How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

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flyingaway
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How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by flyingaway »

If you need roadside assistance, such as car breakdown, flat tire, etc., and if you do not have an AAA membership, what will you do?
livesoft
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by livesoft »

My auto insurance has roadside assistance. It is terribly inexpensive.
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Conch55
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Conch55 »

I have USAA auto insurance which has optional roadside assistance which I purchased. If I have a flat tire I'd change it myself. If the car broke down I'd call USAA.
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lthenderson
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by lthenderson »

I pull out my smart phone and do a search for the particular service I want with the words "near me" tacked onto the end. I've only had to do so once in the last two decades and it was for a 5 feet long metal rod that a car in front of me ran over causing it to fly underneath my car and spear my gas tank leaving two holes for the fuel to exit. In that case I searched for "tow trucks near me".
livesoft
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by livesoft »

Earlier this year, I was out in the desert on a jeep road well away from any cell tower signal and had a flat tire. I took out the spare and it was flat as well. But then I took out my portable battery charger/air pump/USB charger/110VAC inverter and pumped up the spare, changed the tire, and drove back to a cell signal a few days later. The original tire was damaged beyond repair. I made some phone calls and located a tire shop about 100 miles away that had tires that would fit my car. I made the drive, got new tires, and returned to the desert to continue my vacation.
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AlohaJoe
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by AlohaJoe »

You can use
In practice, unless you're driving in the Australian Outback or something, there's also going to be dozens of other motorists around you, many of whom will be locals that can tell you the name of their local mechanic. Both times I've needed roadside assistance in my life, that's what happened. Someone stopped to help and we asked them.
Swansea
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Swansea »

You're fortunate to live in an area with helpful folks. Two months ago I broke down on a very busy six lane highway. No motorist stopped, but the state highway truck and a police car did. I appreciated that they took the time.
tev9876
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by tev9876 »

AAA does not come and rescue you. They simply call a nearby tow/repair shop/locksmith and send them to rescue you. Before the days of smart phones you really couldn't carry the entire country's yellow pages around, so it was handy to have a single number you could call.

I do pay Progressive $10/year extra on my insurance for roadside assistance. That covers 15 mile (or closest) tow, fuel delivery, locksmith, winching, jump starts, electric vehicle charging, flat tires and even one hour of roadside repair. Thankfully haven't needed it.

Many credit cards will also offer roadside assistance, but they may not cover the costs. That is what I used last time I needed a tow, 10+ years ago, when my car got hit while parked. I just called the number on the back of my card, they transferred me to some other roadside assistance company who arranged a flatbed tow truck who hauled it to a shop near my house. The tow bill was charged to my credit card, but I turned it in to the other guys insurance and they reimbursed me.
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anon_investor
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by anon_investor »

livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:57 am My auto insurance has roadside assistance. It is terribly inexpensive.
+1.
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msi
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by msi »

Be careful with using your auto insurance for roadside assistance https://clark.com/insurance/when-not-to ... r-insuran/
squirm
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by squirm »

Swansea wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:19 am You're fortunate to live in an area with helpful folks. Two months ago I broke down on a very busy six lane highway. No motorist stopped, but the state highway truck and a police car did. I appreciated that they took the time.
Decades ago, I would stop to help. I don't anymore, I figure everyone has a phone, well that and frankly I don't trust anyone anymore.
matti
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by matti »

As others have noted, we just tacked Roadside Assistance onto our Progressive policy. It was quite cheap.
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C4NT
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by C4NT »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:46 am
livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:57 am My auto insurance has roadside assistance. It is terribly inexpensive.
+1.
I've heard Clark Howard, the radio show host, mention several times that a lot of insurance providers will count the use of this service as an insurance claim. This may cause your future insurance rates to rise, and potentially impact purchasing insurance from other providers as they can view claims on a database.
adamthesmythe
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by adamthesmythe »

I seem to have breakdown assistance with my auto insurance. Also had it for a few years after new car purchase (both Toyota and VW do this).

If those were not available I would try the "near me" thing with a cell phone.

Having said that- I have never ever had roadside service. I have had a couple of breakdowns or double flat tires. Last time was more than 20 years ago.

I will not have AAA because of a very annoying experience many years back. I am pleased to say that I am off their mailing list.

> Many credit cards will also offer roadside assistance

Oh that's right, I have Chase Sapphire too.
smitcat
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by smitcat »

flyingaway wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:54 am If you need roadside assistance, such as car breakdown, flat tire, etc., and if you do not have an AAA membership, what will you do?
If you have a newer vehicle it is likely covered in the warantee.
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anon_investor
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by anon_investor »

C4NT wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:03 am
anon_investor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:46 am
livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:57 am My auto insurance has roadside assistance. It is terribly inexpensive.
+1.
I've heard Clark Howard, the radio show host, mention several times that a lot of insurance providers will count the use of this service as an insurance claim. This may cause your future insurance rates to rise, and potentially impact purchasing insurance from other providers as they can view claims on a database.
Interesting, I should look into that.
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cheese_breath
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by cheese_breath »

Read your policy. They might reimburse you after you pay first.
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synthfan23
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by synthfan23 »

I have it via Amica. As others have said it's absurdly inexpensive. May not be as comprehensive as say AAA+. But I used it a while back when my car was garaged for months. Battery was dead. Someone drove out and jumped me. A neighbor tried but wasn't enough power. So color me pleased. :D
adamthesmythe
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Swansea wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:19 am Two months ago I broke down on a very busy six lane highway. No motorist stopped, but the state highway truck and a police car did. I appreciated that they took the time.
The policeman is not being nice, it's his job. And (while I don't know this for a fact) I suspect that it is also his job to call a tow truck for you.

Broken-down cars, especially on an interstate, are a hazard for other drivers.

And in many cases I would consider it risky (even pre-Covid) to stop to help. The risk is minimized if it is possible to pull well off the highway in front of the disabled car.

Here in AZ (while not normally a very forward-thinking state) law requires that you change lanes or slow down for a disabled vehicle with flashers. The law is only sometimes observed. I would not want to change a left-size flat tire in any state.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by surfstar »

flyingaway wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:54 am If you need roadside assistance, such as car breakdown, flat tire, etc., and if you do not have an AAA membership, what will you do?
Be fine. We'll figure it out.

What will you do?
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by wfrobinette »

squirm wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:37 am
Swansea wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:19 am You're fortunate to live in an area with helpful folks. Two months ago I broke down on a very busy six lane highway. No motorist stopped, but the state highway truck and a police car did. I appreciated that they took the time.
Decades ago, I would stop to help. I don't anymore, I figure everyone has a phone, well that and frankly I don't trust anyone anymore.
Yeah! I don't want to be the subject of a Dateline episode.
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FelixTheCat
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by FelixTheCat »

I dumped AAA for years. State Farm has roadside insurance.

My battery died at a gas station that only had a convenience store. I called State Farm. Waited 45 minutes and then went to lunch at nearby restaurant. From the restaurant I could see my car. State Farm did come by within a 2 hour timeframe.

During the two hours, I saw four AAA trucks help stranded people at the same gas station. I signed up for AAA again that day.
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inbox788
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by inbox788 »

adamthesmythe wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:12 pm
Swansea wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:19 am Two months ago I broke down on a very busy six lane highway. No motorist stopped, but the state highway truck and a police car did. I appreciated that they took the time.
The policeman is not being nice, it's his job. And (while I don't know this for a fact) I suspect that it is also his job to call a tow truck for you.
I believe 911 is appropriate in some or even most such situations, especially if safety is involved (alone, dark, extreme weather hot/cold, etc.). Get off the middle of the road so you don't block the road or get hit. Get off the side of the road so you don't get hit by a bad driver. Be sure to convey any particular safety hazards and health concerns, like freezing temperatures or heat stroke risk. People who's cars broke down have been robbed or worse on the highway, and good Samaritans have been victims of scams, so there can be risks to trying to help.

Best is to be prepared and have as reliable car as possible and have AAA or other roadside assistance plan.

I do hope police don't go the way ambulance and fire have gone in some locations where you're afraid to call for help or get a surprise bill.
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TexasPE
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by TexasPE »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:03 pm
C4NT wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:03 am
anon_investor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:46 am
livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:57 am My auto insurance has roadside assistance. It is terribly inexpensive.
+1.
I've heard Clark Howard, the radio show host, mention several times that a lot of insurance providers will count the use of this service as an insurance claim. This may cause your future insurance rates to rise, and potentially impact purchasing insurance from other providers as they can view claims on a database.
Interesting, I should look into that.
Also learned (the hard way) that getting a "free" windshield chip repair counts as a claim :oops: . I naively assumed that the insurance company benefits from this (vs a windshield replacement) and would not ding me. Rates went up $300/ year due to three glass claims in 3 years (all windshield related, one each on three vehicles). I'm with another company now.
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IfIOnlyKnew
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by IfIOnlyKnew »

tev9876 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:27 am AAA does not come and rescue you. They simply call a nearby tow/repair shop/locksmith and send them to rescue
This statement is oversimplified IMO. The tow truck driver or locksmith that is respondIng to your call is generally not a AAA employee, but AAA in not using some random nearby shop or locksmith. These shops/locksmiths have pre-existing contracts and must follow the standards and meet the criteria set by the local club and the AAA National Organization.

To me, for $56 (annual membership fee for where I live) AAA is worth it.
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cheese_breath
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by cheese_breath »

IfIOnlyKnew wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:31 pm
tev9876 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:27 am AAA does not come and rescue you. They simply call a nearby tow/repair shop/locksmith and send them to rescue
This statement is oversimplified IMO. The tow truck driver or locksmith that is respondIng to your call is generally not a AAA employee, but AAA in not using some random nearby shop or locksmith. These shops/locksmiths have pre-existing contracts and must follow the standards and meet the criteria set by the local club and the AAA National Organization.

To me, for $56 (annual membership fee for where I live) AAA is worth it.
And they'll typically get to you sooner than they will to some random caller because they don't want to lose their contracts.
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MissHavisham
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by MissHavisham »

I have GEICO car insurance and anytime I need help I call them and they get someone to come out. It is free or included.
criticalmass
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by criticalmass »

tev9876 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:27 am AAA does not come and rescue you. They simply call a nearby tow/repair shop/locksmith and send them to rescue you.
That depends on the location. Note that there is no nationwide AAA club, there is a federation of local or regional clubs that use a common AAA dispatch number. As clubs keep buying each other, the number slowly decreases over time.

In some areas, AAA clubs hire their own employees to provide their own service and operate an AAA owned fleet of service trucks. Only if all company crews are busy do they use contract services for calls.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by criticalmass »

Other alternatives:

1.) Better World Club https://www.betterworldclub.com

2.) Your credit card. Some high end credit cards include roadside assistance. Nearly ALL credit cards have negotiated prices for roadside assistance. I used to track the various deals for Mastercard, Visa, AmEx, and the levels for Platinum, World, Visa Signature, etc. It became too complex to follow. But ask your issuers what the deal is before you need to use it. Then you can self-insure but benefit from negotiated prices of your lowest cost card.

3.) You can also use your insurance as others have mentioned. I asked my insurer if they track that and report to databases, and they did say Yes, roadside assistance claims get reported to CLUE. But that particular company won't affect your rates from a claim, unless you are perceived as a frequent user. Other insurance companies can see your CLUE and A+ database reports, so good luck when you change companies.

4.) Your car's warranty. Cars in warranty or within factory service contracts generally have roadside assistance thrown in. It's usually provided by Cross Country or their competitor. Don't forget about this (or that it goes away when all the warranties expire.)

AAA prices vary widely depending on club but service is good nationwide, so if you are eligible to use another club (second house, overlapping club jurisdictions, etc), use the best price for your needs.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by friar1610 »

Conch55 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:58 am I have USAA auto insurance which has optional roadside assistance which I purchased. If I have a flat tire I'd change it myself. If the car broke down I'd call USAA.
I have this option with USAA. I've used it a couple of times and have been satisfied.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Small Law Survivor »

livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:09 am Earlier this year, I was out in the desert on a jeep road well away from any cell tower signal and had a flat tire. I took out the spare and it was flat as well. But then I took out my portable battery charger/air pump/USB charger/110VAC inverter and pumped up the spare, changed the tire, and drove back to a cell signal a few days later. The original tire was damaged beyond repair. I made some phone calls and located a tire shop about 100 miles away that had tires that would fit my car. I made the drive, got new tires, and returned to the desert to continue my vacation.
Great story, but what, exactly, is a "portable battery charger/air pump/USB charger/110VAC inverter"
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by boosnark »

I am guessing it's a portable battery-powered air pump that can be charged via USB from a portable power source that also doubles as a 110V outlet.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by criticalmass »

adamthesmythe wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:12 pm Here in AZ (while not normally a very forward-thinking state) law requires that you change lanes or slow down for a disabled vehicle with flashers. The law is only sometimes observed. I would not want to change a left-size flat tire in any state.
Nearly all states have now implemented a Move Over law as well. The model law for states to implement requires drivers on a multilane freeway to move away from the adjacent lane from a stopped emergency vehicle, service truck, or disabled vehicle. If that is not practical, the driver must slow down to no more than 45 mph while passing the stopped vehicle. AAA has been a key lobbyist for states to implement this.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by livesoft »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:51 pmGreat story, but what, exactly, is a "portable battery charger/air pump/USB charger/110VAC inverter"
It is something like this.
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MP123
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by MP123 »

livesoft wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:29 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:51 pmGreat story, but what, exactly, is a "portable battery charger/air pump/USB charger/110VAC inverter"
It is something like this.
Yes, but judging from the ratings maybe not that one.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by livesoft »

MP123 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:34 pmYes, but judging from the ratings maybe not that one.
Those reviews are a joke by people who do not understand that a small lead acid battery found in these devices cannot be used to run 3 electric blankets overnight. :) That is, the battery only has so many Wh of capacity (or mAh if that is your preferred unit). But yes, I have a different one.
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beyou
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by beyou »

I have often considered other options, but when you or loved one is stranded, there is peace of mind to me to know they can call AAA.

Twice the came to family members home for dead batteries just this year after covid kept our cars sitting unused. Very fast and competent service in 2 states.

I have read other boards where tow operators bluntly say they get paid better by AAA, and they will respond faster to a AAA call. Not much different than Medicaid vs expensive medical insurance. Docs and tow truck operators want to service those that pay them. You get what you pay for.
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wander
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by wander »

American Express has good deal on tow service. I don't pay insurance or AAA for road assistance.
Oilcans
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Oilcans »

AAA is more than just road service. For those that travel a lot they have maps and tour books that are a nice benefit. Also included is a bail bond service and many other things. Of course most people join for the road service. Unfortunately most people drop it because of the road service. Especially in the cold and wintry north country when the sub zero weather hits everybody needs a start right away. Of course then there are not enough AAA trucks available.

The insurance company route is an option but I've heard about a service call becoming a claim too. There are several other travel clubs and I guess you just have to find the one to fit your needs.
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JoMoney
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by JoMoney »

I just call a tow truck company directly.

FWIW, if you look at your Visa credit card features it likely has a roadside assistance feature that's charged on a per-call basis.
https://usa.visa.com/supporting-info/ro ... patch.html
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by SpaethCo »

flyingaway wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:54 am If you need roadside assistance, such as car breakdown, flat tire, etc., and if you do not have an AAA membership, what will you do?
Open up Google Maps, search “Towing”

Start with the highest rated option in the list, and call them for service.

Most insurance companies and credit cards use a company called Agero for providing roadside services. Tow operators loathe Agero because in most markets they negotiate both meager rates and have a bit of a reputation for being difficult on payment. AAA also negotiates low callout rates, but at least they have a reputation of paying without issue which tends to move them up on the service ladder.

When you deal with the tow companies directly you will absolutely pay more for an individual tow or service call. You do get the benefit of getting direct updates from dispatch about how long you can expect to wait, and you’ll find yourself higher in the priority queue because the tow operator actually stands a chance of making some money on the job.

If you’re the person who worries about bumping up against the 4 incident per year limit on AAA, it’s probably the best value you’re going to find. If you carry AAA and you can’t remember the last time you really needed to call them, you’re probably better off pocketing that cash and deploying it with a tow operator directly in the future when you really need good service. In a lot of cases, you still come out ahead financially too.
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anon_investor
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by anon_investor »

JoMoney wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:46 pm I just call a tow truck company directly.

FWIW, if you look at your Visa credit card features it likely has a roadside assistance feature that's charged on a per-call basis.
https://usa.visa.com/supporting-info/ro ... patch.html
Nice my Chase Visas have this benefit. I wonder what rates they have.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by boglerdude »

Visa roadside is ~$70/call. As mentioned above you can also go on Nextdoor/yelp and put the # for the best towing service in your phone

If you have roadside through your insurance co ask if they count it as a claim
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by wolf359 »

tev9876 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:27 am AAA does not come and rescue you. They simply call a nearby tow/repair shop/locksmith and send them to rescue you. Before the days of smart phones you really couldn't carry the entire country's yellow pages around, so it was handy to have a single number you could call.

I do pay Progressive $10/year extra on my insurance for roadside assistance. That covers 15 mile (or closest) tow, fuel delivery, locksmith, winching, jump starts, electric vehicle charging, flat tires and even one hour of roadside repair. Thankfully haven't needed it.

Many credit cards will also offer roadside assistance, but they may not cover the costs. That is what I used last time I needed a tow, 10+ years ago, when my car got hit while parked. I just called the number on the back of my card, they transferred me to some other roadside assistance company who arranged a flatbed tow truck who hauled it to a shop near my house. The tow bill was charged to my credit card, but I turned it in to the other guys insurance and they reimbursed me.
I needed to call AAA when I was a college student, I was stuck in a bad part of town, I was not thinking straight because it was 2am and I was stressed, and someone had stolen all four tires off the car. Yes, all they really did was call a local tow/repair shop and dispatched them. But they were also someone who was clearheaded when I wasn't, and helped arrange where the car was going to be taken, told me what the process was going to be (report to the police and insurance in the next day and how I was going to get to somewhere safe.)

At the time, it felt like a rescue to me.

Does AAA make sense for us today? No, not really. Especially now that we're stuck at home with a COVID pandemic. I used to justify it with the AAA discounts for tickets, movies, hotels, etc. But now we can get a similar discount with Costco and AARP (yes, it's been a long time since college.)
Smart phones and GPS have also made the trip planning and roadside assistance redundant.

But I still have it.
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JoMoney
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by JoMoney »

The advantage I miss no longer being AAA member, is in my area members can walk into their office and do some DMV vehicle registration and some other actions as a walk-in with no reservation and without waiting several hours in line.
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Nowizard
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Nowizard »

Many automobiles come with such while under warranty, so one way is to drive vehicles under warranty.

Tim
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by smitcat »

We get AAA for free with our phone subscriptions - AAA has been benificial for these things:
- travel discounts
- travel planning
- car rental
- Event tickets/Park tickets
- maps and tour planning
- Sometimes cruises
And they can also do roadside service as well.
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by wabbajack »

Too few people mentioning the two most overlooked ways to get roadside assistance:

1) Cars <5 years old typically have this benefit as part of the warranty. For example, Hyundai includes 5 years with every new vehicle.
https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/assura ... assistance

2) Most major credit cards have this benefit, while high end cards (like CSR) also provide the first $50 off.
https://www.chase.com/card-benefits/ben ... istance-mc

If you have a more specialty case in mind, such as offroading or driving through very rural roads on a regular basis, then I'm not knowledgable enough to help you. Although I would be interested to hear what the added value of AAA or roadside assistance through your auto insurance company would be in that case.
palaheel
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Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by palaheel »

Allstate Roadside Assistance has a pay-per-use offering. You don't have to have Allstate insurance or be a member of their motor club.
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Bruce
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:02 am
Location: Alaska

Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

Post by Bruce »

Interesting that when looking at the link for the Hyundai roadside service coverage, and reading the fine print, they actually use AAA as the provider of the service.

Have had good luck with fast responsive service the few times over the years I needed to call for help from AAA with a stranded car, a key locked in the car, help changing a tire, or just a tow from the driveway to the repair shop. Yes, you have to deal with a call screening operator first, but they keep you posted on what is going on and the status of your wait.

Make sure you load your AAA membership number into your call contact for the toll free roadside assistance number, to help have it ready and shorten the time you are the phone with the operator..

The contracted tow truck drivers always seem motivated to be polite and helpful and keep the response time as short as they can. Last time on a cold dark night when my daughter was stranded along a high speed multi lane highway, I commented to the tow driver that I appreciated his fast service, and he replied “oh, you have Triple A”.

I also do not think there is any chance I would get a rate for even a single tow by calling a tow company direct as a one time customer, that is cheaper then an annual AAA membership, and have never had any additional charge for using the roadside service by calling AAA.
Bruce | | Winner of the 2017 Bogleheads Contest | | "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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