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Auto clubs: AAA vs Autovantage?

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by usa264, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. usa264

    usa264 TUG Member

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    What auto clubs do you using? I’m member of AAA for long time, but now looking for alternative. I’m not really calling for service more than one time a year, but just in case I’d like to have membership in auto club in case of emergency. I leave in small town in MA. Basic AAA membership for 2 peoples cost ~ $80 with towing just few miles. My son reached driving age. He doesn't have his own car, and he would take one of our two cars for ride sometimes. AAA membership is personal, so I need to add him to AAA as third members that would cost another $35 a year just to share primary membership benefits we already paid.

    Today I watch ad on tv about AutoVantage auto club that promise better service for entire family just for $69 a year and claim availability in all 50 states. Too nice to be truth? Any experience with autovantage?
     
  2. presley

    presley TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I haven't heard of Autoadvantage, but I'm in the same boat with you. Just got my AAA renewal and my son just got his permit. I've never used my AAA. It's hard to keep paying for something that never gets used. I'm not sure if I will renew this time.

    Some other things offer similar services like credit cards and phones. I was thinking I'd look at my agreements and see if any of them have a towing service available to add on.
     
  3. RX8

    RX8 TUG Member

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    I've never had AAA but it seems like they send me solicitations in the mail every six months.

    I don't know anything about Autovantage but if you do a google search you will find a number of complaints as well as a BBB rating of F. However, I will add that there is just one complaint and the AAA, which seems to be separate entities across the US, have some BBBs rated F and some rated A+.

    AAA has been around a lot longer than Autovantage, if that is important to you. Personally, whenever I see "as seen on TV", as Autovantage states, I get a little skeptical.

    Many, if not all new cars, come with complimentary roadside assistance for a minimum of three years. That covers the car (and whoever is driving it).
     
  4. MichaelColey

    MichaelColey TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Check with your car insurance company. I know that State Farm offers an extremely affordable roadside assistance plan, at least here in Texas. (I know things can vary from state to state.) If I remember right, it was something like $6 every 6 months.

    We have AAA, but primarily for the travel discounts.
     
  5. UWSurfer

    UWSurfer Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We wrestle with this now and again but tend to drive older cars (10+ years old) and it's worth it to us to have not only the roadside assistance but pay for the 100 mile tow option as well given the odds are higher that we could use it.

    In SoCal, the AAA has a great network of providers and are very prompt and efficient. The club offices offer services we utilize now and again and we mostly feel like we get our money's worth from them. We also use their discounts now and again although we don't rely on them.

    I'll add however there is a conflict for me as an advocate of cycling for transportation as AAA lobbies before local, state and federal government agencies against policies and projects which make it safer for cyclists. Just like the AARP thread I'm not going to go any further to avoid the politics issue, but will note there are other clubs out there which serve as alternatives to avoid that conflict, unfortunately they are not as full service as AAA.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  6. egg1701

    egg1701 Guest

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    I have AAA Gold now that I have newer cars I hardly ever use them for anything. Probably get a new passport and international license. I never use them for any travel discounts even car rentals I always find it cheaper elsewhere same with RCI. It makes sense to have AAA if you drive a lemon. Last time I use a tow was 2 years ago in an accident that was 75 miles from my house. Car was total. Best 55.00 I ever spent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  7. MuranoJo

    MuranoJo TUG Member

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    DH switched us from AAA to Good Sam. He thought it was less expensive and it covered both of us and all cars for one price when he signed up. May be worth checking into.
     
  8. pedro47

    pedro47 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We have AAA Gold also because we travel primary from Virginia to FL twice per year. We have use AAA also for passports and international licenses.

    The best cruise & car rental deals are from Costco Travel.

    I am also going to check State Farm out.
     
  9. Rent_Share

    Rent_Share Guest

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    As the kids aged into college age we switched to a towing program associated with our insurer, because AAA SoCal became too expensive for four drivers.

    IMHO the response time is 2 X the service AAA, YTMV :whoopie: $ savings is significant.
     
  10. AnnaS

    AnnaS TUG Member

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    We have had AAA (I think Plus) for years and got it for each of my kids when they started to drive. Each of my kids started driving used cars. One son used it a ton of times and my other son once or twice. DH and I have used it also once or twice.

    We all have new cars more and probably don't need it but worth it for the peace of mind. We use AAA discounts whenever we can.

    Don't know anything about Good Sam or Autovantage. I do know dealers and car insurance companies offer their own road side assistance too (some free/some charge).

    Can you google for any reviews/comments?
     
  11. sfwilshire

    sfwilshire TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We switched to AAA Platinum when we had one kid in school approximately 200 miles away. It includes 200 mile towing. He is no longer on our policy, but we haven't switched down to the Plus again because there isn't that much difference in price. With the Plus we got towed once about 170 miles when our transmission went out on vacation. We had to pay for the extra 70 miles, but it was at a reduced rate negotiated by AAA, so wasn't bad at all. It was nearly $3000 cheaper to get the transmission fixed at home than the estimate near where we broke down, plus we all had work or school the next day. My husband left the kids and I in a hotel overnight because the tow truck could only carry two passengers. He had to drive another car back the next day to pick us up.

    It seems like a lot when I pay the bill every year, but when my 19yo called from 125 miles away from home to say his car died while the rest of us were a long way from home on vacation, it was nice to just have him make the phone call to AAA.

    The time I remember the most being glad I was a AAA member was many years ago when I was working in Atlanta and driving my own car. I had to be at one of our locations VERY early in the morning, so I was on the beltway at about 4:30 in the morning when I had a flat. When AAA came, the spare was marginal. The gentleman followed me to my office, a few miles away, just to make sure I was safe. I borrowed a company car to drive home over the weekend. My mechanic back home found me a full size spare wheel and tire to replace the donut I had. I went back to Atlanta the following Monday, called AAA again, and they came over and put my new spare on.

    I don't often remember to ask for the various discounts AAA includes, but they do get us 10% off at one of our favorite restaurants.

    I know my kids have used the lockout service when they were on our account. My daughter locked a baby she was caring for in the car one day. AAA got there faster than we could have with the spare key. The Platinum even includes house lockout service, but we have other options for that.

    Sheila
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  12. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We've used AAA since forever. We went with AARP for a while, but switched back.
    One website rates Allstate Motor Club and BP Motor Club ahead of AAA.


    2014 Best Roadside Assistance Services
    #1 Allstate Motor Club (9.78)
    #2 BP MotorClub (9.13)
    #3 AAA (8.85)
    #4 Paragon Motor Club (8.63)
     
  13. nightnurse613

    nightnurse613 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    We have used AAA for years. Changing a flat tire in 110 degrees is NOT a job I would cherish (and my husband agrees) however, we don't have the UNLIMITED service that some people talk about. It used to seem like that but now it's relegated to a couple service calls a year. We have (and pay for) a joint membership but the first call goes to my husband who brings another car; I go home and sit in the air conditioning while he waits for the tech!! :banana: Obviously there are "classes" of membership but the most I see are about 4 calls a year. A while back my truck would not start (intermittent start problems). I called AAA and they came out and checked the battery and told me the battery was fine and they would call a tow but it would count as a second service call (because I should have known it wasn't the battery??). Once the tech left the truck started and I cancelled the second service call. My new car has 2 year roadside assistance (plus it's a Toyota) so I probably won't ever use that! :shrug:
     
  14. JoeWilly

    JoeWilly TUG Member

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    We just got AAA again after many years of not having it for our kids. Our son was in an auto accident; we had roadside assistance on the auto policy and we were told towing was included. Since this was an older vehicle, we only had liability coverage. Long story short, we paid approx. $500 to have the vehicle towed. Progressive, denied paying the towing bill as they said because of the liability only coverage, towing is not included if you're in an accident. I called and spoke to about five different Progressive representatives and they all said it was covered. Finally, a rep. said they were almost certain towing was covered, but they'd check with some specialty department to be sure. They came back on the line and said towing is not covered if you have liability only, even with roadside assistance. You can't even purchase towing with liability only if you wanted to in Washington State with Progressive. That rep. was very surprised. Check your policy carefully. Had I been told the correct answer in the beginning when we took out the insurance policy, I would have gladly purchased AAA separately.

    Fast forward a couple of months. We purchased AAA immediately after learning the above wasn't covered. Our son went to drive home after a day of skiing and discovered he lost his keys. He called AAA, gave them a partial VIN number (he could only read part of the VIN because he had a piece of paper covering part of the number). A locksmith arrived about an hour or two later at the top of the mountain and made him a key. Cost--priceless!!!

    Also, they will cover you if you are riding a bicycle and need assistance (flat tire, chain comes off, etc.) You have to get to a main road so they can find you, but you'll be covered. I'm surprised after reading another post that they lobby against bicyclist as they cover this service.

    As long as we drive old cars, have adult children that loose their keys or run out of gas, lock themselves out of their car, or have an insurance company that doesn't cover towing for accidents, etc., we'll keep AAA.
     
  15. sfwilshire

    sfwilshire TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I had to book four hotels this morning for various business trips. I travel on Government rate, but always check the AAA rate as well. Two of the weeks I needed were several dollars cheaper per day at the AAA rate. It isn't my money, but I try to be as frugal as possible when I travel, whether it is for work or for leisure.

    Sheila
     
  16. FegelyTwinMommy

    FegelyTwinMommy Guest

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    We use Allstate Motor Club. It costs us $15.50 a month, and it has unlimited towing...not only for your vehicles, but any vehicle you would be driving in that needed assistance. They also offer money if you get a flat tire and need to have it fixed. You get discounts on restaurants, shopping, attractions, and travel much like AAA, but more limited. We don't stay at a lot of hotels, so the whole AAA hotel discount thing isn't a big incentive for us...we tend to find promo code or early bird deals for hotels that would supercede any 10% discount. We do travel in our Jeep a lot, and if you do the research to see how far the AAA towing coverage map goes, even for the highest plan level, you might find that it doesn't extend to all the places you might drive. The savings of a tow from Myrtle Beach to PA would be amazing. Hopefully, we will never need the service, but if you're looking for the best towing/roadside assistance package, I would consider Allstate Motor Club.
     
  17. jehb2

    jehb2 TUG Member

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    A lot of businesses of all kinds offer discounts to AAA members but you would never know unless you remember to ask. My cell phone provider gives me 15% off my monthly bill for being a AAA member. That alone more than covers my AAA membership.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  18. AnnaS

    AnnaS TUG Member

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    Yes - I forgot - us too - we get 15% off our cell phone bill!! (about $32 a month).
     
  19. isisdave

    isisdave TUG Member

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    AAA is a little less here in CA ... I think $48 for 2 and adding son was like $28 more. A good thing for a new driver, even with a fairly dependable car. We average 1.5 calls a year, either for a flat, dead battery, or key lockin, and let me tell you new drivers do stupid things ... we did them too, but we've forgotten.

    Also, the membership attaches to the person, not the car, so your teen driver can occasionally be a hero when out with friends who suffer a similar problem.

    Around town only, we might not have bothered, but he was on swim team and often drove 40+ miles to meets.

    Upon turning 21 this year, he could no longer be an add-on and had to buy his own, which he hasn't done.

    Oh: you can sometimes buy towing insurance on your auto policy. It might cover more than AAA's 7 miles, but it may not be cheaper, and doesn't come with free maps and other discounts. There's a 10% hotel discount almost everywhere, and lots more for car rental, amusement parks, etc. Even 20% off RV rental.
     
  20. MEB51

    MEB51 Guest

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    AutoVantage Left Me Stranded

    On 2/21/15, my car broke down in Boston, MA, about 45 miles from my home. I called AutoVantage and was told they would call me back within 15 minutes with the name and ETA of a tow truck. After 1/2 hour, when I received no call, I called again and was told they had not yet been able to locate a provider and could not give me an estimate of when someone would be available. I explained my car was at an intersection in Boston and the temperature was about 18 degrees. The rep was apologetic but could not find a tow truck yet. I asked if I was able to move my car to a safe location where I could get out of the cold, would this be an issue and they assured me it would not. I gave them an alternative address which they confirmed.
    I was lucky that I had a friend who lived nearby with a parking lot I could use for my car and a lobby I could wait in. However, having to drive the car further only caused more mechanical issues and the car died completely as I got into the driveway. I called AutoVantage again to verify my move only to have them tell me that they still could not accommodate me. At midnight, a "supervisor" called to say that there was no way they could get a tow truck out to me until the next day. I asked what they would have done if I hadn't had a safe place to go and, instead, had to wait in a dead vehicle in downtown Boston, in 18 degree temperatures. I got no response. He asked me to call again at 7AM.
    At 7AM I called as told. Guess what! Still no tow trucks available and no idea when one would be available. They would call me back in one hour. They did call me back, only to tell me the same thing. I called my husband who called the company from our home. The representative he spoke with told him that I had cancelled the service the previous night - which was a complete fabrication. He also got the story about no towtrucks being available and no idea when one would be available. (There were weather related issues and tow drivers were busy; however, Massachusetts is only about 125 miles wide east to west and about 65 miles north to south; somewhere in eastern Massachusetts, I’m sure that there was a tow truck driver who would have taken the call).
    At 10AM, I received a call from a representative to tell me that they were moving my call to a "hold status" as they could not continue to make calls to providers on my behalf. I pointed out that since we paid for their service, I thought she could continue to make those calls and she assured me she could not. I asked if my husband and I were able to find our own provider, would they reimburse us. I was told I could submit a receipt for "consideration" but she could not guarantee repayment.
    We were finally able to secure our own resource to come to Boston to get the car. I called AutoVantage to inform them that I had secured a towtruck and no longer needed their service. I told them to take my call out of their queue (assuming I was ever actually in one) so that another customer would not be left waiting for nothing. I was assured they would do this.
    I finally got back home at 1:30 in the afternoon - 15 1/2 hours after placing my first call to AutoVantage. At 3:30, I received a call from a tow truck driver to confirm my location. They had not removed my name from the queue. At 3:40, I received a call asking for my feedback about the service I received. I provided the requested feedback
    I don't know what another company might have done but I remain appalled that this company was prepared to leave me stranded nearly 50 miles from home in subfreezing temperatures. There was no offer to help secure shelter or any other offer of help. I could have gotten a ride from a family member or friend but abandoning the car would have led to it being vandalized or worse. The Boston Police have better things to do that babysit a car and would certainly have towed it to God knows where and we would have had astronomical impound fees to pay to retrieve the car.
    Weeks later, we are still trying to obtain reimbursement for our out of pocket expenses. The only calls we have received in return for messages left have come after communicating with the Better Business Bureau with whom we filed a complaint. We deeply regret leaving AAA for this sham of a road service.
     
  21. Helaine

    Helaine TUG Member

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    Fiesta Americana
    That's amazing!
     
  22. pedro47

    pedro47 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We have AAA and we have always rec'd great service.
     
  23. mark201235

    mark201235 Guest

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    BP Motor Club

    I am sorry to hear this happened to you.

    Does anyone have any recent experiences with BP Motor Club? I recently did not renew my AAA. I had the Premier (200 mile tow). With my wife and kids on the plan it got very pricey. I chose the best package BP had (100 mile tow), which will suffice if we need to use it. It was about 1/3 of the price I was paying for AAA. I'm hoping it's not the old "you get what you pay for" if/when we need the services. FWIW, the only thing we had used AAA for other then the possibility of needing a tow was free pics for passport renewal.

    Mark
     
  24. bogey21

    bogey21 TUG Member

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    I concur. Have had AAA Texas for about 25 years and between myself, wife, Son and Daughter have needed them probably 10-15 times all over the US (Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and of course Texas), sometimes in very bad weather. Our calls included towing, tire changing, locksmith and battery. They have always come through promptly.

    George
     
  25. mpumilia

    mpumilia Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I never had AAA and I drive a lot- even for a living. My credit cards have the these services for free. Need a tow truck? Call the credit card and they send someone. You pay for the tow- but it's at a discounted rate. No issues/simple/ cost effective..
     

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