AAA is one of the leading providers of roadside assistance in the United States. Beyond that, it is a club for motor vehicle owners that offers discounts and other services for their members. As a vehicle owner, you may be wondering if a AAA membership would be right for your needs. There are many benefits to signing up for AAA, but is it worth the yearly subscription fee? Here’s what you need to know about AAA before you sign up.
What Is AAA?
AAA stands for the American Automobile Association and considers themselves a ‘federation of motor clubs’ with branches throughout North America. They began in Chicago in 1902, and quickly joined forces with other automobile clubs throughout the United States. Over the next 120 years, AAA has grown to offer a vast range of car and travel services, and they advocate for driver safety and education as well.
What Services Does AAA Offer?
AAA offers several services for its members. Each tier comes with a certain level of roadside assistance services, which is the most attractive benefit of AAA membership for many people. With these membership benefits, you’ll get towing, lockout support, fuel delivery, battery jumpstarts, and other services you would expect from roadside assistance coverage. Roadside assistance service is available 24/7 throughout the United States and Canada.
AAA also offers several services and discounts for drivers. For example, you can get discounts on auto repair services and car rentals when you go through approved providers. AAA also offers driver education programs to promote safety, as well as the AAA car buying program. This allows you to shop an aggregated listing of new and used cars from approved, certified dealers.
Additionally, AAA offers travel services and discounts to its members. With AAA, you can save on a wide range of products and services you might use while traveling and at home, including restaurants, hotels, entertainment, shopping, and much more. AAA offers trip planning resources for members to make planning your vacation easier.
AAA offers insurance policies as well, which you can purchase separately from your AAA membership. You’ll find auto, home, life, travel, and many other types of insurance available. AAA also offers financial services. They have their own credit card that you can apply for if you are a member, and they also offer identity theft protection to safeguard your most important information.
How Much Does AAA Cost?
The cost of a AAA membership depends on what tier of service you opt for. Costs will vary by location, and you can add other people in your household to your membership plan for an additional fee as well. Here are the general costs for the three AAA tiers.
- AAA Classic costs between $38 and $74 per year, with each additional member adding $25-48. This membership gets you basic roadside assistance services, which include fuel delivery, battery restarts, and tire changes, as well as four towing services per year between three to seven miles. You’ll also get $50 worth of lockout services.
- AAA Plus is AAA’s second tier, which costs $60-124 per year, and $34-80 for each additional person. With this membership, you get the same basic roadside assistance benefits of the classic package, but your towing services go up to 100 miles. You’ll also get double the amount of lockout coverage, up to $100.
- AAA Premier is the top membership tier available for AAA. It coss $77-164 per year, with $45-109 for each additional member. With this level of service, you get one 200-mile tow and three 100-mile tows per year. Lockout coverage goes up to $150, and they offer trip disruption coverage of $1500, which can cover the cost of hotel stays and other expenses if you are on a trip and an emergency happens. You’ll also get one free day of rental car use while your car is in the shop.
There may be some other small fees included in your AAA membership. For example, there are sometimes small one-time enrollment fees added to your first monthly payment. If you have an RV or a motorcycle, you may also encounter extra fees for that. Of course, AAA’s insurance products are sold outside of a membership and come with their own additional premiums.
What Are the Alternatives to AAA?
There are a few alternatives to AAA worth considering. Your auto insurance company likely already offers a roadside assistance program, and you can usually sign up for just a few extra dollars per month. However, you’ll want to compare the coverage from your auto insurer to AAA to make sure they’re providing the same level of benefits. Some other programs provide roadside assistance as well. Many credit card companies will offer it as a rewards perk, and car manufacturers may offer it for a certain period of time after you purchase your car. There are a number of companies today that offer usage-based roadside assistance, so you’ll only pay for it when you need it. This is a good option to consider if you don’t drive often, or if you don’t have the budget for a yearly AAA membership at the moment.
Is AAA Worth It?
Whether or not AAA is worth it to you depends on your personal needs and your budget. If you don’t often drive and don’t think you’ll use roadside assistance at least once per year, AAA might not be worth it. However, if you drive frequently, AAA offers a comprehensive roadside assistance service that is exceptionally reliable. Their service extends throughout the United States and Canada, and in addition to getting quality roadside service, you’ll also get discounts on auto repairs and other related services. If you travel a lot, you can save a significant amount of money with AAA discounts as well. The money you save on hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and other items may make up for the cost of the membership. However, this will depend on your own personal budget and what you decide to spend your money on.