CARCHEX Roadside Assistance has been helping American motorists in a variety of ways since 2003, starting out initially as a provider of pre-purchase inspections for those about to buy a used car, and expanding into other areas of the auto industry in the years’ since. This includes breakdown cover, with its status among the best roadside assistance services (opens in new tab) backed up by a national network of 45,000 service trucks across the US and Canada, and an average response time of 30 minutes when you need help.
If you’ve ever purchased extended vehicle protection, CARCHEX is likely a name you will have come across there too, particularly as the company is rated by ourselves among the very best extended car warranties (opens in new tab) services that you can find today.
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance: Plan options
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance offers three different breakdown plans: the Single Vehicle plan covers one vehicle for a maximum of five service calls in a 12-month period at a cost of $59.95 a year, while Single Vehicle Premium removes the five-call maximum and allows for unlimited rescues for $79.95. The third option - Unlimited Vehicles - allows up to four members to make up to five service calls in a year at a price of $109.95 annually.
Plan options: Single Vehicle - $59.95; Single Vehicle Premium - $79.95; Unlimited Vehicles - $109.95
Free towing: 25 miles
24/7 recovery: Yes
Rescue network: 45,000+
An app for that: Yes
All plans include the same coverage for mechanical first aid (where minor adjustments may be enough to get your vehicle going again), flat tire change, emergency battery service, a lost key or lockout service, and fuel delivery should you run out of gas. Importantly, a round-the-clock emergency towing service is included too, providing up to 25 miles of towing guaranteed at no “out of pocket” expense.
For the price you pay for the Single Vehicle plan in particular, it’s a hugely generous towing distance compared with the seven miles that AAA (opens in new tab) would take you for a similar price, and the five miles available most places else. Indeed, it is only the unlimited tow promise from Good Sam (opens in new tab) that works out better if towing coverage is important to you.
The Single Vehicle Premium is an option if you worry that your car will let you down more than five times in a year, while Unlimited Vehicles is aimed at households with multiple drivers and vehicles. The main thing to consider here, however, is that you’re paying more, but the free towing distance remains at 25 miles - opt for the premium coverage from almost any other rescue service, and you will typically see the towing miles increase too, perhaps up to 200 miles.
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance: Finer details
With CARCHEX Roadside Assistance offering a relatively straightforward roadside assistance service, the finer details are more about what isn’t included than what is. For instance, trip interruption coverage isn’t a feature of any of the CARCHEX plans - if you want such protection, perhaps consider Allstate, which will pay up to $1,500 if your journey results in unexpected expense.
Some will also need to note that CARCHEX Roadside Assistance is not available to residents of California and Puerto Rico, while everyone should be aware that there is a three business day waiting period before you’re allowed to call on CARCHEX’s services - so if you take out a plan on Friday, the earliest you can call for help will be Wednesday of the following week. Regardless of the plan you choose, you’re not allowed to use the rescue services more than once in a 72 hour period either.
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance: Additional benefits
CARCHEX offers its members a mapping service, and will pay a theft reward of $500 for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of someone who steals a member’s vehicle or tagged valuable articles. Besides that, however, extras are few and far between, which is definitely worth considering if you’d make regular use of the food, accommodation and entertainment discounts that you will find with National General Motor Club (opens in new tab), for example.
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance: Service
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance is on call 24/7, and if you ever need assistance, you simply call the toll free number that you’ll find on your contract or on its website. There’s a mobile application too, which provides fast and simple access to your plan, and will send information about your breakdown directly to its call center. The CARCHEX network of over 45,000 rescue trucks is always on standby to help, and outnumbers the 40,000+ that Good Sam has at its disposal. It probably also helps to explain why, on average, CARCHEX can be expected to arrive at your car side within half an hour of you placing your call for assistance.
CARCHEX enjoys an A+ accreditation at the Better Business Bureau (opens in new tab), and an average rating of 2.3 out of 5 across past customer reviews, although it must be said, these are almost exclusively related to its extended warranty service.
Should you use CARCHEX Roadside Assistance?
CARCHEX Roadside Assistance is a good option if you want a straightforward breakdown service that’s ready to help when you’re in motoring trouble, but little else. If you’re a one-car household, the Single Vehicle plan represents excellent value, particularly as you’re getting 25 miles of free towing, compared with the five to seven miles you can usually expect of other similarly priced plans. Unfortunately, the towing mileage doesn’t increase as you go up through the CARCHEX plans, and if you want trip interruption cover and member discounts on your travels, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Essentially, CARCHEX Roadside Assistance does the basics well, but if it’s the roadside extras that appeal to you, other services will be better suited to you.