How to Get Roadside Assistance in Iowa

Roadside assistance is free in Iowa in certain areas and on specific roadways. Learn more about additional options for paid assistance here.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
Free roadside assistance is provided through the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Highway Helper program to help motorists stranded on the interstate system. 
As DOT roadside services are restricted to certain areas and specific roadways, drivers can still benefit from paying for roadside assistance from auto clubs or
car insurance
companies. This will ensure they can get help promptly outside of the Highway Helper service range.
Roadside assistance typically includes jumpstarts, tire changes, fuel delivery, and transportation to a safe location. Not only do these services give you peace of mind, but they also ensure that you are assisted promptly and kept out of harm’s way. Below, find a list of the best roadside assistance in Iowa.

How to get roadside assistance in Iowa

Getting roadside assistance quickly is a matter of preparation—that is, already knowing what options there are so you don’t have to panic in the event of a breakdown. Fortunately, getting roadside assistance won’t put a big dent in your wallet.
You can secure roadside assistance from your insurance company, through your credit card, or with auto clubs like AAA. The benefit of paying for roadside assistance instead of relying on free state-sponsored programs is that you’ll be covered no matter what.

Roadside assistance clubs in Iowa

One of the most well-known roadside assistance clubs is
. However, this is also usually the most costly option
Depending on the membership tier you choose, roadside assistance can cost $60 to $165 per year. That being said, AAA membership comes with a plethora of benefits and discounts on auto services, so the
higher price is probably worth it
for most drivers.
If you opt for the AAA Classic/Basic membership, you can enjoy the following benefits: 
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Towing service up to 3 miles a year
  • Flat tire
    dead battery
  • Car lockout service
  • Fuel delivery service
  • Discount on auto services, including car rental, oil changes, windshield replacement, and more
The higher tiers will give you higher limits on services, such as a 200-mile tow and free one-day car rental with an AAA Premier membership. 
If your car requires frequent servicing, a roadside assistance club membership can help you lower your maintenance costs—not to mention come to the rescue no matter where you’re stranded.
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Manufacturers that offer roadside assistance

If you recently purchased a vehicle, see if your car’s manufacturer includes free roadside assistance benefits. These benefits often come into effect on the car’s delivery date and last for a defined period or mileage:
  • Acura
    : Four years or 50,000 mileage
  • Audi
    : Four years with unlimited mileage
  • Chevrolet
    : Three years or 36,000 mileage
  • Ford:
    Five years or 60,000 mileage
  • Jeep
    : Five years or 60,000 miles
  • Lexus
    : Four years or 50,000 miles
  • Mazda
    : Three years or 36,000 mileage
  • Toyota
    : Two years with unlimited mileage 
  • Volkswagen
    : Three years or 36,000 miles

Credit card companies that offer roadside assistance

Another way to access roadside assistance benefits is through your credit card company. Major credit card issuers will often offer this benefit to their customers. Below are some examples:
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo 
  • U.S. Bank 
Roadside Dispatch is offered through Visa at a flat fee. Select Mastercard Platinum, World, and World Elite cards will also give you access to roadside assistance, but the services you use will determine the fees you’re charged.
To find out what roadside assistance services you have access to, check your credit card terms so you can take advantage when you need to use these services.

Insurance companies that offer roadside assistance

Finally, the most convenient way to get roadside assistance is through your car insurance provider. This is usually the most affordable way to secure these services, especially for anyone with an older vehicle. 
Major car insurance providers, such as
State Farm
, and
, have options for roadside assistance coverage available. These add-ons generally cost an extra $10 to $20 per year
Your provider may call it
towing and labor coverage
, but it will still include essential services  such as fuel delivery, jumpstarts, lockout services, and tire changes. 
Don’t forget to compare roadside assistance coverage and prices from multiple insurers. Not only will this help you find the cheapest add-on rate, but you could also find a new insurance policy with the same coverage at a lower premium.

How to find free roadside assistance in Iowa

The Highway Helper program by the Iowa DOT provides free assistance to motorists stuck on roads in
Des Moines
Council Bluffs
, Cedar Rapids/
Iowa City
, and the Quad Cities metro area.
All drivers and the public in Iowa can access this free emergency service by dialing 911. The following are provided for free by Highway Helper: 
  • 2 gallons of fuel
  • Tire changes
  • Jumpstarts
  • Transportation to a safe location
The trucks dispatched are also equipped to provide traffic control and clear roads for emergency responders. This allows for prompt incident response and reduced traffic due to an accident, flat tire, or other emergencies.
The prompt response is thanks to the Iowa DOT Traffic Management Center. Operators monitor roadways through traffic cameras to ensure Highway Helper trucks are dispatched quickly where service is required.
That being said, the Highway Helper program only provides basic assistance—enough to get stranded motorists off the road. Perks and extensive benefits from paid roadside assistance providers will not be available
blew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 in savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R.
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You can easily contact AAA’s roadside assistance by dialing 1-800-222-4357. AAA members have access to this service 24/7.
Yes—service is only available in specific areas, but coverage has expanded since the conception of the Highway Helper program.
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