Opinions on AAA for auto?

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i_shaved_something
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Opinions on AAA for auto?

Post by i_shaved_something » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:54 pm

I don't belong to AAA and never have but have been thinking about joining in case I break down in middle of the night, or get a flat tire in a snowstorm, etc. For anyone who's a current or past AAA member, what did you think of it and is it worth it? If you have some type of roadside assistance with your insurance company, do you still use AAA?
Also, any better alternatives? I'm in the US in the Washington, DC area.
Also, there's apparently some other perks besides just the assistance, and comments on those aspects appreciated.

Thanks for any advice or opinions!
Rob

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Straight Arrow
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Post by Straight Arrow » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:06 pm

I've been a member for eight years and I have used AAA for small stuff like keys locked inside a car to big things like long distance towing. I s'pose over eight years I have needed them about five times. I also have all my kids on my plan. Even though they are grown and do not live with me, AAA covers them in any car they are driving or in which they are a passenger. The peace of mind is probably more valuable than the actual instances of need. In my opinion membership is a great value.
Rich

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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:32 pm

I bought it for the wife when she began having to travel a bit with her job. We had it a few years and who used it? Me. I was plowing snow after a storm and the truck got "sucked" into the ditch on the side of the road. That was the only time we ever used it. For us it wasn't worth it, but it's insurance, when you need it it's great, other than that it's a waste. Either way, you play the odds.
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Quarterstick
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Post by Quarterstick » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:18 pm

Check your specific insurance policy on what they cover and see if picking up AAA has any added benefit. Look for specific limitations to make sure you are getting what you want. I believe the AAA is often more comprehensive, but it has been a while since I compared (my car came with free roadside).

Also, to echo what others have said, how much is not having to worry about it worth to you? For my mother-in-law, who travels a lot by car and is on her own, having AAA is a no brainer.
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fallingwickets
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Post by fallingwickets » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:56 pm

I love AAA. Side effect of AAA is many discount programmes affiliations.

clive
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ThePossum
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Post by ThePossum » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:46 am

Love AAA. Been a member for over 25 years. Have used them for towing, opening a locked door with keys inside, even used them twice when I ran out of gas.

Also love the benefit of getting AAA discounts at hotels.

Do not hesitate to join. No matter the price it is right for the assurance that help is just a phone call away when you have car trouble.
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Post by brothers » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:37 am

ThePossum wrote:Love AAA. Been a member for over 25 years. Have used them for towing, opening a locked door with keys inside, even used them twice when I ran out of gas.

Also love the benefit of getting AAA discounts at hotels.

Do not hesitate to join. No matter the price it is right for the assurance that help is just a phone call away when you have car trouble.
I could not agree more. Towing, unlocking, gas, etc., is invaluable with two females running around town on their own, in addition to me. Oh yes, almost forgot the discounts and trip planning assistance. Can't beat it.
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nteeman
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Post by nteeman » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:37 am

I am a happy AAA member since 1980! They have always come through when I needed road assistance. My one gripe was an abundance of junk mail from them selling insurance and vacations. I requested they stop sending the junk mail and they did.
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Post by desertbadger » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:26 pm

Been a member for over 20 years. The insurance they sell is too expensive, but the roadside assistance is great!

Regards,
David
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ThePossum
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Post by ThePossum » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:10 pm

desertbadger wrote:Been a member for over 20 years. The insurance they sell is too expensive, but the roadside assistance is great!

Regards,
David
Speaking about their insurance I got my daughter a membership when she graduated from college and finally got her first car. She lives in Chicagoland and believe it or not she got the best deal on her car insurance through AAA. Being an insurance agent here in Pa I was shocked at that fact. But it was with a reputable ins company and the agent knew all the right questions to ask her and answer the questions I told her to ask. Guess the rate depends on where you are.
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Post by jww » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:08 pm

My wife has CAA (our equivalent to your AAA) at present. We have been in and out of the flow with membership over the past 20 years -- however, I see it as insurance for break-downs. And since her car is now out of warranty, it makes sense for me that we pay for this peace of mind.

I have no use for their other so-called "services" as I have yet to get a real deal on any travel offers through CAA, and GPS and Google Maps make their trip tick tool obsolete.
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Kyle76
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Post by Kyle76 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:11 pm

I've buy it for ourselves and our two adult daughters. Good insurance, especially for women. Good peace of mind.
Jim

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GregPQ
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Post by GregPQ » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:05 am

I have AAA for myself, wife, and two kids (age 20 and 30). It is an excellent service, well worth it. They come quickly. As a side note, today's automobile batteries give no warning when they fail: they run absolutely fine one minute, you drive to the store, come out and your car won't start. Nice to have AAA come quickly and give you a jump start.

Regarding the discounts, I think there are quite a few available at hotels, but you do have to ask for them.

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dosco
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Post by dosco » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:53 am

GregPQ wrote:As a side note, today's automobile batteries give no warning when they fail: they run absolutely fine one minute, you drive to the store, come out and your car won't start.
In mild climates (most of the United States) IME batteries last about 4 years.

In hot places (Phoenix, for example) batteries last about a year.

Last oil change place to which I took my car, they tested the battery somehow and determined it was about 50% "done." About a year later the battery croaked. Not sure what/how they measured it, but evidently it can be done.

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Raze R. Blade
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Post by Raze R. Blade » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:11 pm

I have had been with AAA for almost 40 years. They were great most times when I needed them, 20-30 years ago. The last two times they really let me down, though. Once when my transmission gave out, they did not arrive after 4 hours. I saw trucks from the towing service pass me many times, but none ever stopped. It turns out that the towing service gets paid a fixed rate from their AAA contract, and one that is discounted from what they normally charge. Some will take care of AAA calls last if business is brisk that day. I finally called another towing service. AAA refunded the towing charge after I called and complained, but that is not the point. A similar thing happened once before, although I forget the details. I have not needed to call AAA since 1997, so they might have improved since then.

I will stick with AAA unless they screw me again. If that happens, then I will say adios.

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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:43 pm

My experience was similar to Raze R. Blade's. In the 90s while living in the Atlanta metro, I learned that AAA pays the towing companies less than the going rate, and they don't come out to help until there is nothing else to do. I had to wait a long time a couple of times.

In addition, nowadays with MapQuest and GPS available, AAA's Trip-Tych service is not the benefit it was fifty years ago.

My auto insurance company (USAA) charges two dollars per year for their towing service. I decided to go that route, and so far haven't regretted it.

However, motel discounts are nice if you travel a lot.
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slantman
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Post by slantman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:21 am

AAA is excellent but has become very expensive especially if you cover several cars. For the past 3 years I have been using GM Motor Club. Much cheaper then AAA and very reliable. There is no towing limitations like other clubs.

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Sam
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Post by Sam » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:54 am

With my car, I have roadside assistance and if I recall, it does not matter if there is warranty or not. Also have towing under my insurance policy for like that $5 a year.

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Post by Squire » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:20 am

Years ago it was a good deal, especially their travel services. Now they don't offer me anything better than what I already have through my insurance company. Even my cell provider pays for roadside service and with a cell phone, gps, NorthStar, etc., I can find my own assistance quicker than I could get AAA on the phone.
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Squire

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Post by jww » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:44 pm

The thing I like about CAA is that it's the driver that is covered, not the vehicle. So -- as long as my wife is with the vehicle -- i.e. any vehicle, she get's service. So not a bad deal, imo.
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