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Renewing Our AAA Membership

This is not a sponsored or requested post.  I just like the American Automobile Association (aka AAA).

Mr. BFS and I have been members of AAA for 4 years so far.  I am not a fan paying for something that you may or may not use, like warranties and insurances, but it’s cheaper to be insured in some cases than risk the worst happening with no backup.  Specifically for us, I don’t drive much at all, BUT Mr. BFS drives all over town (and sometimes the state) for sports officiating.  At about $10 a month, AAA membership is cheap peace-of-mind for me while he is on the road.

Car Problem

AAA Benefits that Matter to Us

If you’ve ever looked into AAA, you may have noticed a super long list of benefits for members.  I am sure that there is someone that appreciates and uses all of them, but here are the benefits that I care about the most (we are on the Member Plus Plan – not basic but not Premier either):

  • Free towing four times per year up to 100 miles
  • Free fuel if we run out of gas.  They provide more than enough to get to the next available gas station.
  • Battery service with unlimited jump starts.  You can use the towing benefit if your car still won’t start.
  • Flat tire service.  If you have a spare, they will change the tire for you.  I actually would suggest learning to change a tire yourself and saving yourself about an hour of waiting.  But we have had to use this as you will see below…
  • Minor mechanical first aid.  If they can help, they will.  This is not insured but it may help you get to your mechanic.
  • Free identity theft monitoring
  • Vehicle lockout services
  • One Carfax vehicle history report per member
  • AAA discounts

AAA Benefits that We’ve Used

  • Free towing – In the last 4 years, my car has needed one tow due to a broken belt.  Our Prius has need to be towed 3 times…all because of electrical issues of some sort.  I think low-tech wins the towing wars…but the Prius makes 50% better mpg.
  • Free fuel – We ended up using this a few weeks after getting AAA!  We ran out of gas in Kansas on the way to a curling tournament…50 miles between gas stations…
  • Battery service – I’ve needed two jump starts…yeah, I wait too long to buy new batteries.
  • Flat tire service – We change our own flats, EXCEPT that one time when two of our tires popped at once thanks to debris in the road.  AAA put on our spare and even quick-patched the less blown tire so we could drive the 3 miles slowly to a Discount Tire.
  • Minor mechanical first aid – One of my batteries was not accepting a jump because of crud build up.  The guy they sent used a Diet Coke to clean the stuff off, tested my battery, jumped it, and sent me directly to O’ Reilley’s Auto Parts for a new one.
  • Free identity theft monitoring – I signed up and like the fact that it is being monitored all the time.
  • Vehicle lockout services – We have used this for one car so far…a friend’s while we were hanging out.  I love the fact that AAA covers me, not my cars.  That means that I’m covered even as a passenger with other people.  :-)
  • AAA discounts – This has saved me about 10-15% per fix at my mechanic’s every time.  I’ve also used it at two hotels.  I think it’s close to covering about one year’s membership by itself and could work more for me if I remembered it all of the time…

Are you a member of AAA?  Why or why not?  Does something else you have cover most of this?

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12 comments to Renewing Our AAA Membership

  • MikeS

    We’ve been a member a AAA for about 5 years now. We mainly got it because of cheaper auto insurance. There was significant savings for us, even factoring in the cost of the membership. We’ve also taken advantage of some of the discounts for local entertainment. Thankfully, we really haven’t have to use them for the emergency auto repairs or gas. Fingers crossed.

  • I had AAA for a few years, but I am in a rural area. There are no tow truck companies nearby that are available so when you need towed out, it is an over one hour wait for one to even drive here. If the roads are bad, they take priority to their local area. Because a company would not come out to where I was, I found out I had more than adequate coverage through my auto insurance which covered local towing companies. many of the other perks offered by AAA are also covered by credit cards, etc. I have not found AAA to be of any value.

  • christie

    I’m planning on purchasing for my teen boys. Just in case…. : )

  • I’ve had AAA since I got my license – starting with my parents, then on my own, and now with Dad. I’ve been towed once – a damaged belt took out the engine (fun!), and we were towed just under 100 miles to our mechanic – we waited almost 3 hours for the tow truck. I can change my own tires, and never had more than one go on me, but Dad has called them to change his tire and waited over an hour – I’ve now trained him to call me for a flat tire or a jump first… I use their travel services pretty extensively though – international driver’s licenses, money exchange, pre-paid travel cards in Euros, discount tickets to amusement parks, discount tickets on Amtrak, personalized road trip booklets. They have awesome services at their offices, and they’re usually not that crowded.

  • @MikeS, I’ll look into their rates at the end of this 6 months with our car insurance. Thanks. :-)

    @Louise, I could see where it would be a hassle if they could never get to you in a reasonable time…

    @christie, my husband was on his parents’ plan in high school and college too.

    @Mom of 3, they take about an hour to reach us for anything so far. Once it was 1.5 hours. And thanks for pointing out their travel stuff! I will be going to London this year and will need some money exchanged…

  • Yup. Any time I had a car, I always had a AAA membership. It saved my skin more times than I can count.

  • JCA

    We had a AAA membership for 20+ years. Used it frequently when we had 4 drivers going in the family. Then we were told by our State Farm Ins. Agent that we had the exact same emergency roadside assistance pkg available thru State Farm. Don’t know if all State Farm policyholders have this benefit, or if other insurance carriers have as well, but we dropped AAA and saved the $$$…

  • I’ve had AAA for 35 years and love it. It has been a good value for my family. I hate to get rid of a vehicle and have driven a couple to around 300,000 miles. With AAA we just kept in mind whether the vehicle should be towed to the garage or the junk yard when it died along the road.

    As parents of seven children there would be some new driver stuck because of Minnesota snow and ice. Now that our “kids” are all adults and scattered into five states it is comforting to have AAA for little difficulties like hitting a deer at freeway speeds seven hours from home (really happened).

  • I think I’m on the 20+ year area now, which doesn’t get you much special except the card that says so. I rarely use the services as I guess we’re lucky enough to avoid breaking down, but I do use AAA discounts quite a bit.

    We added a level so that when we’re towing our camper, we are covered for towing or repairs in the event that something happened to the trailer or the SUV which we use to tow. I was surprised that this was a relatively cheap add on, maybe $20 a year.

  • retired

    We buy cars that come with 5 years of roadside, have State Farm’s version, and are members of AARP for hotels, travel, and their magazines and never ending offers (its $63 for 5 years). Sometimes you can call the hotel and negotiate better rates though. As others have pointed out, it is usually easier to change your own tires. The wait times can get rather ridiculous. All of our cars now come with gas reminders and warnings, so its been a while since we have ran out of gas. Cars run better when they are more full, so I try to keep them full. Didn’t know about the international travel benefits, but London and England do not use euros without exchange and handling fees. They use the pound mostly. We exchanged some at the airport and used a credit card with no exchange fees, ATM’s, and international banks. At an international bank you can get those euro cards also. Generally, there’s always a fee associated with the exchange of actual money for money. They have 1, 2 and 5 pound (quid) coins and their pennys are pence.
    There’s various transportation options, we bought a week long Tube, bus passes for the family at a fantastic rate at the airport, where the Tube was available to get to our hotel. We rented a car to travel the country, but riding the trains seemed more relaxing cross country, The Tube was just the best people watching way to go through the city. Hassle with too much luggage though, travel light. Stay as healthy as possible, we caught the flu by the end of the week.

  • @Mario, cool!

    @JCA, always nice to have the same coverage through something you already pay for. :-)

    @Dan, wow. Glad you are okay. :-) We have deer that commit suicide-by-car here too.

    @Money Beagle, good to know about that RV coverage! I am trying to remember to use my discount more often…

    @retired, yeah, I try to stock up on Vitamin C for trips to try to stay healthy. I rarely catch something, but when I do, it’s really bad.

  • ICL

    We have AAA as well and really like it. Some of the discounts are nice, but mostly I love the backup that if my car won’t start, or I need a tow, or anything like that, I can just call up AAA!