How To Get Roadside Assistance in New York

New York provides free roadside emergency services on certain major roadways, but purchasing roadside assistance is always a good idea.
Written by Stephanie Southmayd
Edited by Kianna Walpole
background
New York
’s HELP program provides free roadside emergency services on many major roads during peak travel times—but purchasing
roadside assistance
through a
car insurance
company or club is still a good idea.
  • You may be eligible for roadside assistance through your insurer, credit card company, vehicle manufacturer, or a roadside assistance club like AAA. 
  • New York’s Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) program offers free roadside assistance and minor auto repairs during peak commute times on major high-volume roadways.
  • The HELP program doesn’t have a phone number. Drivers must call 911 and the police will dispatch a truck on your behalf.

How to get roadside assistance in New York 

If you break down while driving, roadside assistance is generally provided through New York’s Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) line. 
However, if you’re looking for additional protection with added benefits, roadside assistance coverage can save you quite a bit of money compared to HELP. Either way, it’s always a good idea to look into your roadside assistance options before you find yourself stranded to help you get back on the road. 
Fortunately, there are lots of options out there, especially in New York, and NYC in general. You can opt for assistance via your insurance provider, a roadside assistance company like AAA, your vehicle’s manufacturer, or your credit card company.

Roadside assistance clubs in New York

You’ve probably heard of
AAA
—one of the most recognizable names in roadside assistance. Although AAA and similar clubs, like Better World Club and Good Sam, tend to be the most expensive roadside assistance options, they come with benefits that may make
the higher price worth it
A basic AAA membership comes with the following benefits: 
  • Car lockout
    services (locksmith)
  • Dead battery services 
  • Tire change services
  • Car towing/tow truck services up to seven miles (four times per year)
Pricier plans offer more perks, such as towing service benefits up to 200 miles, trip disruption coverage, and even free car rentals

Insurance companies offering roadside assistance

Popular auto insurance service providers like
Nationwide
,
Allstate
, and
Progressive
offer roadside assistance as an add-on benefit for an average of $10 to $15 per year for drivers with full coverage. 
Insurers may refer to roadside assistance as “towing and labor coverage,” but the benefits are the same—this coverage offers everything from jump starts to roadside tire repairs, lockout or
fuel delivery
services, battery replacements, motorcycle towing and more.
When shopping for a car insurance policy, mention that you want roadside assistance, and feel free to compare several quotes from several different providers. This way, you’ll find the best coverage for you at the
cheapest-possible price in New York

Credit card companies offering roadside assistance

Before purchasing roadside assistance through a special club or springing for an extended warranty package, check if your credit card company or credit union offers roadside assistance.
Some examples of credit card companies that offer this perk are
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Wells Fargo 
  • U.S. Bank 
If your credit card is a Visa, roadside assistance is automatically included—but it comes with a fee. For non-Visa credit cards, options vary significantly. Make sure to check the terms of your credit card to see what you’re eligible for, as well as how to access your benefits. 

Vehicle manufacturers offering roadside assistance

If you purchase a brand-new vehicle, your manufacturer might offer roadside assistance as part of their factory warranty. Keep in mind that this won’t be for the entire life of your vehicle, but it should cover you for two to five years.
Take a look at these examples:
  • Ford:
    Five years or 60,000 miles
  • Honda
    : Three years or 36,000 miles 
  • Hyundai
    : Five years with unlimited mileage
  • Kia
    : Five years or 60,000 miles 
  • Nissan
    : Three years or 36,000 miles
  • Tesla:
    Four years of 50,000 miles 
  • Toyota
    : Two years with unlimited mileage 

How to find free roadside assistance in New York

New York’s Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) program offers free roadside emergency services during peak commuter hours on many major roadways throughout the state.
HELP provides a variety of services for disabled vehicles, including:
  • Flat tire repair
  • Jump-starting a battery
  • Offering coolant for radiators
  • Giving directions or alternate routes
  • Lending cell phones to make local calls
The HELP program does not have its own phone number. If you’re stranded on the highway and don’t have your own road service, you can call 9-1-1. An operator will dispatch a HELP provider to you.
HELP only offers their roadside assistance services during commuter hours on weekdays, and exclusively serves the metro areas of Albany, Buffalo, Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City, and Rochester. So, if you break down in an not-covered area, like Brooklyn, Manhattan, or the Bronx, you might not benefit from HELP. 
If you simply need traffic-related information, you can dial 5-1-1, which will provide the following information:
  • Emergency alerts about major transportation problems
  • Traffic conditions, camera images, speeds
  • Work zones and construction reports
  • Weather conditions and forecasts

FAQs

AAA’s roadside assistance number is (800) 222-4357. If you’re a AAA member, you can call 24/7 for assistance.
Yes—but it’s only available in certain regions and during peak commuter hours
For more adequate coverage, it’s best to add towing and labor coverage to your car insurance policy, opt for a vehicle warranty that includes roadside assistance, or purchase a plan through a roadside assistance company, like Better World Club, Good Sam, or AAA.
You can contact the Thruway’s emergency services helpline at 1-800-842-2233, or call 911
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