rendered. However, this program does provide easy-access to reliable locksmiths and tow operators in the area. If you are in an unfamiliar place, having a go-to number to call could be a tremendous stress relief.

American Express Credit Cards with Roadside Assistance

American Express currently offers two credit cards with roadside assistance coverage. This includes the American Express Serve card and Bluebird by American Express. The services include:

 

  • Standard towing
  • Standard winching
  • Battery jump starts
  • Lockout services (may be unavailable for select vehicles)
  • Flat tire changes for cardholders with workable spare tires
  • Delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel

Much like Visa’s roadside assistance program, American Express primarily offers dispatch services for free. You will have to pay for the tow or locksmith fees. Roadside assistance is not available for rental vehicles. 

 

Chase Credit Cards with Roadside Assistance

Chase provides Roadside Dispatch for nearly all of their credit cards. The service is available 24 hours a day in both the U.S. and Canada (1-866-860-7978). The program includes:

 

  • Battery boost
  • Lockout assistance
  • Fuel delivery for up to two gallons
  • Towing
  • Flat tire service

 

Unlike other card providers, Chase has a flat rate of $50 per service event. Cardholders are allowed up to four service events per year, with a limit to one event of the same cause every seven days. For more information about this program, review the Chase Guide to Benefits

 

Mastercard Credit Cards with Roadside Assistance

Master RoadAssist Roadside Service is available for all Mastercard cardholders. Simply call 1-800-MasterCard and they’ll “send someone to the rescue.” The program offers:

 

  • Battery jumpstarts
  • Towing
  • Gas delivery
  • Tire changes

 

The rates for these services are pre-negotiated, so cardholders can enjoy a flat rate no matter what the situation may be. Mastercard does not exclude rental cars from this coverage, but they do ask cardholders to contact the rental car agency before calling their dispatch line. 

** Get access to Mastercard’s roadside assistance program HERE! **

How to Use Roadside Assistance

To use roadside assistance, simply contact the 24-hour hotline for the automotive club, card issuer, vehicle manufacturer, or whoever provides the service. Explain the issues you are experiencing, and the dispatcher will send someone out to your location. If the service is completely free, you will not have to pay anything at that time. If there is a fee, it will be charged to your credit card. 

Other Ways to Get Roadside Assistance

If you do not want to use roadside assistance from your credit card provider, you could manually search for a tow company, locksmith, or another service provider in your area. Of course, you need to have sufficient cell signals to complete the search, and you may have to call around to find someone available. The process can be unreliable and time-consuming. In addition, you may end up paying inflated rates from local providers who know that they have you in a bind.

Another way to receive roadside assistant is to purchase a membership in an automotive club, such as AAA or OnStar. In this case, you will pay a monthly or yearly fee specifically for roadside assistance. If you recently purchased a new vehicle, it may have come with a trial subscription to OnStar. You can use the service at no charge until the offer expires. 

Some vehicle manufacturers offer roadside assistance simply for owning one of their cars. This is particularly common among luxury car brands, such as:

Even if you have an older model, you may still be eligible for roadside assistance through your automobile manufacturer. You can find the number for roadside assistance online, in your owner’s manual, or potentially on the driver’s side visor in your vehicle. 

Roadside Assistance for Rental Cars

If you need roadside assistance driving a rental car, start by contacting the rental car provider. Most companies will offer this service at no charge to you. They can also bring you a replacement vehicle or drive you back to the rental lot. If your rental car company does not offer roadside assistance, then you can pursue it through your credit card provider or insurance company. Just note that you may be declined service or charged a higher rate, depending on how your policy covers rental vehicles. 

Does My Car Insurance Have Roadside Assistance?

Some insurance companies offer roadside assistance for policyholders. This may be included in your base policy or available for an additional fee each month. For example, Allstate offers several forms of roadside assistance. Policyholders can choose to add the service to their monthly insurance, pay a roadside membership fee, or pay per use when they experience car trouble. You can evaluate the options through your insurance provider to determine which one is right for you. 

Do I Need Roadside Assistance?

The truth is that most Americans never have to use roadside assistance. This program is most beneficial when you experience car trouble while traveling. When you’re in an unfamiliar area, you know you have convenient access to reliable and affordable car service. If you have an issue in your town of residence, you will most likely know who to call without contacting roadside dispatch. 

Should I Consider Roadside Assistance When Selecting a Credit Card?

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, roadside assistance shouldn’t be a top priority. As you can see from this guide, most credit cards offer some form of roadside assistance. You’ll be better off evaluating the most important credit card factors, such as interest rate, rewards offers, annual fees, and benefits. Those are the features you will most actively use, so they are the most pertinent to your credit card selection.

Thankfully, Low Cards makes it easy to find the perfect credit card for you in under a minute! Use our NEW credit card matching tool to answer a few simple questions and see which credit cards are the right fit for your lifestyle. You can also review our top-rated credit cards or search for cards by category. We’re here to make your journey as smooth as possible. 

 

The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 29, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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heaven

About Heaven Speirs

Heaven Speirs is a contributing writer for LowCards.com. She remains up-to-date with the latest developments in the credit card industry and the financial sector as a whole. Heaven has over 10 years of experience in online journalism, the bulk of which has been focused on personal finance. Heaven attended Oklahoma State University, where she discovered her talent for research and content creation. In her spare time, Heaven enjoys painting, playing poker, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.