Author Topic: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?  (Read 21466 times)

ZiziPB

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AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:06:26 AM »
I am considering whether to buy AAA membership, primarily for its roadside assistance.  What do you say?  Do you have it? Do you view it as a worthwhile protection?

begood

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 07:14:34 AM »
I've had AAA for umpteen years, but I'm debating whether to keep it or whether to move to AARP's roadside assistance, which "starts at" $48.95/year.

In the past, we have more than made up the annual membership fee in hotel and rental car discounts. But now I rent cars through Costco and we don't stay in hotels as much as we used to, so...

For my husband and me, it's $118/year.

frugalnacho

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 07:32:33 AM »
I don't use the discounts on it and it would strictly be for the road side assistance.  I checked with my car insurance though and it was cheaper to add road side assistance through them than it was to get a AAA membership so we just went with that.  We have progressive car insurance btw.

choppingwood

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 07:45:24 AM »
I have had it in the past and its has always easily paid for itself in roadside assistance. Even better, it is much easier to get roadside assistance during peak demand times when you have a membership and it saves you in situations where you don't have the right form of payment.

nobody123

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 07:50:14 AM »
My wife has had it since she was a teenager and driving junky cars.  She added me to her plan when we got married.  I think we pay something like $113 for it (we're 1 step up from the base level).  Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).  I have never had to call for myself.  I'm guessing the math probably says we'd be better off just paying the random tow truck driver the market rate as we need their services, but in the grand scheme of things, the piece of mind it gives my wife while driving around with two small kids means we're not getting rid of some 'roadside assistance' coverage, so I don't sweat the $10/month. 

Overall, when we've had to interact with them, they provide excellent customer service.  The police had to tow her car out of an intersection when a pothole gave her a flat and AAA couldn't get there soon enough due to the weather, and we had no issues getting reimbursed from AAA for the towing charge.  My wife uses them for their travel agency service for vacations as well.  We've used the AAA discount on stuff very rarely, since we usually are able to find better discounts via other methods.

I know a lot of car insurance policies have a 'roadside assistance' option for a small upcharge.  Next AAA renewal time, I am going to compare what my insurance offers vs. what I'm paying for AAA. 

GetItRight

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 08:10:25 AM »
I used to but haven't for a few years, and I don't own anything newer than 30 years old. I did not use it that often and I've found as I get older I have far less patience to deal with, rely on, and wait for other people who are generally unreliable, over-promising and under-delivering while charging extortionate rates. It's cheaper, easier, and faster for me to just deal with any issues that arise myself. Driving older vehicles means they're more simple and reliable so breakdowns are few and far between. When something breaks on a simple vehicle it typically falls into one of two categories, minor and won't leave you stranded or minor and can be fixed quickly with basic hand tools or swapping a low cost part off the shelf at any parts store. I consider AAA and other roadside services frivolous luxury. Just one more thing that guy always complaining about money but "has a guy" for everything and never seems to do much himself is paying for.. For those who use the discounts on things they would purchase anyway, then it's more like gaming CC rewards with a little bit of free insurance.

it saves you in situations where you don't have the right form of payment.

It's not hard to ensure you always have a few hundred in cash, debit card, at least two credit cards. Carry checks too if you're worried but I've never encountered a person that wouldn't take cash or a machine that wouldn't take a credit card (2 or more for if stripe won't read). Always prepared, never inconvenienced.

pjm123a

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 08:15:18 AM »
I've had it for years. I have used it a few times over the years. It can be used in situations that are not quite so obvious. My favorite use was when I was in a wedding party and the groom locked his keys in his running rental car. I called AAA even though it was not my car and they sent someone out. He had us sign something saying he was not responsible for any damage and within a few seconds had the car unlocked (shoved something down in the door) with no damage at no charge. We had one relieved groom and made it to the wedding on time!

I have a AAA VISA credit card (has since been sold to Bank of America to whom I now send the payments). I've had it so long they have now increased my credit limit to somewhere around 50k even though I have never carried a balance. They send me some "convenience" checks every couple of weeks that I promptly toss. I used this card strictly to buy gas and get a small rebate for each gas purchases as a credit issued on the card. Once per year I get a voucher for $75 that can be applied to the annual dues for a AAA membership. Has worked out pretty well for us for a long time. Don't know if you can still get a AAA credit card but I'm hanging on to mine as long as I can.

dandarc

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 08:22:15 AM »
I've had it for years. I have used it a few times over the years. It can be used in situations that are not quite so obvious. My favorite use was when I was in a wedding party and the groom locked his keys in his running rental car. I called AAA even though it was not my car and they sent someone out. He had us sign something saying he was not responsible for any damage and within a few seconds had the car unlocked (shoved something down in the door) with no damage at no charge. We had one relieved groom and made it to the wedding on time!
Did something similar to this when I was younger at a hockey tournament.  AAA is OK - was a better deal in our spendier days.  Still have to remember to ask for the discount to get any value out of that.  If you have AAA, make sure and review your insurance to be sure you're not paying for roadside assistance with that.

Fun fact - a while back, I was the programmer for a major insurance company that set up the interface with our vendor for our brand spanking new roadside assistance service 800 number.  That is still one of the more universally recognizable projects I've ever worked on, so it still gets featured prominently on the resume.

Spork

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 08:31:26 AM »
I have been in situations where I needed roadside assistance/tow trucks 5 times in 34 years of driving.  (3 of them have been the same old British car, so the real answer here might be "don't drive old British cars.")  My last tow cost me about $80, so let's call that $400 in today's dollars.

Using that, my annual cost is $11.76.  Your actual costs may vary.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 08:40:29 AM by Spork »

Frankies Girl

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 08:39:16 AM »
I used to have AAA many years ago, but only ever used the roadside assistance part of it, so cancelled it and just got the roadside assistance through my car insurance. It is prorated depending on the age of your vehicle (at least with GEICO) and I currently pay under $20 a year to cover both my 2 year old and husband's 11 year old vehicles.

I would not be without the coverage just because I live in a large metro area, and I've been stranded at least a dozen times over the last 10 years (countless flats, dead batteries, fuel pump went out TWICE, serpentine belt pully froze and popped the belt...lots of fun) and most of those happen on the freaking freeway or feeders where I'm not getting out and changing a flat in speeding traffic, so the fact that someone else will do it and or tow me to a safe place to do so is more than worth it to me. But not at AAA prices.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 08:44:15 AM »
I like the peace of mind of having roadside assistance though thankfully I don't need to use it often. That said, when I realized that USAA offered the same thing along with car insurance, I priced it out and USAA was less than half the cost of AAA. I switched 5+ years ago and have never looked back.

AAA is like a bad ex-boyfriend though and continually sends me letters in the mail letting me know "Your subscription has expired!". Yes, it has expired. It's time to move on!

GetItRight

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 08:46:22 AM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)

My favorite use was when I was in a wedding party and the groom locked his keys in his running rental car. I called AAA even though it was not my car and they sent someone out. He had us sign something saying he was not responsible for any damage and within a few seconds had the car unlocked (shoved something down in the door) with no damage at no charge.

Slim jim - $10
or Set of Slim Jim and other unlocking tools - $20-$30
or Coat hanger (or other rigid wire) - $free

I locked my keys in my car once, and the inconvenience of wandering around in the freezing cold looking for a rigid piece of wire that I could bend into a tool to unlock was enough that I never did it again. Similar to leaving the headlights on and finding someone to give a jump... These are things you only do once and are valuable lessons learned at a very low cost.

ZiziPB

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 08:58:15 AM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 09:11:15 AM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

Ditto

Spork

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 09:27:34 AM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

Ditto

I'm not trolling here... this is a real question:  How many flats have you actually had on busy highways?  I've had one in 34 driving years.  I just carefully drove on that flat until I was in a safe area.  Yes, a risk of damaging wheel/tire -- but weighed against getting smacked I found it acceptable risk.  (Tire/wheel were undamaged, btw.)

I'm not saying "OMG, DON'T PAY FOR IT!" ... just ... saying to weigh the expenses of both options here and how often you have used it.

Nothlit

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2015, 09:28:48 AM »
My credit card offers a roadside assistance benefit. I don't recall the exact details offhand, but the per-incident cost was cheap enough that I decided I didn't need something like AAA, based on how rarely I expect to use it.

Greg

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2015, 09:34:47 AM »
I've been a AAA member continuously since 2006, before that as well but not continuously.  The one reason I still pay for their service over other options is that they will tow me home where I do my own repair. 

Most other services I've looked into will only take you to a service facility, which is a non-starter for me.  AAA will take me home or to a parts place at my option.  My newest vehicle is 27 years old so occasionally (maybe once a year) I get a ride home. 

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2015, 09:39:57 AM »
I've only had AAA for a five years and we generally ask for it for Christmas from inlaws that want to get us something.    I am either a really awful driver (definitely probable - good thing I'm an excellent cook) or very unlucky.   I've been towed out of my driveway at least 4 times because we lived on a hill and when it snowed, I would get stuck and hubs seemed to always be away traveling.  I finally got a 4 wheel drive vehicle when the Focus died.   

We've used it when we couldn't change the flat tire.  It was -10 outside and the tire wouldn't budge and my poor husband was freezing trying to do it.   We've used it on vacation when we locked keys in the car.

Our insurance coverage is cheaper, but it covers the car not the person like AAA.    It might be an unnecessary expense, but my experience/bad luck has made it worth it for us.

I do realize if I relied less on the car and more on the bike, this is a moot point.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2015, 09:45:36 AM »
I don't use the discounts on it and it would strictly be for the road side assistance.  I checked with my car insurance though and it was cheaper to add road side assistance through them than it was to get a AAA membership so we just went with that.  We have progressive car insurance btw.

This.  It adds just $5 to our 6-month premiums.  Used it for the first time recently for a dead battery.  Quick service and absolutely no issue.  Makes life easier now that we are a 1 car family.   Well worth the $10/yr.  =)

Lookilu

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2015, 09:46:18 AM »
I'd say it's worth it for the peace of mind. I've had it for ages and wouldn't want to be without. The discounts can be substantial and are a nice bonus.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2015, 09:47:21 AM »
If you've ever had to spend time at a Southern Calif DMV, it's the best $80 you'll ever spend. 

I would never not have AAA....it's saved my ass plenty of times.   Then again, I drive a truck with over 500,000 miles on it.  ;)

arebelspy

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2015, 10:21:05 AM »
My grandparents buy it for all their kids and grandkids.  We've surprisingly used it a lot, so I'd probably buy it now, despite being against most forms of insurance.  I never use the discount.
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4alpacas

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2015, 10:32:44 AM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

Ditto

I'm not trolling here... this is a real question:  How many flats have you actually had on busy highways?  I've had one in 34 driving years.  I just carefully drove on that flat until I was in a safe area.  Yes, a risk of damaging wheel/tire -- but weighed against getting smacked I found it acceptable risk.  (Tire/wheel were undamaged, btw.)

I'm not saying "OMG, DON'T PAY FOR IT!" ... just ... saying to weigh the expenses of both options here and how often you have used it.
I've never had a flat on a busy highway, but I would be happy to have help changing the tire if I was in that situation. I spend about $5/year on roadside assistance through my insurance company. I use it about every 5 years (usually when my car breaks down), so I'm happy with the cost ($25/tow).   

ZiziPB

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 10:41:52 AM »
Thank you all for helpful input.  For those with roadside assistance through their insurance company - is that full roadside assistance including flat tire, locked keys, fuel delivery, dead battery, etc.?  I just checked with my insurance company and all they offer is towing coverage in the event the car has to be towed (and it turns out that I already have that).  I got a special offer from AAA which is under $40 for a year so I think I'll go with that.

arebelspy

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2015, 10:46:29 AM »
Thank you all for helpful input.  For those with roadside assistance through their insurance company - is that full roadside assistance including flat tire, locked keys, fuel delivery, dead battery, etc.?  I just checked with my insurance company and all they offer is towing coverage in the event the car has to be towed (and it turns out that I already have that).  I got a special offer from AAA which is under $40 for a year so I think I'll go with that.

I've used it when had to tow for a bad fuel pump, used it to change a dead battery, used it when I ran out of gas on a motorcycle, used it for a tow when the security system broke, used for a motorcycle tow, and a few others I'm forgetting.

Never had the flat tire, but have used many of the other roadside assistance benefits.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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4alpacas

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2015, 10:51:42 AM »
From State Farm's website:
Emergency Road Service provides towing and labor services when your vehicle becomes disabled.

If You Need

Mechanical labor at the place of breakdown
Towing your vehicle to a repair facility
Pulling your vehicle out of a location where it is stuck
Delivery of gas or oil
Assistance with changing a tire or a jumpstart
Locksmith services

BigRed

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2015, 11:00:20 AM »
I've used GEICO's for dead battery, costs $12/yr.  On highways in SoCal, there are tow trucks that patrol and will stop and help you free of charge if you need to change a flat on a busy highway or get into an accident.  There's no need for AAA.

But, the real reason not to get AAA is because the difference between the $12/yr insurance version and the $80-$100 AAA membership is used mostly to do pro-car lobbying to the government - to keep gas taxes low, and spend money on car infrastructure and not on bike or public transit upgrades.  If that's where you want your dollars to go, that's fine, but it certainly goes against the ethos of this place.


ZiziPB

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2015, 11:17:53 AM »
After some further digging, it turns out that my car is still under warranty through the end of November 2015 (I thought it ended already and that's why I was considering other options), which comes with full roadside assistance.  So I will wait until the warranty ends before doing anything.  Good thing I checked!!!

Franklin

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2015, 11:18:31 AM »
FYI on Geico.  I just tried to add roadside assistance and got this:

Emergency Road Service is only available if at least one vehicle on your policy carries Comprehensive, Collision, and Emergency Road Service coverage.

OSUBearCub

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2015, 12:53:47 PM »
I'm a proud 16 year member of AAA and have always had the basic service.  The only times I've ever had flats or dead batteries have been when I'm a dozen miles away from a potential DIY fix (and have you ever tried to lug a car battery a few miles on foot?)

A benefit I've not seen anyone mention: with AAA you are covered as a driver AND as a passenger.  So if you're equally Mustachian friend's beater dies, your AAA coverage will cover their towing, jump start, tire change, etc, if you're riding along.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2015, 12:57:24 PM »
I have roadside assistance for about $2 per month on my car insurance. I think of AAA as being the place you used to go to get road maps and traveler's checks - back in the days before GPS and ATM cards.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2015, 12:59:48 PM »
We've never had it. I think in the past 16 years, we've needed a tow twice, but I could be mis-remembering one from when I was a kid. We change our own tires. We carry nice long, thick jumper cables in the doughnut hole with the spare. Our present car is the first one we've had in the 2000s - it's practically brand new - 2003. We've pretty much always had something 10-15 years old. Vegas was bad for us for flats (you're lucky rebelspy), but knock wood, we've never had one in seven years in Canada.

RapmasterD

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2015, 01:14:47 PM »
Yes.

Yes.

And frankly, it's only gotten better over the years -- faster response times, etc.

TrMama

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2015, 01:31:32 PM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

Ditto

I'm not trolling here... this is a real question:  How many flats have you actually had on busy highways?  I've had one in 34 driving years.  I just carefully drove on that flat until I was in a safe area.  Yes, a risk of damaging wheel/tire -- but weighed against getting smacked I found it acceptable risk.  (Tire/wheel were undamaged, btw.)

I'm not saying "OMG, DON'T PAY FOR IT!" ... just ... saying to weigh the expenses of both options here and how often you have used it.

The reason I won't change my own car tire is that I'm pretty sure I'm not strong enough to get the lug nuts off. I've watched my freakishly strong DH change a tire and even he really struggles when the tire was originally put on at a shop (where they use air tools). I'm not under any illusions about my own strength . . .

That being said, I carried BCAA (BC's equivalent) for years before cancelling this year. I realized I'd "benefitted" from the low usage discount for several years and since I now primarily bike I can't see needing $90 worth of roadside assistance this year. Yes, that's the base price.

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2015, 02:30:42 PM »
My folks always had AAA growing up, for the discounts (Hotels and Entertainment) the detailed travel maps (Triptiks-which are now obsolete thanks to mapquest) the and the occasional lock out and tow (we handled our own tires and jumps).  When my wife and I were first married we got it and with our junky Ford Taurus, I am sure we got at least 5 tows out of the deal.  I used to rush around more than I do now, and had a few lockouts as well.  We haven't had it since I started going hardcore after FIRE but I keep an old card in my wallet and if something happens you can call, activate your membership, hang up and call back in with a service request.  Got this nice tip from my frugal mom!

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2015, 03:17:36 PM »
I use a better alternative called Better World Club. Same service as AAA, which I had long ago, but more socially aligned with my values. Wife got two flats at the same time a month ago, so we used the tow service.

Here are the differences compared with AAA from their website:

BWC is NOT part of the Highway Lobby -- the conglomerate of automobile, oil, tire, and cement interests that advocates for more and larger road building and against the development of infrastructure and safety protections for other modes of transportation, including mass transit, bicycling, and walking. AAA is part of the Highway Lobby.

BWC supports state efforts to regulate automobile emissions as we face the challenges of Climate Change.

BWC consistently supports the funding and development of bike lanes. National and Regional AAAs have fought against bike lanes and public transit funding. Changes in AAA suport have been inconsistent.

BWC supports the use of highway tax dollars used to fund mass transit development and maintenance.

BWC supports a broad enforcement of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.   

BWC Donates 1% of our yearly revenue to environmental cleanup and advocacy. AAA does not.

BWC created the first and only nationwide, 24/7 bicycle roadside assistance program. AAA has bicycle roadside assistance only in certain cities and states.

BWC maintains a carbon-neutral headquarters and fleet service program. AAA does not.

BWC stands against Corporate Personhood. We are a company of individuals, well caffeinated from the finest, sustainably-farmed coffee grounds, roasted locally and delivered by bicycle courier.

southern granny

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2015, 04:04:05 PM »
Yes, I have had it for years, and have no plans to drop it.  It is great when you have a breakdown while traveling. 

nobody123

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2015, 04:05:15 PM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


It is mostly the safety issue.  Do I want my wife and small kids wandering around a parking lot begging folks for a jump?  Will I be able to cover my groin quickly enough when I suggest that she change a tire on the side of a freeway in the rain?


alsoknownasDean

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2015, 06:49:06 PM »
I actually just renewed the local equivalent. It's $87 a year, as opposed to paying ~$200 for the tow.

My last car needed to be towed a few times, twice in a month when it overheated, and once when the clutch died. Also called them out when the tyre was going flat and the damn tyre shop had tightened the wheels on with an air spanner, so I couldn't remove them.

IMO it's worthwhile on a cheap beater.

gimp

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2015, 07:08:02 PM »
100% worth it. If I am lucky enough to break down in an area with cell service, of course.

sunshine

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2015, 07:16:04 PM »
I do have AAA and have for about 15 years. They are also our insurance company for auto, home and umbrella so one membership has to go with the other.  I wouldn't be without it. I am not physically able to change a tire. I think it is worth it.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 07:20:21 PM by sunshine »

Mrs. PoP

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2015, 07:20:19 PM »
Thank you all for helpful input.  For those with roadside assistance through their insurance company - is that full roadside assistance including flat tire, locked keys, fuel delivery, dead battery, etc.?  I just checked with my insurance company and all they offer is towing coverage in the event the car has to be towed (and it turns out that I already have that).  I got a special offer from AAA which is under $40 for a year so I think I'll go with that.

Ours is through Progressive and seems to be similar benefits to AAA - locked keys, dead battery, ran out of gas, need a tow.  (The tow coverage is maybe 10 miles?  Not huge, but enough for most purposes.)  We can use it up to 6 times per year.  It does limit the coverage to our car, so if we're in another car we don't have those benefits.  But tough to beat for the price - $10/yr.  Our previous insurance co (SafeCo) had a similar roadside assistance program that we paid into (again, something like $5/6 months) but never needed to use.

GizmoTX

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2015, 07:30:43 PM »
We've never had AAA. Our auto insurance offers full roadside assistance for $1/month. Our car dealer also provides it while the car is in warranty. We don't do long distance auto trips, but if we did, trip planning can now be done online.

AAA will be going the way of Blockbuster Video unless it can figure out how to reinvent itself.

CommonCents

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2015, 08:44:08 PM »
Over the last 10 years, I think she has called them like 4 times for roadside assistance (3 flats, 1 dead battery).

Jumper cables - $20
Teach wife to change tire - $free (or is that "priceless"?)


I am with Frankies Girl on this - I am not getting out of the car and changing a flat in speeding traffic on a highway!  I am generally pretty self-sufficient but I will gladly pay for someone else to handle this for me ;-)

Ditto

I'm not trolling here... this is a real question:  How many flats have you actually had on busy highways?  I've had one in 34 driving years.  I just carefully drove on that flat until I was in a safe area.  Yes, a risk of damaging wheel/tire -- but weighed against getting smacked I found it acceptable risk.  (Tire/wheel were undamaged, btw.)

I'm not saying "OMG, DON'T PAY FOR IT!" ... just ... saying to weigh the expenses of both options here and how often you have used it.

Once

I was 17.  I was driving to swim practice, wearing a swimsuit of course.  Lots of stories in the news about people having recently been killed at the side of the highway.  I didn't think a 17 yo female wearing a swimsuit trying to change a tire on the side of the San Diego freeway (not small) at 5 or 5:30AM (swim practice was before school) was a good idea.  So...I drove on it till I got to base where swim practice was that year, figuring I'd deal with it then.  I think it was the next exit anyways, so not that much farther.  My parents were out of town that day - I think my mom was up in LA where my dad was stationed at the time captaining a ship (or maybe they were up SF) and I had no cell phone in those days to call them anyways.  (What the hell?  I couldn't remember the name of the actual town in LA where Chase was actually stationed, so I googled - and just learned it got changed just two years after my dad left to San Diego.  Dad commuted back & forth for two years so as not to move us from SD!)  Sorry, back to story.  My dad was a CG officer.  Rather than saluting the car as normal and waving me on the guy looked at me.   Looked at the tire.  Looked at me.  Walked back to look at the tire more.  I hopped out then, and it was worse that I had thought.  The tires was absolutely shredded, and in ribbons.  He told me to drive to a spot.  He called a buddy to take his spot in the guard house and changed the tire for me.  (I'm sure the guy had a good story afterwards of the dumbass Captain's daughter to share with his buddies, but I was pretty happy he took the impetuous to do that.)

Afterwards my parents said if I ever felt unsafe, which they said they could see me feeling that way in that situation, I should of course not get out, so they wanted me to know they weren't upset at all - but, just for future, if the rims were fine they could have replaced the tire for free with the warranty program on the tires, but they needed to pay to replace the tire since it wasn't.

But no, I do not have AAA and have managed generally to be fine otherwise for 19 years.  Once a friend called AAA for me when my key broke in my trunk lock.  A story of friends using AAA+ while I was nearby (e.g. on a kayaking trip the tires were slashed on a car, although I wasn't with that sub-group that day - ironically the AAA truck that drove them back caught fire when dropping them off), but even if you count that one, a membership wouldn't have paid off.  Oh, and the timing belt went on an ex's car while we were on the on ramp to a highway.  He may have had AAA.

yyc-phil

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2015, 08:53:40 PM »
I've had CAA (the Canadian equivalent) for over ten years and have used it many times, and every time I saved much more than the annual fee. Once, my car broke down on a deserted highway in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere near the border of Alberta and the NWT, and the nearest garage was in Peace River, 200 miles south. CAA covered the towing, which I think would have amounted to over $800 in those necks of the wood. I used it numerous times in Yellowknife to get a battery boost when it is -40 and I forgot to plug it the night before, a tow to the garage when the power steering hose blew on the coldest day of the winter, or to get unstuck from a snowbank. I would never go on a road trip without it. The membership also gives me a substantial discount on my car and home and condo insurance.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 08:55:32 PM by ykphil »

El Marinero

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2015, 09:10:21 PM »
I have towing insurance added to my car insurance,  It is about $10 a year - much less than AAA.  It even covered the outrageous towing and storage fees when my car was recovered after being stolen.  I suspect someone with a reliable car could do the math and decide it is cheaper to self-insure.

No maps or magazine with this approach, though.  In the days before GPS, I appreciated the maps which were acquired from the friend with a AAA car.

I think Gizmo is right about the future of AAA.  I bet the average AAA member is 60 years old.

choppingwood

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2015, 09:37:36 PM »
It's not hard to ensure you always have a few hundred in cash, debit card, at least two credit cards. Carry checks too if you're worried but I've never encountered a person that wouldn't take cash or a machine that wouldn't take a credit card (2 or more for if stripe won't read). Always prepared, never inconvenienced.

I haven't used credit cards in many years. Cheques aren't accepted here in car breakdown situations. I use a debit card most often, but often that isn't accepted for getting into a locked car or for rural calls, which is where most of my situations take place. I don't carry enough cash all the time to cover a $180 tow to the next town over. Or to get a key programmed for my car when the originals are in a suitcase that the airline never bothered to load on my flights. The ATM hasn't been working when I locked myself out of the car at Walmart. So for me, the AAA membership provided me with a safety net when the payment form I had available wasn't going to work in the circumstances, as well as for the emergency itself.


takeahike

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2015, 10:11:20 PM »
Several long distance tows, dead battery and flat tire. I haven't done the math to see if we saved money, but in the moment, it's really great to just have it taken care of and not have that unexpected expense.

Greg

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2015, 10:34:23 PM »
I use a better alternative called Better World Club. Same service as AAA, which I had long ago, but more socially aligned with my values. Wife got two flats at the same time a month ago, so we used the tow service.

Not totally the same; they will not take you to your home (like if you do your own repairs as I do), but only to a repair facility.

LadyStache

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Re: AAA membership - worth it? Do you have it?
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2015, 10:40:39 PM »
We have it. We also have AAA auto insurance and we got an extra discount for being AAA members already. The auto insurance is super cheap. Totally worth it!