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Monday, January 25th
Originally offering services to dealerships and commercial customers for almost 30 years, Houston-based Best Roadside Service checks all the boxes for individual roadside assistance plans: accredited with the BBB and currently holding an A+ rating. Plans are administered through Nation Motor Club, which has been in business for more than 50 years, handling more than 70,000 roadside assistance calls per month. Even more, Best Roadside Service's website has dozens of satisfied customer testimonials from around the country and Canada.
Their service coverage includes what one would expect from a roadside assistance plan: 24-hour towing, jump start, flat tire repair, lockout service, lost key replacement up to $100, delivery of 3 gallons of fuel at no charge, $50 toward extraction/winching, and the unique service of emergency personal assistance (such as sending messages to members' loved ones in an emergency). Best Roadside Service also gives members access to trip/travel routing services as well as discounts with other businesses, similar to what is offered by bigger-name companies in the roadside assistance industry.
We were also impressed with their coverage of towing up to 75 miles, especially when many household-name providers of roadside assistance only cover a mere five miles. Also, their average response time from call to arrival on-scene is an impressive 34 minutes. Their software can even use the member's cell phone to dispatch providers while on the call with customer service, and support is available in English, Spanish, and French.
Coverage is available for motorcycles and scooters, but there are no plans for RVs or trailers. Best Roadside Service's website clearly spells out any limitations on their plans, such as four calls per year on individual plans, lockout coverage up to $100, and no coverage for extrication/dig-out of snowbound vehicles.
Where Best Roadside Service falls short is in their plan structure and in their refund policy. Unlike most plans, Best Roadside's coverage is limited either to one vehicle or to one member. For families with multiple vehicles or multiple drivers, the cost of membership would go up quickly in order to cover more than one car or to cover members regardless of the vehicle. The majority of other roadside assistance companies either cover all vehicles or all drivers-or both. Also, family members must reside at the same address in order to be covered; this may not include children who are away at college within the membership plan.
With respect to refunds, Best Roadside Service will give members a prorated refund, minus an administrative fee of $10, only if the service hasn't been used for any reason. If a customer has an unsatisfactory experience with the service received, there is no opportunity to obtain a refund of any membership fees paid. This strikes us as overly harsh and might make customers reluctant to try their plans.
Overall, we like Best Roadside's generous 75-mile towing allowance, the clear evidence of customer satisfaction, and their easy-to-understand website. However, we think their refund policy is much stricter than other roadside assistance plans, and their pricing structure might be too expensive for families with multiple vehicles and/or drivers.
Whether on a cross-country road trip or a quick errand across town, it's never a good time for a vehicle to break down. With a Roadside Assistance plan, drivers have protection against the inconvenience and danger of being stranded by the side of the road and can trust that help will be on the way.
While motor clubs used to be the only way to access these protection plans, today there is a wide range of Roadside Assistance plans from which to choose, from credit card providers to insurance companies. Plans can include flat-tire changing, fuel or coolant delivery, help with stuck vehicles, and some even offer financial help with legal defense in the event of a speeding ticket!
Some plans also tie the coverage to specific vehicles, while others allow the covered member (and often the other drivers in the household) to receive roadside service regardless of the vehicle. The latter can be particularly useful if a covered member is riding in a car belonging to another driver when a breakdown occurs, as the coverage will be extended to servicing that vehicle.
If you're shopping for a reputable provider of Roadside Assistance, you should consider the following.
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