Is AAA Membership Worth It?
Posted September 26th, 2019 by Jason Metz
AAA memberships typically include a wide range of services to keep your car on the road, like towing, locksmith service and jump-starts. Memberships often include other services like vacation planning, financial products, rewards and discounts. There are three levels of AAA memberships, which generally range from $50 to $130 per year. So is AAA worth it?
What are the benefits of AAA membership?
AAA membership benefits depend on where you live and the membership level you select. Here are some of the most common benefits:
- Roadside assistance with services such as towing, changing a flat tire, winching (if your car is stuck but can be reached from a normally traveled road), fuel delivery service and locksmith service.
- Trip-continuation reimbursement helps cover expenses like lodging and meals if your car is disabled for more than 24 hours and you traveled more than 50 miles away from home.
- Approved auto repair (AAR) network. Service at a AAA-approved facility comes with a 24/24 warranty, meaning the quality of work is guaranteed for 24 months or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first).
- Discounts and rewards. You can find AAA membership discounts on more than 9,600 national brands, including hotels, movie tickets, restaurants, rental cars, and retail stores.
- INsider, which is a free program for teens that includes driver safety information and a free one-year associate AAA membership.
How much is a AAA membership?
The cost of a AAA membership depends on where you live and your membership level:
- A basic or “classic” membership generally costs around $50 to $70 a year.
- A “plus” membership costs about $80 to $105 a year.
- “Premier” membership costs around $120 to $130 per year.
Here’s a look at how benefits can vary among membership levels.
AAA membership levels
|Roadside service calls||Up to four calls per year; towing up to three miles||Up to four calls per year; towing up to 100 miles||Up to four calls per year; towing up to 100 miles; one tow up to 200 miles|
|Battery service||Jump-start and replacement||Jump-start and replacement||Jump-start and replacement; $25 discount on members-only pricing for a AAA battery|
|Fuel delivery||Free delivery, you pay for fuel||Free delivery and enough fuel to get you to the nearest gas station||Free delivery and enough fuel to get you to the nearest gas station|
|Flat tire service||No charge for replacing a flat tire with a spare||No charge for replacing a flat tire with a spare||No charge for replacing a flat tire with a spare|
|Emergency locksmith service||Up to $50 for service||Up to $100 for service||Up to $150 for service|
|Extrication/winching||Car freed if it can be safely reached from a normally traveled road||Car freed if it can be safely reached from a normally traveled road; second truck and operator for up to one hour||Car freed if it can be safely reached from a normally traveled road; second truck and operator for up to two hours|
|Trip-continuation reimbursement||Up to $500 to cover expenses||Up to $1,000 to cover expenses||Up to $1,500 to cover expenses|
|Auto repair (AAR) network||AAA approved repair with 24 month/24,000 mile warranty||AAA approved repair with 24 month/24,000 mile warranty||AAA approved repair with 24 month/24,000 mile warranty|
|Source: AAA Northeast. Details can change based on your regional AAA benefits.|
Is a AAA membership worth it?
We analyzed whether basic membership for AAA in Southern California is worth it, and how fast it could pay off. Based on estimates for paying for services yourself, AAA is easily worth it.
|If you need:||With AAA "classic" membership for $56/year||Average cost without AAA||Is AAA worth it?|
|Towing for 5 miles or less||Free||$95||Yes|
|Locksmith service for car||Free up to $50||$70 average, you’d pay $20 difference||Yes|
|Car battery and installation||Free installation and $25 off an AAA-branded battery||$70 for labor||Yes|
|AAA Southern California members get four free services calls per year. Sources: Towing - HomeGuide; locksmith - Thumbtack; car battery and installation - Advance Auto Parts.|
One of the most common reasons people join AAA is to take advantage of roadside assistance services. But check other sources because you may already have roadside assistance from your auto insurance company, a new car warranty, your credit card company or your cellular service provider.
But even if you already have roadside assistance, a AAA membership may be worth it if you want to take advantage of membership benefits like discounts, vacation planning, trip-continuation reimbursement if your car breaks down far away from home, and AAA’s approved auto repair network.
Can I buy auto insurance from AAA?
AAA Insurance offers all the auto insurance options you’d expect for full coverage car insurance, plus discounts, such as bundling, multi-car, good driver and good student discounts.
Can I join AAA and use it immediately?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to use basic membership services immediately after you join, or you might have to wait a couple days.
And there may be a waiting period before you can use the Plus and Premier services. For example, you may have to wait seven days after enrollment or until payment for your membership upgrade has been received.
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