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Old Yesterday, 01:59 PM
 
4,753 posts, read 2,025,523 times
Reputation: 11126

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My Geico auto insurance includes road service. I recently called them when my car wouldn't start and they dispatched someone to come and jump start my car. They were there in 45 minutes. They even called me on the way to let me know they were in transit. Also my Toyota comes with free maintenance and road service. AAA was good before the internet because they supplied road maps and guides for where to stop overnight on the road. All of that is now available on your phone or computer. So for me AAA would be totally superfluous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
My husband and I are planning a huge road trip this summer and on another thread someone mentioned joining AAA.

I have looked at their website a few times now and am feeling skeptical. First it seems that they have many membership categories all with different pricing and a different hodge-podge of benefits, some of which I am positive we will not be needing. And I am left wondering if it is still worth it if there are quite a few offered benefits that we know we will not be using.

Example — the “classic” membership for $68. I am assuming this is a yearly fee, although they do not make that clear on their website, which is already leaving me skeptical.

The benefits:

1. ID theft protection. We already have this. We had major issues with ID theft about 10 years ago and are already pretty, pretty well protected — really as much as you can be with the slip-shod data security these days.

2. Jump starts and battery service. In the past ten years, we have needed this precisely one time. And what we did is simply call a tow and had them jump start the car. So, I guess with AAA it would have been “free,” although would we have had to wait longer?

3. Tows … up to 5 miles each. Five miles is not a long distance for a trip to a repair shop. Very iffy benefit. We will be doing a lot of driving in remote or even very remote areas, the chances that if we have a breakdown we will only need a 5 mile tow are slim.

4. AAA member discounts at nearly 120,000 locations. We are not typical tourists. We do our own thing, usually in remote areas or otherwise non-standard areas (including not just federally and state-maintained parks (for which we already have annual passes), but also, meadows, wastewater treatment plants, “famous” picnic areas, farmers fields, out-of-the way lakes, undersides of various bridges etc.) and I somehow doubt that where we are going is going to be among their 120,000 locations (also, it is hard to get a discount on something that is free).

5. Vehicle lock-out service. How are we going to lock ourselves out of the car since we always use the keys to lock the car? We Besides there are two of us and we both have keys, so the chances of us both locking our keys in the car at the same time are pretty slim.

6. Member-only hotel discounts: We typically use AirBnB. Besides everything is already reserved for this trip and our next big trip will hopefully be abroad.


When I take a look at their web page on “Plus” membership, I do not see any information at all about price (which is annoying) and only see info about the benefits (up to 100 miles of towing, winching/extraction (could be handy, but not like no one else provides this service), lots of travel insurance (which we don’t need), many more discounts which we would probably never use … and even two free passport photos (we already have passports and they are valid for 8 more).
Am I missing something?

The thing I am most concerned about is not spending too much money on a tow or not getting hotel discounts, but simply getting catastrophically stuck somewhere remote and not necessarily dying, but having a hard time getting back to civilization. I am not sure how triple A would help here. I mean if we had cell phone service and enough money we could just find someone to come winch us out or give us emergency help. If we lost our cell phone signal it’s not like AAA is going to have some kind of magical mind-meld with us. I guess what I am saying is … is it realistic to think that we could get ourselves into some kind of situation where the only help we could get is triple A and if we didn’t have a membership, we would be just SOL. I am thinking this is not the case. If their service were really that essential, they wouldn’t be trying to sweeten the deal w a bunc of random non car-related discounts.

What am I missing here? Anything?
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Old Yesterday, 02:05 PM
 
18,700 posts, read 8,443,757 times
Reputation: 15005
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLC1957 View Post
We have been members for 40 plus years, actually my wife is, single membership is cheaper. Things we use often as we have been to all 50 states and most of Canada. 1. Discount on hotels. 2 Travel services including paper maps, trip planning, books on tourist places to see. 3. Home & auto insurance savings. They have beat major carriers premium for the past 5 years.
Before the internet, we used AAA to prepare "Triptiks" for our long road trips. When our daughter was growing up, we did several cross country trips taking a different route each time. We would get all the tour books for each part of the country we would be passing through. Those books were helpful for finding restaurants off the interstates. We also brought along a copy of "Road Food" by Jane and Michael Stern and were able to eat in some of the places mentioned.

Nowadays, when it comes to find restaurants, a Yelp app on your phone would help locate places to eat. These days, we have Marriott Rewards so for us, it makes sense to use Marriott properties. For hotels, there are lots of discount websites now, if you aren't picky about staying at a certain brand.

What made us sign up for AAA was this --- One day, while my husband was waiting for his van pool to take him to work, he got the idea that he should check the car engine while the car was running. He left the keys in the ignition, left the door unlocked but the car was old and the door wouldn't open. He had to find a pay phone and call the roadside assistance we had at the time, which was Amoco. They told him they couldn't help him. Well...bye, bye, Amoco! Needless to say, after that incident, my husband started carrying an extra car key with him.

Last year, we went to start our car and discovered that the battery was dead. The 4 year battery was on its second year. We called AAA and they arranged a time for the service truck to come. They had to go into our parking garage to do the work. The service call was free but we paid for the battery.

So...we have no regrets when it comes to our membership.
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Old Yesterday, 02:05 PM
 
88,708 posts, read 86,264,732 times
Reputation: 63901
Be careful , geico says they report your road side assistance claims to clue but they themselves don’t use it in determining their claims.

Those dings can get you higher rates when shopping.

CLUE is like the credit reporting agency but for insurance ….they log every claim not reimbursed to your insurer …

No matter who’s fault , if your insurer didn’t get reimbursed you get a ding ..that includes comprehensive claims , glass and all claims on your house .

You can get a free copy of your report once a year ….you should run car and home , they are separate…make sure the claims are yours .

Also clue flags property too as problematic…you can buy a house that other owners entered problematic claims on like flooding and Either not be able to get insurance or you get a very high price

Last edited by mathjak107; Yesterday at 02:44 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 02:07 PM
 
5,329 posts, read 4,406,454 times
Reputation: 13336
I used to be a AAA member for years, but I got tired of paying the $55 -- which I guess has gone up -- for not much bennies.

One of AAA's best services used to be travel maps -- just contact them and tell them your destination, and they would send you a "triptik" page-by-page booklet with the route highlighted, hotels and rest stops marked, plus an overall map of the region.

Also, their roadside service for dead batteries, flats, and other minor repair or towing up to 25 miles or whatever.

But then two things happened: GPS devices like TomTom, followed by computer mapping software like MapQuest / Yahoo Maps / Google Maps / Bing Maps, and finally phone apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, etc.

And also, roadside service became commonplace with insurers. My insurer, USAA, offers it as part of our policy, and my wife has to use it rather frequently unfortunately when she sits in the parking lot with her lights on and drains the battery.

AAA today seems a bit superfluous, though they are still nationally recognized. Hotels and car rental still offer an AAA discount, sometimes.

But they are also famous for taking an hour or two to get to you, depending on how busy they are. I swear they must have one service truck every 100 square miles.

You could buy the membership for just this year, for peace of mind on your trip. I would also recommend using the off-line feature of your phone map app -- Google Maps at least has this -- in case you're out of signal range. You might also invest in a TomTom or Garmin standalone GPS which does not require internet or cellular signal to do its job -- just needs to lock onto the satellites.
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Old Yesterday, 02:55 PM
 
1,613 posts, read 582,629 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
No no and no

This is right from AAA


AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES

A non-refundable $75 Immediate Service Fee is charged if roadside assistance is requested the same day a New member joins.

This includes a new primary or associate member or a canceled member renewing one year or more past their expiration date. Regardless of the membership level purchased, any same day services provided will be at the Classic Membership level.
Well, it’s probably good news they aren’t that stupid. If they had allowed this wouldn’t this have been kind of a bad sign?
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Old Yesterday, 03:10 PM
 
1,850 posts, read 872,664 times
Reputation: 6634
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
My husband and I are planning a huge road trip this summer and on another thread someone mentioned joining AAA.

I have looked at their website a few times now and am feeling skeptical. First it seems that they have many membership categories all with different pricing and a different hodge-podge of benefits, some of which I am positive we will not be needing. And I am left wondering if it is still worth it if there are quite a few offered benefits that we know we will not be using.

Example — the “classic” membership for $68. I am assuming this is a yearly fee, although they do not make that clear on their website, which is already leaving me skeptical.

The benefits:

1. ID theft protection. We already have this. We had major issues with ID theft about 10 years ago and are already pretty, pretty well protected — really as much as you can be with the slip-shod data security these days.

2. Jump starts and battery service. In the past ten years, we have needed this precisely one time. And what we did is simply call a tow and had them jump start the car. So, I guess with AAA it would have been “free,” although would we have had to wait longer?

3. Tows … up to 5 miles each. Five miles is not a long distance for a trip to a repair shop. Very iffy benefit. We will be doing a lot of driving in remote or even very remote areas, the chances that if we have a breakdown we will only need a 5 mile tow are slim.

4. AAA member discounts at nearly 120,000 locations. We are not typical tourists. We do our own thing, usually in remote areas or otherwise non-standard areas (including not just federally and state-maintained parks (for which we already have annual passes), but also, meadows, wastewater treatment plants, “famous” picnic areas, farmers fields, out-of-the way lakes, undersides of various bridges etc.) and I somehow doubt that where we are going is going to be among their 120,000 locations (also, it is hard to get a discount on something that is free).

5. Vehicle lock-out service. How are we going to lock ourselves out of the car since we always use the keys to lock the car? We Besides there are two of us and we both have keys, so the chances of us both locking our keys in the car at the same time are pretty slim.

6. Member-only hotel discounts: We typically use AirBnB. Besides everything is already reserved for this trip and our next big trip will hopefully be abroad.


When I take a look at their web page on “Plus” membership, I do not see any information at all about price (which is annoying) and only see info about the benefits (up to 100 miles of towing, winching/extraction (could be handy, but not like no one else provides this service), lots of travel insurance (which we don’t need), many more discounts which we would probably never use … and even two free passport photos (we already have passports and they are valid for 8 more).
Am I missing something?

The thing I am most concerned about is not spending too much money on a tow or not getting hotel discounts, but simply getting catastrophically stuck somewhere remote and not necessarily dying, but having a hard time getting back to civilization. I am not sure how triple A would help here. I mean if we had cell phone service and enough money we could just find someone to come winch us out or give us emergency help. If we lost our cell phone signal it’s not like AAA is going to have some kind of magical mind-meld with us. I guess what I am saying is … is it realistic to think that we could get ourselves into some kind of situation where the only help we could get is triple A and if we didn’t have a membership, we would be just SOL. I am thinking this is not the case. If their service were really that essential, they wouldn’t be trying to sweeten the deal w a bunc of random non car-related discounts.

What am I missing here? Anything?
I haven't read ANY of the responses to your post, but reading your post reminds me a lot of my own views on AAA membership which I have pondered numerous times over the years. I don't mean to offend anyone, but here is a summation of my views on AAA membership.

AAA membership is great for the people who seldom plan ahead for anything going wrong. They seldom are prepared for any type emergency. They never think about how old the battery is until the car won't start. They never think to check the air in the tires until they get in the car and find that one of the tires is flat... and they don't have a spare. In short, they are never concerned about anything going bad... until it does. Then they call for help.

You sound like the type who tries to be well prepared and anticipate possible problems in advance... then take some action to prevent or deal with the problem if it should arise. That's how I see myself, so AAA just isn't worth it for me.

I know several people who are AAA members and they seem to delight in telling how stupid they are about maintaining their car or taking even the simplest of precautions. They enjoy telling how they ran out of gas in Timbuktu and AAA brought them some gas, or how they locked the keys in the car (for the third time since January) and AAA paid for a locksmith to come open their car door. Or how it was just a total shock to them that the 7 year old battery in their car wouldn't start the car that morning when it was 13* below zero.

So if you're one of this type, then AAA is a bargain. But from reading your post, you don't sound like this type, so I'd suggest you keep your money in your pocket or spend it on something like going out to dinner or some other thing you enjoy.
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Old Yesterday, 03:23 PM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
6,489 posts, read 20,583,933 times
Reputation: 3697
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
No no and no

This is right from AAA


AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES

A non-refundable $75 Immediate Service Fee is charged if roadside assistance is requested the same day a New member joins.

This includes a new primary or associate member or a canceled member renewing one year or more past their expiration date. Regardless of the membership level purchased, any same day services provided will be at the Classic Membership level.
Straight from the AAA Carolina site:
"How soon can I start using my service calls?

Basic members are subject to a 24 hours waiting period, Plus members have a 5 days waiting period and Premier members have a 10 day waiting period."

AAA services and pricing vary from one locale to another.
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Old Yesterday, 03:27 PM
 
88,708 posts, read 86,264,732 times
Reputation: 63901
The aaa guide has more details but both what I posted from the guide and what you posted show the same thing about benefits for towing not being in place for a day .

The aaa guide gives more details about the 75 dollar same day charge
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Old Yesterday, 04:27 PM
 
760 posts, read 477,880 times
Reputation: 1464
For a measly $68 dollars it's a nice insurance policy and peace of mind.....
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Old Yesterday, 06:05 PM
 
587 posts, read 262,700 times
Reputation: 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprez33 View Post
For a measly $68 dollars it's a nice insurance policy and peace of mind.....
Agreed. I was happy I had AAA last year when I was driving down to FL in my fiancée’s car. Transmission died somewhere in VA. They came pretty quick, took me to the nearest AAA service facility (although I found out later there was a Ford dealer and service facility that was closer), and did a good job taking care of the car.
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