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Old Yesterday, 12:02 PM
 
1,609 posts, read 581,453 times
Reputation: 2780

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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, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville NC
6,190 posts, read 6,193,682 times
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Yes, the membership fee is annual.

Mine pays for itself every year, usually due to dead batteries, occasional flat tires. Also had two accidents where my cars were totaled and AAA was quick to tow. I'm a single mom and I wouldn't leave home without it.

I don't know why you would assume the service is slower than calling for a tow. I've frequently gotten help from AAA within half an hour in a major metro area. Takes longer if you are in a rural locale, just the same as any tow truck.

They've saved my bacon any number of times. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes from knowing my kids have it. They are 20 and 24, and if they have a breakdown they don't have to think about what to do. Just call AAA and let them handle it.
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Old Yesterday, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,597 posts, read 10,452,067 times
Reputation: 13058
My auto insurer offers free towing and roadside assist included in my premium. I would check and see if your policy has this feature.
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Old Yesterday, 12:34 PM
 
88,675 posts, read 86,264,732 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wartrace View Post
My auto insurer offers free towing and roadside assist included in my premium. I would check and see if your policy has this feature.
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 .

I always found it best not to combine the two. Keep roadside assistance away from your auto insurance unless you know for a fact they will not report it to clue

They report it because to many dings will make it hard to jump ship and shop elsewhere
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Pa
248 posts, read 195,807 times
Reputation: 525
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.
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Old Yesterday, 01:16 PM
 
88,675 posts, read 86,264,732 times
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I have road side assistance through our warranty
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Old Yesterday, 01:17 PM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
6,489 posts, read 20,583,933 times
Reputation: 3697
Doesn't sound like a worthwhile investment for you; at least not until you need it and don't have it. You can sign up on the fly if that happens.

Plus extends free towing distance. Tow trucks are expensive. If you are always towing 5 miles or less a membership can pay for itself with one call. When I lived in Chicago we always renewed our AAA since our vehicles were always outside subject to winter conditions. Now that we live in the southeast I've let it lapse.

I have roadside assistance through my insurance now. It's peace of mind for this single mother, and cheaper than AAA.
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Old Yesterday, 01:22 PM
 
Location: In the land beyond Ohare!
1,836 posts, read 1,237,439 times
Reputation: 4874
Never had it, never needed any of the provided services but, for peace of mind, it might be worth it. What I've found that even in remote areas other travelers will offer to help out. I had flat tires on different trips in two remote areas and though I didn't need assistance, I had offers of help from passerbys both times. This was before cellphones.
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Old Yesterday, 01:48 PM
 
1,609 posts, read 581,453 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrc60 View Post
Doesn't sound like a worthwhile investment for you; at least not until you need it and don't have it. You can sign up on the fly if that happens.
Oh, really? Could we do that? Could we sign up, then call for help 1 minute later, because if so, that is interesting ...
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Old Yesterday, 01:55 PM
 
88,675 posts, read 86,264,732 times
Reputation: 63866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
Oh, really? Could we do that? Could we sign up, then call for help 1 minute later, because if so, that is interesting ...
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.
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