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Old Yesterday, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
68 posts, read 15,416 times
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We've had AAA for years and they've saved us many times. They've changed our flat tires and given us a jump start for dead batteries. For around $6 a month, I think it's worth it.
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Old Yesterday, 12:22 PM
 
Location: USA
2,141 posts, read 1,020,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory77 View Post
I tend to agree with you, and admit that I have considered joining several times too, mainly for the reduced hotel rates. I have personally avoided making the commitment for the same reasons that you have outlined as I tend to carefully pre-plan all of my trips. But I still think that it may be a good bargain in some respects. Here are my two cents...

If you join the rewards packages of the hotel chains that you're interested in prior to traveling, you will typically find that they at least match the rate, or offer better rates than AAA.

That said, there are times when you can't pre-plan a long road trip precisely and find that you need to stay in a hotel along the way that you did not plan for, for example, when your just too tired to drive another 100 miles to the city that has your preferred hotel chain. Or if you have an unexpected emergency. This is where an AAA membership might just save you some money and is the reason that I am considering joining AAA.

I have noticed that if you're in a situation that requires you to deviate from your plan- the hotel will allow you to state that you have an AAA membership, even if you don't have the membership, to qualify for the reduced rates. On more than one occasion, when I asked about a US veteran's rate the desk at the hotel said that he would provide the AAA rate. I am not sure if this was due to my asking for a veteran rate or not, but I have gotten the AAA rate several times when asking about a veteran's discount.

On a final note- if you or your partner is a vet, I would highly suggest paying the 35 extra per year to get veterans' license plates! This has saved my butt on several occasions. I have been stopped out of state twice for speeding at a speed trap after crossing a border where the state speed limit is 10 MPH slower and received a warning on both occasions. Quite often the police are former veterans and will give you the benefit of the doubt that would not be typical of non-vets.
I do road trips quite a bit and the extra 35 bucks provide peace of mind while travelling and provide some occasional extra hotel benefits.

Just my take,
With our new truck, I drive only 5-7-10 mph over the limit and in-town, only 3 - 5. In my last vehicle, an open freeway, no cars and a mile or two of visibility was an invitation to pop it up to 130 - 150 or faster.

That said, both vehicles always have vet plates and if stopped, the plan was to hand them my concealed carry permit along with license. I almost never carry but the permit indicates to Johnny Law that I’ve passed a background check that includes fingerprinting.

Does it work? Dunno - the last time I was stopped was probably around 2003. I talked my way out of that one by pulling over when Johnny Law performed a u-turn and flipped on his blue lights. He was so impressed that he didn’t have to chase me down that he gave me a warning and a “Happy Thanksgiving”.

AAA - never had it, never needed it. The last time my car stranded me and I didn’t have warranty coverage was 1979 when my Dart Sport simply died on the side of the freeway in San Antonio. Back then, every guy worth a damn carried tools in his trunk. I caught a lift to a local parts place, picked up a fuel pump, installed it on the side of the road, crossed my fingers and it started right up.

Once the warranty expires on the current truck goes out, I’ll add it via our insurance.
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Old Yesterday, 01:25 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
482 posts, read 241,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
Several points based on my 38 years of membership:

1) People tell me that AAA is unnecessary as you can call a local tow service. The first and last time my wife tried that in rural Virginia at Midnight, she was told "please call me in the morning." That does not happen with AAA.

2) People tell me that you can use your insurance for roadside service. I have had several friends find that after a claim, their auto insurance increases significantly.

3) People above start to say that many people don't keep up on their service. I ALWAYS take my vehicle for service as required by the owner's manual. Yes, that would reduce calls. However, you can maintain your cars very well and still hit black ice or pick up a nail in your tires and the like.

4) I drive through the desert all the time. If I break down, I want to be able to tow my vehicle into a reputable shop. I have the 100 mile tow service and for me, I would rather use that than have it towed to wherever the other place will tow it to. I will have it towed to the dealership 40 miles
away.

5) I am getting old. It I hit a nail and my tire goes flat in I-10 on the way to Phoenix, I would rather have a tow truck with flashing emergency lights blocking off traffic while the technician changes the tire instead of me doing it.

To me, what I pay for service to AAA is well worth the cost.

I agree with all of this.


My husband is a mechanic, and insists on getting AAA for both our daughters (in their early 20s) each year, so we don't have to worry in the middle of the night if they get a flat tire, or whatever. He always keeps up with the maintenance on our cars, but this is just peace of mind for many things.


and #2 is absolutely accurate. I have a couple of friends who work for auto insurance companies, and while they do offer roadside assistance, it can be used against you in premium increases at renewal time.
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Old Yesterday, 02:51 PM
 
1,617 posts, read 584,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
Sounds like the OP needs to do the math. If the RV breaks down in a remote location far from a repair shop, what will the cost of an AAA plus membership compare to calling up joe blow repair shop 100 miles away?
For peace of mind I would, in this situation, purchase the AAA plus membership and then when I'm camped and broken down in a very heavy RV on some very remote Utah federal lands, they would be obligated to come tow me.
It is a tiny Prius, not an RV.
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Old Yesterday, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Palm Harbor, FL 'til Nov
2,248 posts, read 1,012,176 times
Reputation: 5041
I've been a member for decades, but I'm a single girl, have a 10-yr old car, no roommates & don't have people to call to come get me if my car breaks down on a dark, raining evening, when I'm driving alone. However, if I were traveling cross country, I'd like the piece of mind of knowing I could call for help on long, lonely stretches of road, alone or not. The "waste" of the yearly membership fees does buy me peace of mind, but again, there's only me, so yeah, I worry.

The other alternative is, as someone listed above, to forgo purchasing it now & pay the extra $75 if you join when you run into an issue & need same day services. Surely, if you called a tow truck, it would cost more than $75, so maybe it's not worth it for you unless/until you need service. However, if you did need a tire change & couldn't do it yourselves for whatever reason, I'm assuming you'd need to be towed to a garage, so those would be additional fees. AAA will change it on the spot for no additional charges, unless it's not safe to do so & then they'd tow you to a garage.

When I've travelled cross country... I was on the road for 2-yrs... the nightly hotel discounts were helpful... I believe the discount is 10%. They don't always ask to see the card if you tell them you have AAA or AARP... they mostly take your word for it... but, I found that higher end hotels usually asked for it.

I rarely use it, but when I've needed it, I'm glad I had it & am happy to buy the Plus Membership for $40 more, cuz they'll tow your car up to 150-mi, not just to the closest garage. If needed, I'd want to be towed to a Honda dealer.

Over the years, I've had 3-4 flats I needed to have fixed in pouring rainstorms or blizzards... been towed 6-times for engine failure (that horrid garage that installed a kill switch, which just killed the car every time I used the switch)... battery jumps at least 1/2-dozen times (mostly due to careless friends with high end cars who left the lights on... they're used to their lights turning off themselves).

For membership benefits... passport photos are about $10 & they don't make mistakes on background color (which has to be white) or size, like I've seen some of the passport photo centers do. If I pass a location, every year or so, I'll drop in for a map or 2 & I buy my Rand McNally map book every time I need a replacement, even though there's no discount for members... I believe anyone can buy them. I have a GPS in my car, but... I am someone who likes backup, so although I don't use the map all the time, I have used it regularly when traveling. It's sometimes easier to bring it into the hotel room every evening or when taking a break to plan the next stop, rather than using Google Maps.

Other than the above, I've never found store/restaurant discounts to be useful at all... the only time I tried to use it for $1 off a Subway sandwich, I couldn't get it cuz even though I happened to have the AAA flyer that mentioned the discount... no one ever asks for it, so the store wouldn't grant it... they had no idea how to key it into the register & said maybe it's only at certain locations. I eat out so seldom, it really doesn't matter, but I do have friends in OR who are an 80-yr old couple who eat out nightly... they said the savings are useful to them.

With the age of my car, I'll continue to keep my yrly membership, cuz I plan on keeping my vehicle until it sputters, groans & passes into the ethers. I also have my car insurance & renter's insurance through AAA. I save about $40 on the car ins. Renter's ins is about the same anywhere.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Yesterday, 07:29 PM
 
16,804 posts, read 7,128,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
Make sure it does not report your calls to CLUE ..many auto road side services count the road side assistance as a claim and it can ding your clue report .

To many jumps , you are flagged a driving an ill maintained car …ran out of gas , or locked the keys in the car , it can be construed you are an irresponsible driver .

As they should. I used to "run out of gas" and have breakdowns a lot when I was young and irresponsible and driving poorly maintained junk heaps. AAA was a big money-saver back then. I grew up on AAA and my dad and grand-dad were lifetime members.

Around age 35 I decided I didn't want to be in the responsible group subsidizing the irresponsible group and let it lapse. I felt naked at first but this thread is the first it has crossed my mind in years. I haven't needed roadside service in the past ten years, maybe fifteen. Newer cars won't let you lock the keys inside. Not many use paper maps anymore. The "discounts" are seldom anything you can't get lots of other ways.
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Old Yesterday, 07:38 PM
 
1,528 posts, read 627,640 times
Reputation: 667
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?
The ID theft protection is nice. We have the "premium" membership (the most expensive) because my husband likes it and I don't balk at that. And it has proven helpful when my car broke down about 50 miles away from home and they towed it back. But there are caveats, depending where you are living. For instance, we're in the Pittsburgh area and the perks here are different from the perks in Florida. I didn't know it at the time, so when our car broke down in Florida, the AAA there offered some help, but not an awful lot. And the Pittsburgh area perks are lesser than the Florida perks. So it depends upon you. I also got accident insurance from AAA, meaning personal fall injuries or accidents that will happen for personal injury while traveling. Again -- it's a safety feature for me because my husband is prone to falling, so am I, so it's $25 a month for that and I feel safer with that. Also, again -- the ID protection is good, too. Also, they have a notary and know the ropes when it comes to licenses, titles, etc.
P.S. If you're planning a big road trip, it might make you feel more secure to get the extra insurance from AAA for road problems. The hotel discounts are ok, but you can get them if you call hotel directly sometimes. However, it may pay to get the discount calling in advance through AAA. Or if you belong to AARP.
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Old Yesterday, 07:49 PM
 
16,804 posts, read 7,128,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
Yeah, but a lot of insurance just isn’t worth it. And if you are a creative worrier (guilty) nothing will buy you peace of mind. So, you just learn to accept risk and move on.

Well put. It's something I've often thought but never framed it well. Those always chasing "peace of mind" are the least likely to ever find it. They will buy all kinds of extended warranties and insurance policies to cover every situation possible and still worry to death over the edge cases where they are not covered.
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Old Yesterday, 07:58 PM
 
16,804 posts, read 7,128,137 times
Reputation: 20752
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
Several points based on my 38 years of membership:

1) People tell me that AAA is unnecessary as you can call a local tow service. The first and last time my wife tried that in rural Virginia at Midnight, she was told "please call me in the morning." That does not happen with AAA.

AAA doesn't own any tow services. They are just relaying your call to "a local tow service".
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Old Yesterday, 08:15 PM
 
1,862 posts, read 876,253 times
Reputation: 6645
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
As they should. I used to "run out of gas" and have breakdowns a lot when I was young and irresponsible and driving poorly maintained junk heaps. AAA was a big money-saver back then. I grew up on AAA and my dad and grand-dad were lifetime members.

Around age 35 I decided I didn't want to be in the responsible group subsidizing the irresponsible group and let it lapse. I felt naked at first but this thread is the first it has crossed my mind in years. I haven't needed roadside service in the past ten years, maybe fifteen. Newer cars won't let you lock the keys inside. Not many use paper maps anymore. The "discounts" are seldom anything you can't get lots of other ways.
BINGO! It's all a matter of which group you choose to be in... the irresponsible group who never thinks about preventive maintenance or the responsible group who takes every reasonable precaution to ensure that their car doesn't break down on the side of the road or run out of gas on a lonely stretch of highway.

In 50 years of driving, I can count on one hand the number of times that I've had a breakdown or flat on the side of a highway or had a car that failed to start. I've NEVER run out of gas. Anyone who has a breakdown, runs out of gas, or failure to start about once per year shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel because they clearly have no idea of what preventative maintenance and responsible ownership means. Why should I, as a responsible driver and car owner, subsidize those who won't take the time to look out for their own safety and well being?
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