Insurance roadside assistance vs. AAA Plus

alisandeAugust 10, 2012

I pay for AAA Plus road coverage every year. I forget how much it is, but it's a chunk of money. I figure I should do it because I'm a woman driving alone most of the time.

Last month I changed my auto insurance to a different carrier and discovered that the policy charges $8 per car per year for roadside assistance. I called the agent and asked about it, and she told me it covers repair of flat tires on site, and towing within 15 miles or to the nearest qualified place. AAA Plus will tow within 100 miles.

I'm going to have to look up the AAA fee (I know it's a lot more than $16!), and the other AAA Plus features, and decide which coverage I want to cancel.

Have you made a similar decision? Which way did you go?

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wanda_va

We have had roadside assistance through our car insurance policy forever--with no problems whatsoever. It's a much better deal than AAA, IMO.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:59AM
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monica_pa

We stayed with AAA. We mostly drive more than 15 miles from home, and if it's a problem that can be fixed on the spot (like a dead battery or keys locked in the car!)AAA will not tow.
Besides, AAA has discounts for many hotels, many retail chain stores and vacation attractions (we saved money on buying theme park tickets in advance at AAA here, from paying at the gate.

However, just last week, we discussed the Plus, and decided to stay with standard AAA membership.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:51AM
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nanny98

My DH more than makes up for it in the travel guides and maps that he collects every time we THINK about going anywhere. Actually, his collections belong over on the (border-line) hoarder forum. (Only slightly kidding and a tender spot.)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:55AM
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mare_wbpa

I'm also a woman who drives alone, so I have regular AAA, not plus. I just paid my yearly fee, it was $54. AAA will tow 15 miles at no charge. If your garage is further away than 15 miles, they will charge per mile over the 15. I have used the towing over 15 miles, but just once in about 30 yrs of having AAA. I feel that in the unlikely occurance that I need to be towed more than 15 miles, the money I've saved by not having the plus will pay the extra charge. If it never happens I'm ahead of the game.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:05PM
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azzalea

Well, one $200 towing bill (and we had TWO of them a couple of years back) because we broke down at the country house and needed the truck towed back to our mechanic---was enough to make me figure the extra for AAA Plus was more than worth it. It's a 30+ mile trip. Plus doesn't cost much--only $32/year.

Does your insurance company's roadside assistance offer ALL the befits of AAA plus? Like a driver for an hour after you've been towed, to get you where you need to go?, etc?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:14PM
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alisande

Plus doesn't cost much--only $32/year.

Azzalea, I'm paying $141 for AAA Plus! I think the coverage is probably overkill for me. I don't do any vacation traveling, and other than longer trips several times a year, my usual driving is no more than 30 miles from home. I never have opportunities to use the various AAA discounts. I called them about a flat tire four or five years ago, but that's about it.

Mare's rationale is something I should think about. I have a feeling the insurance roadside assistance is the same as regular AAA, or close to it. I'm annoyed with myself for paying blindly for AAA Plus all these years.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:25PM
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gadgets

Here's a website that gave me the prices for the different AAA plans. I had to give my zipcode to get to this page. Is that because the costs vary by location?

Shirley

Here is a link that might be useful: AAA prices

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:36PM
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alisande

Thanks, Gadgets. I'm looking at the chart right now that compares regular AAA to AAA Plus. Regular AAA will tow for only three miles in my area!

Can anyone explain "Emergency Extrication"? The chart says, "One service vehicle and one operator will be provided up to 20 minutes." AAA Plus adds a second service vehicle and a second operator for up to one hour.

I haven't gotten to the fees yet.....

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:09PM
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sjerin

It really irritated me when they started the tier system, as with so many other services in this country these days. I went in to AAA to pay a car dmv registration (love that they have that service,) expecting to pay the $2 service fee. The guy told me there is no more fee because the new ceo didn't like the idea; he said the employees REALLY like him and the changes he is instituting, though I don't know what they are. We pay @$80, give or take, for the two of us. I think too your decision should rest on how reliable your car is right now.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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redcurls

I like the AAA Plus. It is about $160 a year here, but covers whatever car my DH and I are driving....and once I had to use it when driving my daughter's car! I think the extracation fee is if you get stuck in mud or snow. Last year, I forgot to renew and they ended up calling me and offering six months extra for the same price. I think you can deal...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:17PM
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alisande

I think too your decision should rest on how reliable your car is right now.

Well, they both passed inspection last month. :-)

I drive a 2003 4Runner in the winter. It looks great, and I haven't beat it up, but the Check Engine light has been on for a couple of years. The dealer mechanics did everything in their power to fix that, but didn't succeed. So I think the engine is fine, but who knows?

In summer I drive a 1992 Chevy Caprice. These are the ones issued to the police years ago, before Chevy stopped making them and the Ford Crown Vic took over. They are built like tanks and are said to "last forever." I also happen to think it's a sleek and sexy car, and it's a joy to drive. I bought it in 1996 and still love it. But yes, it's 20 years old.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:18PM
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alisande

I'll bet you're right about the extrication, Redcurls. It never occurred to me that I could deal. Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:54PM
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maire_cate

The $32 for AAA Plus is on top of your regular membership.

We went with the Plus because our vacation place is about 130 miles from our primary home.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:03PM
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monica_pa

I have a 1007 Suzuki whose "check Engine" light has been on for years. Dealer mechanics told me that this light has nothing to do with the engine itself, anymore - it really has to do with the exhaust system, and would make the car fail the emission test, and they would try to fix it.
Since now I don't drive enough miles every year to require Emission tests to pass on state inspection - the light is still on, and I haven't had any engine problems.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:14PM
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emma

At one time I had that in 3 insurance policies. My car insurance, the extended warranty and in my home owners. A lot of those misc things come with the package. I asked about something one time and they told me that.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:17PM
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silvercomet1

I keep AAA. I wouldn't want to call my insurance company about a dead battery because I would be concerned that it might affect my insurance rates.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:24PM
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cathyid

We have AAA+ and wouldn't be without it. We tried another carrier in Arizona, and they only had a limited number of tow services. Plus we had to pay it first, and then be reimbursed. Living here, we are more often than not, in lightly populated area, that are 100 miles+ from home or the nearest mechanic. We used it two years ago, when we had a transmission problem, and it would have been over $1800 if we had anything else. It's the best $156 we spend.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:35PM
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dedtired

I just let my AAA lapse because it costs $65 a year and for all the years I've had it, I've only used it maybe four times. BUT...my ancient car had trouble on the way from my mom's to my house. I was able to make it home and then to the service station (only two blocks). I could have been in deep trouble had I been farther from home.

I did notice the roadside assistance on my State Farm policy and planned to use it instead of AAA, but I wouldn't have had a number to call in this case.

Guess I'll sign up with AAA in case my car runs into trouble again. I asked them to just "patch" it because I am actively shopping for a new (used) car now.

As for discounts, I've found that my AARP membership provides most of the same discounts as AAA.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:07AM
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linda_in_iowa

In Iowa AAA basic membership is $59.99/year and AAA Plus is $99.99/year. When I lived in CA I traveled more and liked having the Plus. Here I don't drive very far, less than 10,000 miles/year and just have AAA basic.
I am pretty sure their membership charges are based on fees they pay the towing places. Everything costs less in Iowa than on either coast.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Nita__AZ

I used to have AAA and it was expensive here in AZ versus what we paid in NC. When we bought the 5th wheel we joined Good Sam and I got a Platinum card. This will do everything that AAA did and it covers the RV plus any vehicles Mike and I drive even rentals. We have used it several times on the RV (5th wheel) and it was excellent.

AAA has finally stopped contacting me. I had been a member since 1980 and also had it for a few years prior to that.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:46PM
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