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Everything You Need to Know About AAA Roadside Assistance

Everything You Need to Know About AAA Roadside Assistance

There are many services we can live without, but driving without a roadside assistance plan is probably not the best idea especially if you aren’t well-versed in DIY repairs.  AAA roadside assistance plans may cost a bit extra, but they are definitely worth it.

What Is a Roadside Assistance Plan?

A roadside assistance plan is a safety net for when your car breaks  down or if you run out of gas on the road. You should not look at this service as a luxury, but rather as a safety precaution. Your car can break down at night or in the most inconvenient places, such as a dangerous, busy highway. In exchange for a monthly premium, you get an assistance plan that gives you access to 24-hour assistance with mechanics or towing services. The most common breakdown causes are:

  • Faulty, old or flat batteries
  • Alternator problems
  • Flat or faulty tires
  • Electrical problems
  • Keys locked in cars or lost key
  • Wrong fuel
  • Clutch cables on manual cars
  • Blocked diesel particulate filters
  • Broken starter motors
  • Cars overheating

A Brief History of AAA

Founded in Chicago in 1902 through a collaboration of nine motor clubs, the American Automobile Association was the first to introduce a roadside assistance program for its members in 1915. Today, AAA is made up of 32 motor clubs, each with its own roadside assistance program. AAA responds to almost 30 million assistance calls on average every year. Since its establishment, AAA has diversified into several other services and markets, such as car and gap insurance,  among others.

AAA Roadside Assistance

AAA roadside assistance coverage is available in all 50 states and comes in three membership packages:

Classic Membership, $59.99 Per Year

This plan only includes 5 miles of standard towing and a $50 car locksmith reimbursement. The classic membership excludes RV and motorcycle towing services and the emergency fuel at no extra cost but can be paid for separately.

Plus Membership, $94.99 Per Year

This plan includes 100 miles of standard towing, a $100 car locksmith reimbursement, and the emergency fuel at no extra cost service. This plan does, however, still exclude RV and motorcycle towing.

Premier Membership, $119.99 Per Year

This plan includes all services, 200 miles of standard towing, and $150 car and home locksmith reimbursement.

The table below breaks down all the services included in the three AAA roadside assistance plans:

Calls allowed per year 4 4 4
Miles towed 5 100 200
Bicycle towing Yes Yes Yes
Motorcycle and RV towing No No Yes
Fuel delivery Yes Yes Yes
Charge for delivered fuel Yes No No
Recharging electric vehicle Yes Yes Yes
Flat-tire service Yes Yes Yes
Battery jump-start Yes Yes Yes
Battery  testing/Replacement Yes Yes Yes
$25 off AAA battery purchase No No Yes
Extricating/Winching No Yes Yes
Vehicle lockout service $50 $100 $150
Meals, lodging, car rental $500 $1,000 $1,500
Post-tow free car rental No No Yes
Identity theft monitoring Yes Yes Yes
$50 toward windshield repair or replacement No No Yes
Passport photos and notary services in AAA branches Yes Yes Yes
Discounts on movie tickets, hotels, car repairs, and more Yes Yes Yes
Vacation planning help from AAA travel experts Yes Yes Yes
Trip interruption and baggage coverage within the U.S., Mexico, and Canada No $750 $1500
Lost baggage coverage No $250 $500
Worldwide travel accident insurance No No Yes
Emergency medical transportation coverage worldwide No No Yes
Cost per month $5.67 $9.25 $12.42

Table via AAA.com

What AAA Does Not Include

There are a few things that AAA roadside assistance doesn’t cover, including:

  • AAA roadside assistance plans do not include car insurance — this must be bought separately.
  • AAA does not service Mexico, only the U.S. and Canada.
  • AAA will not reimburse you for repairs done at repair shops outside of their network.
  • Only the plan holder can make service calls, but you can add other household members to the plan at an extra cost.
  • Immediate coverage is not included and requires a 48-hour waiting period after enrollment.

Competitor Cost Comparison

Although the AAA roadside assistance basic plan does cost a bit more than similar competitor plans, you do get a lot more value for money. Below is a breakdown of similar providers with their basic plan costs:

  • State Farm: $48
  • Allstate: $25
  • Farmers: $23
  • Progressive: $23
  • Geico: $14

AAA vs. Allstate

The table below illustrates the significant difference in value for money between Allstate’s advantage plan and AAA’s basic plan:

Service AAA Classic  Allstate 
Calls per year Four calls Three calls
Towing Up to 7 miles $150 limit
Jump-start Free $100 limit per call
Minor mechanical adjustment Free $100 limit per call
Winching/Extrication Free if near the road $100 limit per call
Flat tire service Change to spare tire or tow $100 limit per call
Car locksmith Up to $50 $100 limit per call
Trip interruption reimbursement Up to $250 Up to $ 1,500
Auto/Stereo theft information reward $500 auto/$200 stereo $ 5,000 theft and hit-and-run
CARFAX vehicle report 20% off Three free reports
Legal defense reimbursement $50–$300 $50–$400
Fuel services Free delivery, retail price for fuel Free delivery, retail price for fuel
Rental car Discounted Discounted
Products/Services discounts Extensive discounts Extensive discounts
Emergency electric vehicle charging Free Not included
Battery delivery and installation Free, retail price for battery Not included
Identity theft protection Free Not included
Passport/ID photos Minimal fee Not included
Bicycle breakdown (transport of you & bicycle) Up to 7 miles Not included

Table via AAA.com

How To Choose the Right Plan

Most roadside assistance plans are very similar, and most providers offer tiered plan options at different costs. To help you choose the right plan, consider:

  • How much you want to spend
  • What services you can and can’t do without
  • How far and frequently you drive
  • If you want yourself or just the vehicle covered

A roadside assistance plan is a product that’s great to have, and the AAA roadside assistance plans offer great value for money.

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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