Is AAA a good deal?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

Is AAA a good deal?

Postby tc101 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:13 am

I'm 60 and have a bad back and a bad shoulder. Yesterday I had a cold and was driving in the rain and I thought about how hard it would be for me to change a tire if I had a flat. I thought about joining AAA. Is it a good deal, or are there better options?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.
User avatar
tc101
 
Posts: 2511
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Postby GammaPoint » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:30 am

Here's a thread from awhile back where this was discussed quite a bit (not to derail any further convo here of course).

I've never had AAA so the above is as helpful as I can get :)
GammaPoint
 
Posts: 2552
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:25 am
Location: California

Postby CABob » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:44 am

I've been a auto club member for a lot of years. I doubt that I have gotten my moneys worth over that time, but, I keep renewing my membership because of "what if". Primarily it is so my wife (and daughters in the past) can have the service if needed, but, like you I no longer change tires unless I really have to.
Check with your auto insurance. It may have roadside assistance coverage or can add it for less than AAA membership.
Remember that there are other services that they provide such as maps, books, travel arrangements, DMV transactions, etc.

I just checked the prior conversation that Gamma Point listed above and see that I responded to it also and said about the same thing. At least I'm consistent.
Bob | An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -- Benjamin Franklin
User avatar
CABob
 
Posts: 3039
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:55 pm
Location: Southern California

Postby Opponent Process » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:02 am

yes I'm always getting flats and locking my keys in my truck. I also use the AAA discount at hotels.
30/30/20/20 | US/International/Bonds/TIPS | Average Age=37
User avatar
Opponent Process
 
Posts: 5159
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby norookie » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:16 am

Opponent Process wrote:yes I'm always getting flats and locking my keys in my truck. I also use the AAA discount at hotels.
I would suppose it would also depend on your time in a auto, or traveling. Most Auto insurance HAS 100.00 reimbursable emergency insurance anyway. AARP, NRA, AAA, you just say "yes". I've never been asked to see a card for a discount FWIW. -just sayin-
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c
User avatar
norookie
 
Posts: 3016
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:55 pm

Postby tc101 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:24 am

The thing I worry about is not knowing who to call in an emergency. If I get a flat tire, is there some other number I could call and have someone come out and change it?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.
User avatar
tc101
 
Posts: 2511
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Postby norookie » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:29 am

:D Triple AAA and tell them you need Tire/Tow/ etc. service. Truck gets there you tell the driver "how much to change the tire" or whatever. You might wait extra time if its busy, your self insuring, (or not), easy. Done it. Excuse me, you call your insurance first,(1-800-XXX-XXXX) then they send someone out. Its usually AAA. Get a receipt.
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c
User avatar
norookie
 
Posts: 3016
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:55 pm

Re: Is AAA a good deal?

Postby zblongladder » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:05 am

tc101 wrote:I'm 60 and have a bad back and a bad shoulder. Yesterday I had a cold and was driving in the rain and I thought about how hard it would be for me to change a tire if I had a flat. I thought about joining AAA. Is it a good deal, or are there better options?


It depends. I've had nothing but good experiences thus far -- I'm an idiot about locking my keys in the car, and AAA was nothing short of miraculous getting me back in my car once. At midnight. On a Sunday. In the airport parking lot. When I was joining because my keys were already locked in the car. Heck, the basic membership isn't much more than a locksmith call, anyway. Of course, if you're less forgetful than I, it probably won't pay for itself the same way.

Then again, I've had relatives to have bad experiences with them; they wouldn't give my aunt roadside assistance because she couldn't tell them what mile-marker she was at. (Then again, I'm not sure how they would've found her anyway if she didn't know what mile marker she was at on the highway, so I somewhat sympathize with the representative on that one.) AAA is like a lot of big companies -- you get some great reps, but you get some awful ones too. FWIW, they took a long time on the phone to sort out some initial billing confusion with me (I accidentally got registered and charged twice), but they were very, very courteous about it, and had no qualms giving me a refund once they found the mistake. They even refunded the difference for the employer discount I forgot to ask about when I'd first set up the account.

Also, if you're looking at it for peace-of-mind for breakdown scenarios (and not prepaid locksmith visits :wink:), you might think about AAA Plus. It's a pretty hefty cost difference, but there's a much bigger difference in the distance they'll tow you (the regular AAA will only allow something like a five-mile tow).
User avatar
zblongladder
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:15 am

Postby newbie_Mo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:24 am

tc101 wrote:The thing I worry about is not knowing who to call in an emergency. If I get a flat tire, is there some other number I could call and have someone come out and change it?


We have an old car. We used AAA for help three times last year. One for battery, two times for starter failure. And because we'll continue to use the same old car, we have AAA again this year. We like the fact that there is a phone 1800-AAA# we can always use instead of trying to find a local road side assistance company when we are in a new city. We just treat the membership fee as part of our insurance cost.
newbie_Mo
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:28 pm

Re: Is AAA a good deal?

Postby Bob B » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:09 am

tc101 wrote:I'm 60 and have a bad back and a bad shoulder. Yesterday I had a cold and was driving in the rain and I thought about how hard it would be for me to change a tire if I had a flat. I thought about joining AAA. Is it a good deal, or are there better options?


You will get pros and cons here for answers. It really is based on your personal situation. As far as being a good deal, it's insurance. 'Nuf said. My reasons for having AAA:

1. Having a number to call nationwide that will always be answered any time of day by a human being whether I am in the middle of a city or on a lonely stretch of interstate.

2. Because of a medical issue, I cannot walk a mile or two to find a service station. If my car breaks down, I am stuck.

3. I have a long commute. I carry AAA+ so I can always be towed back to my home turf and the service station of my choice.

All of my road service experiences wilth AAA have been fine. Reasonable waiting time and professional service people. Yes, I tip since that question has come up before.

The discounts are nice (and there are a lot more of them than you may think - not just travel related), but it is not my primary reason for membership. I have not used the travel agency other than for travelers checks and TripTiks.
Regards, | Bob |
Bob B
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Postby infecto » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:33 am

I vote yes on AAA. Some people go for their insurance companies towing package but I think if you read the fine print you will find a lot of them are junk. For instance last time I checked GEICO (which might have changed now) stated that they will tow you to the nearest repair facility. Maybe I want to tow to my own facility or maybe to my house. Too many open holes imo. That and there is always the chance it goes on your CLUE.
infecto
 
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:50 pm

Postby wilson08 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:39 am

Yes AAA is a good deal especially if
you happen to be in the boondocks
and need assistance with an automobile
problem any time day or night.

Wilson
wilson08
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:37 pm

Re: Is AAA a good deal?

Postby Beantown85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:15 am

tc101 wrote:I'm 60 and have a bad back and a bad shoulder. Yesterday I had a cold and was driving in the rain and I thought about how hard it would be for me to change a tire if I had a flat. I thought about joining AAA. Is it a good deal, or are there better options?


I don't know of any better options, but I would say the cost of AAA is pretty reasonable for the service and discounts you get. I have it, have used it numerous times for tows / battery jumps / locked keys in the car, and have been happy with it. Discounts available all over the place are a nice bonus.
Beantown85
 
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:11 am

Postby jeffyscott » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:25 am

tc101 wrote:The thing I worry about is not knowing who to call in an emergency. If I get a flat tire, is there some other number I could call and have someone come out and change it?


For $8 per year I get roadside assistance coverage from my insurance company. They have an 800 number to call.

Another option is many credit cards claim to have this sort of service, you can call and they will send someone to help you out, of course in this case you pay the bill. I imagine for those who do not neglect their cars, paying for your own service, as needed, is the most cost effective method. With any flat rate prepaid system, I feel like I am subsidizing folks like newbie_Mo :wink: .

My insurance company charges double what I am paying for older cars and also you must have collision/comprehensive (or maybe just comprehensive?) in order to get their roadside assistance. So when our cars get a bit older, I'll likely drop it and go back to relying either on the credit card or just calling a relative who has access to a computer and can look for a place to call.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle
User avatar
jeffyscott
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Wisconsin

Postby CTBob » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:26 pm

We've had AAA for maybe 20 or so years. I think we first got it when our daughters started driving and we were worried about them. I'd probably still change a tire myself (actually our Toyota Sienna has no-blow-out tires so I wouldn't), but I like it when we travel and I don't have to worry about how to find a tow if somethings happened (been towed twice so far). We've also used it a few times over the years for dead batteries.
CTBob
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:18 am
Location: Connecticut

Postby tc101 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:51 pm

Thanks for your comments. I just called and joined.
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.
User avatar
tc101
 
Posts: 2511
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Postby nisiprius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:18 pm

We've been members since 1985--their membership card cleverly says so. I've give it mixed reviews, but we keep renewing. We've used them maybe half-a-dozen times for emergency road service. The big thing is that you shift the weight of responsibility. You make a call, and that's it. Then the problem is reduced to simply waiting.

They show up. They deal with it. Sometimes they're a little slow, e.g. jumping batteries when it's cold out. There are in fact some infuriating gaps in coverage--for some reason they can't come to you on the Mass Pike, or at least they couldn't the time we needed them.

I usually hit them for a couple of maps and tourbooks every year. Their maps are probably better than you can get in a bookstore; their tourbooks are neither good nor bad, but I've "prepaid" for them.

I don't like their "Horizons" newsletter particularly. I don't like their lobbying--I mean, I'm a member of AAA and I'm also a member of the League of American Bicyclists and the two organizations are duking it out right now and I'm both sides, how does that make sense?

Here's what puzzles me. I have the impression that they don't actually do the road service any more, that they've outsourced that. And I have no idea whether AAA road service is any better or worse than the various "brand X" road services that are available. I'd be curious to know.

Meantime, I wouldn't be without some kind of emergency road service plan, and AAA isn't too expensive and I just keep renewing every year because why tinker with something that's good enough.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
 
Posts: 25827
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Postby jeffyscott » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:43 pm

When we traveled to Norway, it was interesting to discover that they have 3 companies that one can call for these situations. As I understand it, they are not like AAA, there is no membership fee, instead I think anyone can call and get help and you would pay for the services rendered.

On their tourist info site under "Breakdowns and assistance", it says: "If you require salvage or technical assistance with your vehicle you can call the following 24 hour numbers..."

I don't know if that sort of thing exists in other countries as well.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle
User avatar
jeffyscott
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Wisconsin

Postby Bob B » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:42 pm

nisiprius wrote:
...There are in fact some infuriating gaps in coverage--for some reason they can't come to you on the Mass Pike, or at least they couldn't the time we needed them....


The situation is similar in Pennsylvania. Only turnpike commission approved service vehicles are allowed to respond to breakdowns on the PA Turnpike. They are dispatched by the Turnpike radio room. However, all approved responders have to accept AAA cards, so the service ends up being covered. Here is more info...

http://www.paturnpike.com/geninfo/emergency/roadserve.aspx

The AAA clause is at the bottom. Perhaps Mass is similar?
Regards, | Bob |
Bob B
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Postby JerseyKC » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:31 pm

norookie wrote:
Opponent Process wrote:yes I'm always getting flats and locking my keys in my truck. I also use the AAA discount at hotels.
I would suppose it would also depend on your time in a auto, or traveling. Most Auto insurance HAS 100.00 reimbursable emergency insurance anyway. AARP, NRA, AAA, you just say "yes". I've never been asked to see a card for a discount FWIW. -just sayin-


To see the AAA rate on line booking for hotels, a lot of them require it

I've had to show mine when showing up with an online reservation.

We travel some, so the discount pays for the membership and they've helped me out a few times with tows.
JerseyKC
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:53 pm

Postby norookie » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:02 pm

JerseyKC wrote:
norookie wrote:
Opponent Process wrote:yes I'm always getting flats and locking my keys in my truck. I also use the AAA discount at hotels.
I would suppose it would also depend on your time in a auto, or traveling. Most Auto insurance HAS 100.00 reimbursable emergency insurance anyway. AARP, NRA, AAA, you just say "yes". I've never been asked to see a card for a discount FWIW. -just sayin-


To see the AAA rate on line booking for hotels, a lot of them require it

I've had to show mine when showing up with an online reservation.

We travel some, so the discount pays for the membership and they've helped me out a few times with tows.
No doubt, if theres a deep discount involved. I certainly do not discount them. I do not post well, everyone has a Achilles heel. Just saying, every place I've ever stayed was a unplanned "motel. hotel, holiday inn" (remember that song?). I just get the car ready and scoot. I've never been asked for card or card number. Concerning all 3.>shrug<
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c
User avatar
norookie
 
Posts: 3016
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:55 pm


Return to Personal Finance (Not Investing)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crow Hunter, Google [Bot], janiebegood, Lizzie8025, mlipps, Professor Emeritus, Ruby, SteveM, Taylor Larimore, Uncle Pennybags and 94 guests