What Is Towing and Labor Coverage? Do I Need It?

Towing and labor coverage pays for some of the costs associated with breakdowns, including towing, tire changes, and battery assistance.
Written by Carol Chung
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Towing and labor coverage—often known as roadside assistance—covers some of the costs associated with unexpected breakdowns, such as towing, tire changes, and battery assistance.
  • Towing and labor coverage offers protection if you experience a breakdown and usually includes towing, tire changes, battery assistance, and lockout services.
  • Some insurance companies include roadside assistance in their full-coverage
    car insurance
    packages, while others offer it as an add-on.
  • On average, adding towing and labor coverage to your insurance policy will cost $10 to $15 per month.

What is towing and labor coverage?

Towing and labor coverage is often referred to as
roadside assistance
. It provides protection against some of the expenses and hassles associated with car breakdowns. 
This insurance typically covers the cost of towing your vehicle to a mechanic when it can’t be driven, as well as the labor costs incurred at the location of the breakdown.
You can add towing and labor coverage to an existing car insurance policy for an additional cost, though some insurance companies include it in their
full-coverage insurance
policies. Since this is optional coverage, it isn’t included in minimum
liability insurance

What does towing and labor coverage include?

The services included in towing and labor coverage vary from insurer to insurer, but they may include:
  • Towing
  • Tire changes
  • Delivery of oil and gas
  • Battery assistance
  • Lockout assistance
  • Labor charges at the breakdown location

Towing and labor coverage doesn’t include parts

You should be aware that towing and labor coverage usually doesn’t cover the cost of parts. 
While your auto insurance policy may include the fee for jump-starting your battery, it might not pay to replace your dead battery with a new one.

How much does towing and labor coverage cost?

Towing and labor coverage generally won’t raise your insurance premium significantly. On average, you may pay an extra $10 to $15 each month.
Here are some factors that can impact the cost of your coverage:
  • Insurance company
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Age of the car—related to its likelihood of breaking down
You typically can’t buy roadside assistance coverage as a standalone product—you’ll need to add it to your existing car insurance coverage. 
Some insurance companies may require
collision insurance
comprehensive coverage
before you can add towing and labor to your policy. 

Towing and labor coverage limits

As with other forms of auto insurance, towing and labor coverage comes with set limits. Your limit will depend on your individual policy.
To find out what your limit is, contact your insurance company. Limits may include:
  • Total number of claims in a 12-month period
  • Cap on your costs per breakdown
  • Caveats around longer-distance tows
Note that towing and labor coverage usually only applies to your car. If you hop behind the wheel of a vehicle belonging to a friend or employer, you won’t be protected.

When towing and labor coverage is worth it (and when it isn’t)

Towing and labor coverage can come to the rescue in all kinds of scenarios:
Consider how and where you drive when you’re weighing the merits of towing and labor coverage. 
  • Towing and labor coverage might be worth it if: you drive frequently and eat up a lot of miles, you often drive outside the city (where towing distances are greater)
  • Towing and labor coverage probably isn’t necessary if: you work from home and don’t spend a lot of time commuting or on the road.
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