AAA and GEICO both have long histories going back to before 1940, but have branched off in very separate ways. What is the difference between them, and is one better than the other? Here we’ll provide a full breakdown of each company and how it relates to you.
The American Automobile Association, known as AAA or “Triple A”, is a non-profit service organization that has close to 60 million members in the US and Canada.
It was founded in 1902 and immediately started its goal of making the entire driving experience safer, more affordable, and more pleasant.
Most nonmembers know AAA for its roadside assistance programs, as well as its other services such as auto repair services, road maps, traffic safety programs, and travel discounts.
AAA has over 1,100 offices around the US and Canada, with about 40,000 employees.
Not as many people know that it also offers banking and insurance services, including home, auto, and life insurance.
GEICO is the second largest auto insurance company in the United States. It was founded in 1936 and its full name is the Government Employees Insurance Company, which reflects its original target market. GEICO’s HQ is in Chevy Chase, Maryland and is a subsidiary company of Berkshire Hathaway.
GEICO is famous for its advertisements, with the two most famous being the Gecko and the Caveman. The company spends over $1 billion each year on advertising.
GEICO is primarily a phone-based and web-based insurance company. There are GEICO agents and offices, but only in select states and cities.
While AAA has more overall customers, or members, than GEICO, it doesn’t have as much auto insurance premium. This means that most of its 60 million members do not use the company for auto insurance.
AAA primarily tries to market to its current members for auto insurance. But with just under $2 million in insurance premiums compared with GEICO’s $25 million, there’s a lot of room for growth with AAA.
GEICO has a much wider reach for gaining new customers, with its strong advertising campaigns nationwide. GEICO targets all types of people for auto insurance but is especially popular with younger drivers and millennials.
There are many different factors that go into your rates with any company, making it worthwhile to get quotes from both companies.
AAA vs GEICO Comparison
The main difference between the two companies is that AAA is a membership program. This means that you’ll have to pay a yearly membership fee. They have different tiers of packages to choose from, with the basic one starting around $56/year.
It does offer a 7% discount on auto insurance for current members that helps offset the membership cost.
GEICO is a traditional auto insurance company. This means that you simply pay your premiums for auto insurance, without any additional fees or benefits.
This is the program that AAA is known for. Most of its members have signed up specifically for the roadside assistance program, even when they have their auto insurance with another company.
GEICO’s roadside assistance program is technically cheaper than AAA’s, but you can only purchase it if you buy your auto insurance through GEICO. Both companies offer the most standard roadside assistance services, such as replacing flat tires, gasoline, locksmith services, and towing.
One key difference is that AAA’s roadside service follows you, rather than the vehicle. GEICO’s roadside assistance is only available to vehicles that have this feature, but AAA will come to you no matter what vehicle you are driving.
Each AAA member is allowed 4 roadside assistance services calls per year at no charge. Any additional calls will be subject to a fee. GEICO doesn’t have this limit, but 4 service calls/year should be more than enough.
Both AAA and GEICO offer large discounts for having more than one vehicle insured on the same policy. GEICO’s standard discount is 25%, while AAA uses a tiered system that could result in up to a 26% discount.
Good Student Discount
This discount is available to young drivers who have at least a B average in school. GEICO’s discount is 15% while AAA offers up to a 20% discount.
Good Driver Discount
For drivers who have a safe driving record over the last 5 years, a significant discount is available through both companies. GEICO offers up to a 26% discount for safe drivers, while AAA’s discount varies by each state.
Both companies offer a full range of insurance products, such as homeowners, renters, and life insurance. For anything related to motors, such as boats, motorcycles, travel trailers, RVs, and mobile homes, GEICO is the only one of the two that offers these products.
Both companies offer a multi-policy discount for having more than one policy with the company. The exact amount depends on the policy you have, but GEICO’s greater number of policy options give it the edge.
This is a program that offers you a discount if you drive safely for the duration of the program. It is a small device that’s plugged into your vehicle and tracks things such as acceleration, braking, corner turns, and how much you drive. Many auto insurance companies are offering this program, but surprisingly, GEICO has yet to roll out one of its own.
The final discount depends on how well you score, with a possible discount of 30% off each vehicle that uses it, but most drivers score in the 5-10% range.
In this category, GEICO’s financial strength and identity as a true insurance company enable it to offer much more competitive rates to a larger range of drivers. GEICO isn’t always the lowest option for everyone, but it consistently offers competitive premiums.
AAA simply can’t match GEICO in premiums. It’s bread-and-butter is in its travel services, which prevents it from being able to offer truly competitive auto insurance premiums. Unless you are a “good risk” for AAA, which means you have good credit, a good driving history, and live in an area with low rates, you probably won’t see competitive rates from AAA.
Both companies are great at what they do, but they do different things. GEICO is a true auto insurance company, while AAA is a travel services company that also offers auto insurance.
AAA is a wonderful organization with millions of happy dues-paying members. Its roadside assistance program is second-to-none and has set the bar for many insurance companies’ own roadside assistance programs.
However, when it comes strictly to auto insurance, GEICO is the second largest company in the US for a reason: it’s mix of competitive rates, many discounts, and good overall service make it the winner.