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AAA Vs. Credit Card Roadside Assistance

WinniWoman

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Our son's recent breakdown with his older, high mileage car got him thinking about getting Triple A. I have always discouraged it only because even him paying the $76 membership fee is a lot for him right now. I told him to use his credit card roadside assistance. I am 59 years old and have never had triple A. Twice I have had to use the credit card road side assistance (at the time it was Discover, which has since terminated that benefit) and they sent a tow truck. Our son has a Master Card with Master Assist roadside benefits. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
 

theo

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My $0.02 worth...

Our son's recent breakdown with his older, high mileage car got him thinking about getting Triple A. I have always discouraged it only because even him paying the $76 membership fee is a lot for him right now. I told him to use his credit card roadside assistance. I am 59 years old and have never had triple A. Twice I have had to use the credit card road side assistance (at the time it was Discover, which has since terminated that benefit) and they sent a tow truck. Our son has a Master Card with Master Assist roadside benefits. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

IMHO, AAA is probably a better and more reliable choice, given that there will be AAA-affiliated entities almost anywhere in the U.S. I'd guess that some small garages in remote or rural areas might balk at "credit card assist" type reimbursement, but know with confidence that they will get paid for rendering AAA-contracted assistance.
Moreover, and perhaps much more important, I'd be inclined to believe that there are likely just plain fewer credit card assist entities than AAA-contracted entities.

That being said, with an unreliable vehicle, if DS goes with AAA he should definitely consider springing for the "gold" (longer towing mileage coverage) AAA membership.
The "basic" membership towing distance allowance (before additional per-mile costs begin to kick in) is absurdly and unacceptably restrictive at only 3 miles. :eek:
 
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WinniWoman

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Thanks,Theo. This time when it happened he looked on his cell phone for the closest towing company, while we went to the visitor center nearby to get some names as well. He ended up using one that he called and could get there in 20 minutes and tow the car 70 miles to where he lives ($280).

Are the tows "free" with AAA? I can't seem to find that info. on-line. Are the roadside assisted services essentially "free" or is there just a discount?

My concern with any of these types of services is that the reimbursement rates are low for both AAA and the credit card ones and so sometimes you are better off just calling direct yourself and they might come quicker. Then there is the issue that many times there is no cell phone service anyway- like when we were just on the Kancamangus Highway. You break down there and NO ONE is coming. (Not sure if 911 works in no service areas)

The shop he had the car towed to didn't do the type of work he needed so then another shop towed it for free to their place (just down the road). He was very lucky that instead of the few thousand we thought it could cost, they were able to do the repair for $600 with used parts.

But now he is leery of driving out of his area and, hence, considering the AAA coverage.
 

theo

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<snip> Are the tows "free" with AAA? I can't seem to find that info. on-line. Are the roadside assisted services essentially "free" or is there just a discount?

There is no towing charge with the AAA level above "basic" membership, up to some liberal mileage limit I don't recall (100 miles maybe?).
The "basic" membership, as already mentioned, allows for only a (completely unacceptable, IMnsHO) 3 to 5 mile limit for towing distance before additional costs kick in.
Yes, they might tow the disabled vehicle back to the tow truck's "home facility" for no additional charge under the basic AAA membership level, even if it's a bit more than 5 miles, but what good is that if the "home facility" of the tow truck ends up being completely unable to resolve (or even tackle at all) the required repair? :shrug:

There is no charge for flat tire changing (changing is not repair) or a battery "jump" at any membership level. If a new battery is needed, it obviously must be purchased, regardless of membership level. I cannot speak at all knowledgeably to post-towing repairs or "repair discounts", if any even apply or exist (which I seriously doubt).
I also believe that there might be slight variations in "club" terms and distances and coverage in different parts of the country.
 
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Makai Guy

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I had to have a tow a few months ago. The AAA tow was free up to (I think it was) 3 miles. Don't know what the charge for longer tows would have been as I lucked out and was 0.1 miles less than the free limit.
 

wackymother

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Our auto insurance includes roadside assistance. Have you looked into that? We've never used it because we have AAA Gold...ever since our car broke down halfway home from vacation, on a holiday weekend.
 

csxjohn

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As you mention, Discover discontinued their road side assistance but when they had it there was a $69 fee for a tow.

The

I've had AAA forever and just upgraded last year to get the better towing miles in case I need it. I'm getting older and would rather make one call than fool around if I break down.

The basic AAA will tow you where you want to go, 3 miles for fee then a per mile charge after that but free to the place of business the tow truck came from, so it's not just 3 miles.

My new car, 1 1/2 years old, has towing and break down coverage from Ford but not my other car and my wife drives it a lot. I sold my truck so I can't go snatch the car like I used to be able to if it broke down.
 

wackymother

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Btw, AAA in our area now has a limit on the number of service calls they will make for one customer in a year.

It used to be unlimited. I used to know a guy who had a beautiful classic car that ran fine once it was started, but it wouldn't start on its own. He would call AAA every time he wanted to take it out. They would come and give him a jump, he would go where he was going, and then he would call for another jump when it was time to go home.
 

csxjohn

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Btw, AAA in our area now has a limit on the number of service calls they will make for one customer in a year.

It used to be unlimited. I used to know a guy who had a beautiful classic car that ran fine once it was started, but it wouldn't start on its own. He would call AAA every time he wanted to take it out. They would come and give him a jump, he would go where he was going, and then he would call for another jump when it was time to go home.

I remember our AAA having a limit of 2 call per year for the same mechanical problem. I don't know how that works now that I've upgraded. Thanks for mentioning it.
 

Passepartout

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Might be worth calling your (his) car insurance carrier and seeing what add-on towing insurance would cost. Might be better than either paying for it out-of-pocket with a credit card or paying $80-$100 for AAA upfront with minimal benefits unless you go for the premium upgrade.
 

MichaelColey

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I know with State Farm, we're able to get roadside assistance for some crazy price, like $10 per year. We don't get it, because we already have AA (primarily for the travel benefits).

My only problem with AA (and probably any of them) is that you seem to be VERY low priority for the tow/service trucks. I've had several times where I've had waits of 2-3 hours.
 

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Here's the deal from AAA of Southern California:

"As a member you may call for help as many times as you need it. Every membership year, you and all the other members of your family who join AAA are allowed up to four free calls for Roadside Assistance each. After that, a service charge applies. Free towing up to seven miles from the point of breakdown or unlimited miles back to the service facility providing the service."

That's for Classic. Plus costs $78 vs $48 but gets you 100 miles. I'd have this level if I had an old car.

Don't forget all the other AAA services ... free maps and books, locksmith service, fuel delivery, DMV services, etc.
 

easyrider

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Might be worth calling your (his) car insurance carrier and seeing what add-on towing insurance would cost. Might be better than either paying for it out-of-pocket with a credit card or paying $80-$100 for AAA upfront with minimal benefits unless you go for the premium upgrade.

I use our insurance company road side assistance because it covers you anywhere. For me, towing has included getting my suv winched off of gravel bars in remote areas on river banks while launching my boat, getting winched out of a mud hole and towed 90 miles after a break down and most recently getting towed to a Ford dealer after my Ford blew a spark plug at a resort.

btw, my insurance also covers towing what ever Im pulling. I was involved with an accident that disabled my suv while heading up to the mountains to go snowmobiling. The insurance paid to have the snowmobiles towed. From what I remember, the insurance covers any trailer your pulling.

The cost is less than $100 a year.

Bill
 

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Our son's recent breakdown with his older, high mileage car got him thinking about getting Triple A. I have always discouraged it only because even him paying the $76 membership fee is a lot for him right now. I told him to use his credit card roadside assistance. I am 59 years old and have never had triple A. Twice I have had to use the credit card road side assistance (at the time it was Discover, which has since terminated that benefit) and they sent a tow truck. Our son has a Master Card with Master Assist roadside benefits. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

I love AAA roadside service, I no longer use their insurance, (too expensive) but this service in invaluable for a young person with an older car
 

bogey21

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My AAA (Texas) Card says I have been a member for 30 years. I also get my Son and Daughter cards from my account for extra dollars. Between the 3 of us we have probably had to call for service, towing, locksmith, dead battery, gas, tire changing, getting pulled out of a ditch, etc. maybe 20-25 times in many different states around the country. We have always been satisfied with AAA response times (twice in major snow storms) and never had to pay anything other than the annual fee. My bottom line - pricey but worth it.

George
 

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I use Allstate Motor Club. The Roadside Advantage plan is $52/year... I pay quarterly ($13) via credit card auto pay.

Prior to that I used the one thru my insurance company but their limits were too low... and I had to pay out of pocket and submit for reimbursement. Allstate Motor Club pays directly... just sign the job ticket and you're done.
 

WinniWoman

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Might be worth calling your (his) car insurance carrier and seeing what add-on towing insurance would cost. Might be better than either paying for it out-of-pocket with a credit card or paying $80-$100 for AAA upfront with minimal benefits unless you go for the premium upgrade.

Not sure if the insurance company has it. Will have to check, but I thought that this kind of thing could affect your premiums negatively as if you use it it counts as a "claim". They've got you coming and going...
 

csxjohn

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My card says 50+ years. I guess they got tired of counting.
 

csxjohn

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My card says 50+ years. I guess they got tired of counting.

They used to send us stickers to add to our cards, now we get a new one every year. They do offer a lot more than just road side assistance.
 

Ken555

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That's still rookie status, mine says 48 years.


Mine says a high number, more than my age since I was originally on my parents account and when I bought my own they continued it from the same number...fairly amusing when I show it to the AAA office when I visit. Of course, now I just have the membership card on my iPhone in the Passport application, which is much more convenient.


Sent from my iPad
 

silentg

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We have used AAA for towing, also for discounts on attractions etc.... Would recommend it to everyone who drives!
 

Ty1on

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Btw, AAA in our area now has a limit on the number of service calls they will make for one customer in a year.

It used to be unlimited. I used to know a guy who had a beautiful classic car that ran fine once it was started, but it wouldn't start on its own. He would call AAA every time he wanted to take it out. They would come and give him a jump, he would go where he was going, and then he would call for another jump when it was time to go home.

They have a great portable rechargable battery starter now, runs about $100. Perfect for folks like him.
 

Sea Six

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Lots of bad info being posted here, but these are the facts:



Personally, I get the AAA because the discounts I get for theme park tickets, meals, souvenirs, rental cars, plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc MORE than cover the cost of the membership. We also get the free maps and tour books.
 
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