Author Topic: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside  (Read 1662 times)

zoro

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Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« on: November 05, 2020, 04:56:31 PM »
I just got my annual insurance bill for AAA - $124 !!
I drive beater cars that are - lets just say - "fully depreciated assets" so I have roadside in case my wife gets stuck so with a cell phone and AAA I can get the car home so I can fix it myself. 124 is crazy...
I tried to get roadside from our insurance company (GEICO) - they quoted $50 for the year - but you can only get it if you have comprehensive insurance and we only have liability.
Two years ago I tried better world club - as they also covered my bikes - but it was a complete disaster - when my starter motor broke I waited 4 hours as they couldnt find a tow truck - so I rage walked 4 miles to an autozone - bought the tools and  part and changed on the side of the road - so never again with them...
I have thought about just keeping $500 hidden in the car and call a tow truck myself.

Any other recommendations?



NotJen

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2020, 05:32:04 PM »
I get mine through my insurance co. (Progressive) - $5 per 6 months.  Yes, I have to have comprehensive, but the premium for that is still only $50-60/year with the roadside assistance factored in.

Iíve heard you can just sign up for AAA when you have a problem, so donít pay for it until you need it?

ChickenStash

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2020, 10:39:01 AM »
I would say $500 is a bit excessive. The times when I've needed a local tow without having roadside assistance it only cost ~$100 or so depending on the circumstances and they all took credit cards so it was a simple transaction. If you have a smartphone, looking up a local towing outfit is simple enough or keep a list of numbers handy.


Roots&Wings

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2020, 11:38:49 AM »
It's often offered as a benefit on credit cards, no-fee cards are usually pay per use. I think it's $70 per use on my Capital One card. That's what I have as backup (haven't needed it).

lhamo

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2020, 04:31:07 PM »
My current charges for comprehensive with a $500 deductible are $31/year + $18/year for emergency road service.  That's with Geico.  You can specify how much comp you want to carry -- my rate dropped recently because I dropped my limit from what it was when I bought the car new ($25k) to what it is worth now (closer to $12k -- I think I dropped it to $10k coverage since that would buy me a comparable replacement if current car was totaled).  $31/year for that seems worth it to me.

From what I recall you have to have had the AAA membership for at least 24 or 48 hours prior to your first roadside assistance call -- a measure to prevent people from signing up for it only right when they need it.

ctuser1

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2020, 04:31:25 PM »
I have tried to optimize this and concluded that AAA is the best deal out there.

I cancelled AAA in 2016, after I sold my beater. Surely with a new car, you don't need the get towed for breakdown!

2 months into the life of the brand new $35k minivan, I got a flat. I had never changed a flat with just the equipment that is in the car, so I tried to figure out if I can get a service truck to come out and do it for me.

First I tried good ol AAA. They wanted to charge me $40 on top of the membership fee to send a truck.

So I called my insurance and asked "I don't have roadside, can you charge me and send a truck anyway?". They gave me their provider list in my area instead.

I called the first provider on the list and asked them to come out. They charged me almost the same amount as AAA membership. The guy they sent looked super shady, came in a car that looked like a $500 beater he lives in, and he was dead drunk! Frankly I felt a little scared (I had a toddler in the car with me) dealing with him. He had no tools, and used my car's tools to put the spare on.

Later, I learned that all the local tow shops prioritize AAA business and hence my experience was more the norm than an exception. Even insurance business gets a lot lower priority and worse customer service compared to AAA.

Since then, I've maintained AAA. 

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2020, 04:55:56 PM »
Towing and Roadside Assistance is $7.63/6 months per vehicle. So $30.52 for our two vehicles for the year. Considering a tow will probably cost $100 I'd say it's well worth it. I was in a car accident a few years ago and my car wasn't drivable afterwards. Called my insurance company and had a tow truck there within 30 minutes who took my car back to my house. Didn't cost a dime.

Fuzz

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2020, 12:30:14 PM »
Depends a bit on where you are. I had a long tow (150miles) and talked with the driver. AAA reimbursed at $2.25/mile and Geico at $3.50. The best ones were around $5/mile. He stopped taking AAA calls.

frugal1

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2020, 07:49:33 PM »
I'd recommend not subscribing to AAA - they have a documented history of lobbying against MMM-supported things like clean energy, electric car rebates, mass transit, biking (e.g. https://www.climatesolutions.org/article/1590119179-aaa-gets-triple-f-climate-policy).  Personally, my insurance (USAA) has very inexpensive roadside assistance as an option (only a few $ a month) - it's already paid for itself with one tow on my nearly 20-yr old car.  A more environmentally friendly transportation club: https://vault.sierraclub.org/sprawl/articles/travelclubs.asp


cool7hand

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2020, 06:03:23 AM »
+1 to the folks who rely on their credit card's roadside assistance for their auto

We use BOATUS for our bass boat trailer, which has paid for itself given some bad luck with brake calipers and a separate run in with a rock.

PMG

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2020, 06:18:46 AM »
I've had good results just ordering a tow truck myself.  My first step is to call a local garage and ask who they recommend. I managed a fleet of older vehicles in a previous job and had multiple breakdowns a year. I've been charged between $50 and $70. Of course it depends on how far you are from your destination and such.  This is all quite rural.

This summer our newish car wouldn't start, we have the $5/6 months roadside service through our insurance so I placed an order with them which they canceled without sending a truck and without letting me know that they canceled it. I only found out when I called back because we'd figured things out for ourselves. I suspect that because we are rural they were having a little trouble finding someone to send, but that lack of communication, canceling without notification could have caused some significant problems if we were not close home and in a safe situation. I did not make complaints about it, though I should have. They should not offer the service if they won't follow through. 

That's my anecdotal contribution to the subject.  TLDR: bad experience with insurance road side, good experience following recommendations from local garages.

oneday

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2020, 01:21:56 AM »
My current charges for comprehensive with a $500 deductible are $31/year + $18/year for emergency road service.  That's with Geico.  You can specify how much comp you want to carry -- my rate dropped recently because I dropped my limit from what it was when I bought the car new ($25k) to what it is worth now (closer to $12k -- I think I dropped it to $10k coverage since that would buy me a comparable replacement if current car was totaled).  $31/year for that seems worth it to me.

From what I recall you have to have had the AAA membership for at least 24 or 48 hours prior to your first roadside assistance call -- a measure to prevent people from signing up for it only right when they need it.

This was my experience in 2017 or 2018. (Checked the website, and it's 48 hours). I was able to pay an extra fee of around $75 (on top of the annual membership) to be towed right away.  Trying to save money on AAA ended up costing money.

I do have  some kind of road service through my insurance, but it requires me to pay out of pocket, and they will reimburse only up to $75 per disablement. That's probably fine in town, but I frequently take road trips and so I want coverage for more mileage. As I recall, even the basic AAA membership will tow 5 miles or the nearest safe place/auto repair shop. So if you break down a million miles from nowhere, they will not charge you for 999,995 miles of towing. I'm trying to confirm this, but the website is stuck on the login page.

Back in 2017 or 2018 (I can't remember which), I decided to risk having no AAA coverage and programed the phone number of a family friend, who runs his own towing company, into my phone. Between the insurance coverage and this friend, I should have been set.  Now, I think of myself as an extremely level-headed and calm person under pressure, but when my car inexplicably died, I panicked. Totally forgot about the friend and the insurance coverage. I guess I've just been conditioned to call AAA when things go wrong with the car.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 01:45:31 AM by oneday »

Goldielocks

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2020, 02:01:09 AM »
It would be better to have 2 tow companies number in the car than to get AAA.   I found that it only cost around $80 for the typical tow.  The most stressful part is calling a tow truck at 8pm at night with nearly zero cell phone battery and needing to search for a company.  Having the company info in advance was great.   I got a discount for paying cash, too. 


Before, I had AAA and they were good for the battery jumping (my beater at the time had an issue with a door light switch staying on sometimes), but the two times I needed a two, there was "weather" and it took 2 days.  Understandable at the time, but...   So no more AAA.

MissPeach

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2020, 10:08:48 AM »
I used to have assistance from my car manufacturer but I have a newer car. I went with the insurance company roadside assistance after that expired and I got stuck somewhere. AAA was something like $80-100/year here and my insurance added it for $14/year. Since I have the newish car I keep on comprehensive/collision but I have a higher deductible to keep the premium down.

mankyle

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2020, 01:42:26 PM »
You mentioned coverage for your "bikes" so I'll assume motorcycles.  I also ride and have roadside coverage through my AMA (American Motorcycle Association) membership.  It is basically a perk you get for free if you sign up for auto-renewal.  I have used the roadside assistance a couple of times with no problem.  And yes, they cover all my vehicles not just the motorcycle.  In fact the times I have called them have all been for my car. 

It's $49 a year for membership and if you don't like the autorenewal option can purchase 3 years of membership upfront with roadside assistance included.  Honestly, I am not sure they even require you to have a motorcycle so could sign up just for the roadside assistance.Not sure they will allow the link but here it is: https://americanmotorcyclist.com/join-the-ama/


Optimiser

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2020, 01:59:16 PM »
I drive what I'm sure most here would describe as beaters ranging from 14 to 31 years old. I have occasionally needed a tow and for a while had AAA, but there is no way that my average annual towing expense is anywhere near $124/year. I just figure if I need a tow I'll call a tow company and pay cash for it. Even if I have to do this once a year I'll probably come out ahead, but I also am capable of changing my own tire or jump starting my car so YMMV.

kay02

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Re: Alternatives to AAA for Roadside
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2020, 01:57:37 PM »
I have AAA but am considering dropping it.  I think my insurance offers something I could get for cheap.  Thanks for all the info in this thread!!