How Long Does Roadside Assistance Take?

There's nothing worse than having a busy day planned, only for your car to break down in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest repair shop miles away. If you don't know a thing about fixing cars, changing a tire, or why smoke is coming out from under your hood, it's easy to start freaking out. Sure, you can call a friend or family member, but what if they're busy or too far away? Your best bet is to call roadside assistance. But how long will they take, and how much will it cost? Scroll down below to find out.

What Is Roadside Assistance?


man checking tires on woman's broken car
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Emergency roadside assistance is a service that helps you when your car has problems on the road. They can help with a variety of issues, from simple problems like a flat tire or running out of gas, to more complex issues such as mechanical failures or even when you accidentally lock yourself out of your car. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Most auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an add-on service, and it's also available through automobile clubs like AAA (American Automobile Association), or even through your car's manufacturer, sometimes included with the purchase of a new car. Each plan can be different, so it's important to know what yours covers.

Roadside assistance provides a range of services such as:

  • Tire Change
  • Battery Jump Start Service
  • Battery Replacement
  • Lockout Services
  • Fuel Delivery
  • Tow Truck Service

How Long Does Roadside Assistance Take?

The wait time can vary but typically you can expect help to arrive within 30 minutes to an hour. How long you wait will depend on your location, the types of assistance required, the time of day, and the traffic situation.

What Should You Do While You Wait for Assistance?


woman stuck on the side of the road with broken down car waiting for help
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First, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic, like the side of the road or a parking lot. If moving your car isn't possible, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your presence.

Next, if you have them, place reflective triangles or safety cones behind your vehicle to make your car more visible to passing cars. While you wait, stay inside your vehicle if it's safe to do so, especially if you're on a busy road.

Third, keep your phone nearby and charged if you can in case roadside assistance calls to ask for additional details or to update you on the arrival time.

Finally, prepare any documentation or information you might need to provide to the roadside assistance personnel, such as your membership details if you're part of an auto club, your vehicle's make and model, and your precise location.

What Does Roadside Assistance Not Cover?

While roadside service assistance can be great in many situations, it's important to know that there are certain scenarios and costs it does not cover. This includes:

Repairs at a Garage: Roadside assistance is primarily designed to get you back on the road or tow your vehicle to a repair facility. It does not cover the cost of repairs once your vehicle is at a garage. Any replacement parts, labor, and other service fees will be your responsibility.

Multiple Tows: If your vehicle needs to be towed, roadside assistance typically covers a tow to the nearest repair facility or a location within a certain number of miles. If you want your vehicle towed to a specific location that's further away, you'll need to incur additional charges.

Accidents and Collision Towing: While some roadside assistance coverage plans do offer towing after an accident, many do not. Towing and repairs needed due to collisions may fall under your auto insurance policy's comprehensive or collision coverage.

Service in Unreachable Areas: If your vehicle is stuck in an area that's difficult to access, such as off-road trails, beaches, or other non-public roads, roadside assistance may not be able to reach you. In these cases, specialized towing services might be necessary, and additional fees will apply.

Frequent Service Calls: Emergency roadside services plans often have limits on the number of calls you can make within a certain period (typically a year). If you exceed this limit, you'll have to pay out of pocket for additional services.

Vehicles Not Covered: Most roadside assistance plans specify which vehicles are covered under your policy. This typically includes passenger cars and may extend to trailers or RVs. Commercial vehicles, motorcycles, or certain types of recreational vehicles might not be covered.

What Are Your Other Options Besides Roadside Assistance?


car at the garage with big red toolbox
Credit: Envato Elements/ fxquadro

If you've not opted for roadside assistance service or can't get help from friends or family, here's what you can do:

  • If you know how and have the right tools, you can try fixing small issues like flat tires or dead batteries yourself.
  • If you're close to a town or city, you can call a local mechanic or garage for help. Many local shops offer towing and roadside assistance services for a fee.
  • You can also try calling an independent towing service. This option might be more expensive, especially without a membership or coverage plan, but it's a reliable choice if you can't find any other options available.

How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost?

The price of roadside service depends on where you got your coverage from and what services are included. For starters, some car insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an add-on service, and it's usually quite cheap – around $10 to $20 per year. On the other hand, if you're considering auto clubs like AAA, it's a bit pricier, usually ranging from about $70 to $150 per year.


Roadside emergency response times can vary depending on various factors, including location, time of day, weather conditions, workload, and the type of assistance needed. While wait times may be unavoidable in some situations, knowing what to expect and staying informed can help alleviate stress when facing car troubles on the road.

Want to make sure you're always prepared during emergencies? Check out Emergency USA's roadside assistance kit. With jumper cables, first aid kits, safety vests, and more, our kit ensures you stay ready for anything the road throws your way. Shop with us today.