You're driving down a country road when suddenly your engine makes a funny noise and smoke billows out from under the hood… When that happens, it's handy to have a roadside assistance service. This type of protection comes to your aid when you have a problem on the road, whether it's towing a broken-down vehicle or changing a spare tire. In this article, we'll learn about the services offered by this type of protection and the best roadside assistance programs in the country. Let's go!
- What is a roadside assistance program?
- What services are offered by roadside assistance programs?
- The best roadside assistance programs in Canada
- The best programs from insurers
- The best credit card roadside assistance programs
- The best roadside assistance programs from car manufacturers
What is a roadside assistance program?
Roadside assistance offers a range of services to help motorists with a problem on the road. It shouldn’t be confused with car insurance, which is totally different and covers civil liability and damage to your vehicle. Unlike the third-party liability aspect of car insurance coverage, roadside assistance is not mandatory and is an optional benefit that complements your insurance. It is offered by insurance companies but is also offered by many car manufacturers and by some credit cards.
What services are offered by roadside assistance programs?
Not all roadside assistance programs are the same, but the following services can be found among those offered:
● Towing to a garage in case of breakdown;
● Changing a flat tire;
● Battery boost;
● Fuel delivery;
● Winching (freeing a stuck vehicle);
● Door unlocking.
These services obviously come with certain conditions. For example, you are often limited to a certain number of services or calls per year. Towing to a garage is also usually limited to a maximum distance from the breakdown site, and fuel delivery to a maximum number of litres. Other limitations may exist, so it is always important to read all the conditions on your contract carefully.
The best roadside assistance programs in Canada
We have compiled a list of the best roadside assistance programs in the country. These are divided into three categories: programs offered by insurers, programs included free with credit cards, and programs offered by car manufacturers.
The best programs from insurers
Many insurers include a roadside assistance option in their range of coverages. Here are the best ones.
Canadian Tire is a leader in road safety and offers various levels of coverage. The programs cover drivers, but Canadian Tire also offers family and vehicle-specific coverage too.
The Gold Membership program
The Gold Membership Plan provides comprehensive coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in Canada and the United States. This coverage is available for $99.95 plus tax per year, with an additional cost of $69.95 plus tax for a secondary member. You are entitled to five service calls per year.
Towing to the destination of your choice is available up to 200 km per call. However, please note that towing to a Canadian Tire Centre is not considered a service call and is therefore unlimited! The Gold Program provides two tow trucks for 60 minutes for the towing and recovery service.
You are also entitled to delivery of up to $5 worth of fuel in case you run out of gas. Battery boosting, unlocking and tire replacement with your spare are also available. You are also entitled to $300 in travel accident assistance, and access to exclusive offers and discounts on oil changes, car washes, travel, hotels and much more.
Assistance on request
If you don't want to sign up for one of Canadian Tire's programs, you can still use on-demand roadside assistance in case something goes wrong. The various services are available for a fee: for example, a tow to a Canadian Tire Auto Centre within 10 km costs $70 plus tax.
CAA is another great roadside assistance provider. Three levels of membership are available: CAA Classic, CAA Plus and CAA Premier, but additional membership plans may be available depending on which province you live in. For Ontario residents in the Greater Toronto Area, CAA Plus is the program with the best value for money. It costs $119 per year.
You are entitled to a towing service of up to 200 km, and four free service calls a year. You are also entitled to Road Trip Accident Assitance if you are in a reportable collision while on a road trip holiday, as well as free delivery of enough fuel to reach the nearest gas station.
You are also entitled to battery boosting and replacement, flat tire replacement, and some minor mechanical adjustments on site. Door unlocking is also available. Roadside assistance for your bicycle trips is also available: a patroller will secure your bicycle to his vehicle and escort you to the location of your choice according to the terms of the contract.
CAA membership plans, pricing, and covered services vary by province. To find the best CAA plan for your needs, visit the CAA National website and select Services, then Membership, and select your province of residence.
Intact Insurance offers roadside assistance as an additional option you can add to your car insurance policy. Prices vary depending on the deductible selected, and which province you live in. Roadside assistance is available at any time in Canada and the United States and you are entitled to four service calls per year.
You are entitled to towing within a 50 km radius and free delivery of 10 litres of gas. You are also entitled to battery boosting, door unlocking, wheel changing and winching. Intact Insurance also offers roadside assistance for recreational vehicles, motorbikes, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATV).
Desjardins offers a roadside assistance service that provides double protection: you are covered no matter what vehicle you drive, and your vehicle is covered no matter who the driver is. The annual fee starts at $85.99 to register one vehicle and increases as you add more vehicles.
You get five calls per year anywhere in Canada and the continental United States. You are entitled to towing to a garage within a 10 km radius, as well as fuel delivery. However, the cost of fuel is not covered. Finally, you are also entitled to other basic services, such as unlocking, boosting, towing and flat tire repair.
Beneva (La Capitale)
Beneva, the company that resulted from the merger of La Capitale and SSQ Insurance, offers a comprehensive roadside assistance service. It costs $50 a year if you insure your car and $24 a year for drivers aged 20 to 30 who insure their car and those over 30 who insure their car and home. With a motorbike, travel trailer or motor home insurance, the service is free.
Available in Canada and the United States (except Alaska and Hawaii), this service entitles you to four calls per year. Towing is available for up to 50 km and in the event of running out of gas, you are entitled to 10 litres of free gas. Other standard services are also available.
The service also includes bicycle assistance with towing up to 25 km to your home, or location of choice. Additional services include trip planning assistance, trip interruption insurance and cash advances for U.S. traffic violations.
The best credit card roadside assistance programs
Some credit cards include roadside assistance as a benefit. Here are some of them.
The Triangle World Elite Mastercard
Annual fee: None
Interest rate: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances and balance transfers (21.99% in Quebec)
The Triangle World Elite Mastercard is offered by Canadian Tire. It is available with no annual fee and an income limit of $80,000 in personal income per year or $150,000 per household. In addition to its generous rewards, this card offers Gold Roadside Assistance, with the same terms and conditions mentioned above. The only difference is that you are entitled to towing up to 250 km.
Read More: The Best Canadian Tire Mastercard in Canada
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card
Annual Fee: $139
Interest Rate: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances. Quebec residents may be subject to different rates.
The TD CashBack Visa Infinite* Card entitles you to a free membership in the Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership†, which offers one of the most comprehensive roadside assistance services in the country. Available for $139 annually, this card is only available to those with a minimum personal income of $60,000 per year or a household income of $100,000. Available throughout Canada and the continental U.S., the Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership† entitles you to six service calls per year.
The Deluxe TD Car Membership† entitles you to full emergency towing and breakdown services within a 200 km radius. If your car runs out of fuel, you are entitled to free delivery of 5 L of gasoline. You also benefit from personal transport up to 80 km from your home in case of a mechanical breakdown. In addition, in the event that TD Auto Club† cannot dispatch its services or be reached, you can contact the service of your choice and request a refund, for an amount ranging from $25 to $250 depending on the service.
The services offered by the Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership† don’t stop there. You are entitled to emergency services in the event of a traffic accident, vehicle theft or inclement weather. The TD Auto Club will reimburse you for the following situations:
● Towing (up to $200)
● Emergency transport or rental car (up to $200)
● Emergency accommodation and meals (up to $200)
● Return to the scene of the repairs or the recovered stolen vehicle (up to $200)
● Basic personal expenses at the hotel (up to $50)
In case of an accident, there is no distance limit for emergency services. If your car is stolen, you must be more than 80 km from home and have reported the theft to the police and your insurance company. In the event of bad weather, you must be more than 80 km from home to be eligible for towing within a 200 km radius.
The Deluxe TD Auto Club† also provides access to legal services if you are charged with a traffic violation and reimburses you for a portion of the costs. You are entitled to legal advice (reimbursed up to $150), legal defence ($300) and legal representation at an investigation ($300).
†Terms and conditions apply.
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Read More: TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Credit Card Review: the Anti-Inflation Credit Card?
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
Annual fee: $120
Interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 23.99% on cash advances (21.99% in Quebec)
With the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard, you have access to basic BMO Roadside Assistance coverage. It costs $120 per year and is available to individuals with an annual personal income of at least $80,000 or a household income of $150,000. The service covers Canada and the continental United States, including Alaska, and allows for four calls per year.
Towing is available within a 10 km radius. Approximately 10 litres of gas, or the amount needed to get to the nearest gas station, is available. However, the cost of the fuel is your responsibility. Winching includes a single recovery vehicle for one hour. You are also entitled to battery boosting, door unlocking and tire changing.
Read More: BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard Review for 2022: It’s Made for Experiences
The best roadside assistance programs from car manufacturers
Most car manufacturers nowadays offer some form of roadside protection. Here are the ones that stand out.
Hyundai roadside assistance
When you purchase a vehicle from a Hyundai dealer, you are entitled to five years of roadside assistance on 2015 and newer models and three years on 2014 and older models. In both cases, the mileage is unlimited. There is no explicit limit to the number of service calls per year, but Hyundai reserves the right to restrict access to the program in the event of abuse.
You are entitled to towing within a 100 km radius and delivery of up to 11 litres of fuel (at your expense). Basic services (tire change, unlocking, etc.) are also provided. In addition, you are entitled to minor mechanical repairs on site, a bonding service in the U.S. and assistance in case of an accident while travelling. Hyundai will reimburse you up to $300 for transportation, hotel and meals if you are more than 100 km from home.
Honda roadside assistance
New owners of Honda vehicles are eligible for Honda Plus Roadside Assistance. This program is available for three years from the date of original vehicle registration. It covers all of Canada and the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
You are entitled to towing to a Honda dealer of your choice within 100 km or the nearest one within 500 km. Battery boosting, flat tire replacement and fuel delivery (fuel cost at your expense) are also included. Winching is covered up to $200.
Honda Plus also offers Trip Interruption Assistance if you have a breakdown more than 100 km from home. You will be reimbursed for accommodation, meals and car rental expenses up to $500. If you have an accident while travelling, your vehicle will be towed to a Honda dealership and your expenses covered up to $600.
Toyota roadside assistance
Toyota offers 36 months of roadside assistance to new owners, with no mileage limit. Service is available in Canada, the United States and U.S. territories. Towing is available to the Toyota dealer of your choice within 50 km or to the nearest dealer within 300 km.
Battery boosting, winching and tire replacement is available, as well as delivery of up to 5L of gas. Door unlocking is also available, however labour and replacement keys are at your expense. If, for any reason, Toyota Assistance cannot be reached, you may be reimbursed for other services up to $250 for towing and $100 for emergency services.
Compare Canadian car insurance policies and find the one that best suits your needs.
About The Author: Louis Angot
Louis Angot is a French writer at Hardbacon where he is in charge of informing readers of the best practices in personal finance. After graduating from Concordia University with a degree in journalism and art history, he studied fashion marketing and journalism in Paris for two years. An ardent writer, he has written for several media, including Carenews, a company specialized in social and solidarity economy.
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