Which Roadside Assistance Program?


#1

My Dad has used AAA for 40 years, and we’ve always gotten towed in NY. However, it usually takes 2 hrs of waiting for the truck (better than paying every time though).



I just bought a new car, and of course don’t expect to need to be towed. But I do think I ought to have my own coverage, just in case.



Geico (who I have insurance through) offers towing coverage for ~ $10 a year. AAA is $80 per member (or that’s what my Dad pays) per year.



My question is is it worth paying more for AAA? I’ve only ever used the roadside assistance, but the big deal is AAA will tow up to 100 miles. This is important as the basic 3 or 10 mile coverage won’t even get us to a town half the time (where I might break down), forget to a garage, or to the mechanic I prefer. I need at least 30 mile coverage if I want to get to my preferred mechanic, and more like 50 to get to the car dealership.



So, which should I get?


#2

Check your bumper to bumper warranty, most new cars come with roadside assistance, including towing. Personally I would stick with AAA, one tow is going to more than $80. If you are under your Dad’s AAA coverage, each additional member is about 1/2 the normal rate.

Ed B.


#3

I’ve never bothered with AAA or the others, but I do have towing coverage on my auto insurance. I know I can always get a tow truck if I need one, and I can get (at least partially) reimbursed from my insurance if I do need a tow. Remember, these folks are making money off your membership, so on average you are going to pay more in fees than you use, especially if you have a new car.


#4

I use CAA (the Canadian branch of AAA) and have gotten my money out of it and then some. Really, $80 a year is pretty cheap insurance, plus, if you ever travel anywhere, you get free maps and guidebooks, which, if purchased separately, can easily cost more than the cost of membership. I went on a cross-Canada road trip last year, and got maybe $150 worth of maps and books for free, while paying only $70 for the year. Stick with AAA, it’s worth it.


#5

Completely agree and lets not forget the AAA approved repair places so if you are stuck far from home; you at least have a few good mechanics to chose from.


#6

See if your dad will add you to his AAA with you paying the additional. It’s pretty cheap to add family members and they don’t have to live in the same house or anything.

Personally I have AARP roadside assistance plan because it covers my motorcycle without any extra fee like AAA wants. It doesn’t sound like you are old enough for that one.


#7

An emergency road service (towing) rider on your car insurance policy is the cheapest way to go. However, you will have to pay the tow truck and then submit the bill to your insuror for reimbursement. With AAA, you don’t have to go through this.

I have used my emergency road service rider several times with no complaints from my insuror.


#8

Good comments so far, I will add two points;

  1. I don’t think the wait is going to be any shorter with your insurance carrier’s service.
  2. I have heard that sometimes your premiums go higher when you use the service. They just add that to your “risk” profile. Do some research on this.
    I myself went from AAA to nothing and then back to AAA. When I had nothing I had the yellowpages towing section in my dash. Pepboys has free towing in most places to their shops if you use them. Fair deal when you are stuck.

#9

Road coverage on your insurance and AAA or similar are two different animals. Insurance will only reimburse you when you have a tow. AAA or similar will find you the tow and get a guy out there. If you have ever been out in the middle of nowhere or on a holiday and needed to find a tow, good luck without assistance by AAA or a car club. I have Ammoco myself, plus I have towing on my insurance also, but the main reason I have Ammoco is to have one number to call 24 hrs a day regardless of where I am. Plus with AAA or Ammoco there are other travel benefits and discounts etc., but don’t compare it to towing on your insurance policy.


#10

In over 40 years of driving I have had to have assistance five times.

  1. Backed into a ditch on a country road. The farmer pulled me out with his tractor, nice guy. Five minute wait.

  2. A few days before my wedding a gas station that pumped 5 gallons into my car was going to tow it back to their station with a pickup truck and a short rope

  3. My brother towed me a few blocks to the shop.

  4. A jump start for a dead battery AAA free 1 hour weight.

  5. A Jump for a dead battery 2 hour weight AAA free

That is about once every ten years or $800 per tow. Kind of expensive if you ask me.


#11

Hmmm…That 2 hour weight was a heavy price to pay!
;-))

But, to return to the OP’s question, in addition to the other benefits for AAA members that were mentioned, let me add a couple of others:

Some car washes give a discount to AAA members. At my car wash, I save $2.00 by showing my AAA card. This alone saves me $40.00 or more each year.

Some museums and other cultural facilities give discounts to AAA members. I recall saving $3.00 each on a couple of adult admissions to an art museum last summer.

Many lodging chains provide a nice discount to AAA members. If you travel, this can really amount to a substantial saving.

Other merchants also provide substantial discounts to AAA members. If I recall correctly, one of the large eyeglass purveyors (Lenscrafters??) gives a 20% discount.

All of these discounts add up to a significant amount of savings over the course of a year.


#12

What I’m more interested in is why don’t (or do) you use AAA, and what’s better (cheaper, whatever) about Ammoco? Maybe a short review?


#13

I would recomend the Roadside assitance with at&T cell phone service. I have this and have used it twice this year. the first time was to unlock my door, I had to wait about 45 minutes. The second time was at 11 PM on friday night when my truck broke the drive shaft. I had to wait about an hour and a half. I didn’t pay any thing either time but they have a limit of $50 worth of service. The Roadside assitance costs me 2.99 per month and I can use it 4 times a year.


#14

I have been with Allstate Motor Club for 15 years and they are cheaper and better than AAA. I even got a tow truck on the New York State Thruway at 4pm on Christmas Eve within 45 minutes.