Aaa: Worth The Cost?

By Teresa Curto

August 7, 2019 4 min read

AAA may very well be the most popular membership service of its kind. When shopping around for roadside assistance, travel and other benefits, many drivers look first to AAA, but is it worth the cost?

Membership prices vary from region to region across the U.S. The average cost seems to be around $50 to $65 for the most basic membership plan, about $100 for the plus membership plan and $125 to $150 for the premier tier. You can also add a family member to your plan for roughly $50. AAA membership plans have a few noteworthy features that may help you determine whether the cost is worth it for you.

If your car has ever broken down far away from home, you may know that towing it safely home can be a pricy feat. In fact, one tow can be worth far more than the cost of your annual membership, if you choose to upgrade from the basic plan to the plus or premier tier. While the basic plan only covers tows up to 7 miles, the plus and premiere plans cover tows up to 100 miles. The premier plan even covers one tow up to 200 miles. Choosing one of these higher-tiered membership plans is a great strategy if you have an older or less-reliable vehicle that has a risk of breaking down on long road trips.

There's nothing more despairing than realizing that you've locked yourself out of your own vehicle. For some, it may be easy to have a family member save the day with a spare key, but this isn't necessarily the case for everyone. And many people work far from home, so it isn't feasible for them to get to their spare key in a pinch. If you're the forgetful kind, AAA's vehicle locksmith benefit can come in handy when your keys are not.

The services of a AAA membership can be provided to virtually anyone if a membership holder is present. So, if you have a large network of family and friends who often need help with tows or vehicle lockouts, their vehicle should qualify to receive benefits from your membership services, so long as you're available to present your membership card. And it's inexpensive to add household members to your membership plan, making it a great money-saving tactic. Each member in your group gets four service calls a year.

AAA memberships offer a slew of other benefits, too, from travel discounts to notary, fuel delivery, jump-starting and battery services.

You may have made up your mind as to whether a AAA membership is worth the cost, but how does it stack up against other plans of its kind?

When it comes to roadside assistance benefits, some companies have a more specialized focus. For instance, Good Sam Club caters to RV owners, while Better World Club offers discounts for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles. Most insurance companies also offer different roadside assistance programs. The primary difference between AAA's roadside assistance and many other insurance companies' roadside assistance? It's common for your insurance company's benefits to not reach beyond the vehicles covered by your policy. This makes AAA a better value, should you need a bit of flexibility for the vehicles requiring services.

There aren't many companies offering as comprehensive a membership as AAA. If you're over 50, you can purchase a membership with AARP and spring for roadside assistance benefits. But for the rest of us folks, AAA seems like a great value.

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