Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road in your car? It can be a scary situation if you don’t have anyone to call for help, especially if you’re alone or in an unfamiliar area. That’s where roadside assistance—also known as roadside dispatch—can make a difference.
Anyone who owns a vehicle can benefit from a hotline to call in the case of certain roadside emergencies. You can use it as a rescue line for a dead battery, a flat tire, locking your keys in your car, mechanical failure, or running out of gas. You may already have roadside assistance through a national service or your insurance carrier, but your credit card may surprise you with a roadside assistance benefit.
Credit cards often come with a number of perks that offer consumer protections. And, yes, some cards even offer roadside assistance benefits. If you carry a credit card with roadside dispatch, you can get help for unexpected emergencies while you’re on the road.
Learn more about how credit card roadside assistance works, what’s typically covered, and how it compares to other roadside assistance services.
What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance is a service you can call in the event of certain automobile-related emergencies, at any time of day or night. When you’re stuck on the side of the road and your car is inoperable, you can contact the roadside assistance program for help. You may need a tow to the closest service provider, assistance changing a tire, or a jump start if your car battery dies.
When you call a roadside dispatch hotline, the operator will confirm your location, and connect you with a local service provider to give you the assistance you need. You can usually contact roadside assistance whether you’re the driver or you’re a passenger in someone else’s car.
Does my credit card offer
To find out if your credit card offers roadside assistance, the first thing you can do is log into your account and look over your list of account benefits. If you can’t find the answer online or on your app, call the customer support telephone number on the back of your credit card and ask if your account includes roadside dispatch as a perk.
Credit cards that come with roadside assistance tend to be rewards cards or travel credit cards. Few cards offer this benefit, so if yours does, take advantage of it (though we hope you won’t have to!). Either way, it’s important to find out if you have the benefit, if the day comes when you need it.
How does credit card roadside assistance work?
With roadside assistance through a credit card, cardholders get a dedicated hotline to call in case of an emergency. With some cards, you don’t have to activate a membership account or enroll in the program and are eligible to use the service the day you become a cardholder.
What roadside benefits are
included with a credit card?
Like most credit card benefits, there are terms, conditions, and benefits that come along with roadside dispatch services. Some cards may offer certain types of service free of charge, while others charge a flat fee for each use. To give you an idea of the included roadside services, here’s a list of common service calls.
If your car is inoperable because of engine trouble or faulty brakes, most credit card roadside dispatch services will tow it up to five miles for a set price.
If you have a flat tire or a blowout, you can call your roadside service to come and change your tire for you. They can also make sure your vehicle is safe to drive following the installation.
If you lose your car keys or lock them in the vehicle, roadside dispatch can come to the rescue. They can send a locksmith to provide lockout service and get you back inside. Note that this typically doesn’t include key replacement, only the ability to get into the vehicle.
One of the most frightening things that can happen is going off the road and getting your car stuck in a ditch. With standard winching service, roadside dispatch will send a truck with a heavy-duty cable tow to pull your vehicle out.
Left your lights on by accident while shopping or overnight in your garage? If you end up with a dead car battery and don’t have jumper cables, or you don’t feel comfortable trying to jump start the car yourself, roadside assistance can take care of it for you.
What do you do if your car runs out of gas and you’re nowhere near a gas station? You can call roadside dispatch to deliver up to a set amount of gas to your location. You’re usually responsible to pay for the cost of the fuel.
How does roadside assistance
compare to other providers?
If you have assistance through your insurance carrier or a private vendor, you’ll often pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the program. If you choose to use the roadside assistance benefit on your credit card, you won’t pay any upfront cost to have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered.
However, you’ll typically pay a flat fee each time you call for a covered service. If you never need to call, you’ll never pay, so you can actually save money with credit card roadside assistance.
Who needs credit card
roadside assistance most?
If you drive often for work or to commute via public transportation, you’re a good fit for a credit card roadside assistance plan. If you drive only infrequently, you may still benefit from the peace of mind of knowing roadside assistance is there for you.
You may especially benefit from roadside dispatch if you:
Aren’t handy when it comes to minor vehicle maintenance and repair
Drive often for work
Want to avoid the high cost of emergency towing
Drive a car that’s more than 5 years old
Drive to vacation destinations
Live 20 to 30 miles from your workplace
Roadside assistance when you
need it most
If you drive often, especially to unfamiliar places far from your home, it’s a good idea to make sure you have some type of roadside assistance. Before you sign up for a dedicated service, make sure to check if your credit card includes roadside dispatch as a benefit. You’ll be glad you have a backup plan if and when you need it.