PROS / Premium members can use TripTik to help plan and coordinate trips.
CONS / An enrollment fee, on top of the regular membership fee, is required when you first join.
VERDICT / AAA has the nation’s largest roadside assistance network and offers many generous benefits and discounts.
The American Automobile Association, better known as AAA, has been around since 1902 and has built a solid reputation by offering reliable emergency roadside assistance. With 69 regional clubs supporting its members with 24-hour roadside assistance, it is easy to get the help you need for an emergency in a timely manner.
AAA offers three coverage plans for vehicle owners – Classic, Plus and Premier – with each plan increasing the number of benefits and services available. As with many other roadside assistance plans, this service covers you, not a specific vehicle, so you can get assistance whether one of your cars breaks down or you’re driving a rental. This is a great benefit if you own multiple cars. The company also offers coverage for RV owners in specific states.
The service is available nationwide, providing breakdown assistance no matter what state you are in, even if you are traveling in Canada. If you're just joining AAA, an enrollment fee is required on top of the regular membership fee. You can add additional household members, such as your spouse and driving-age children, for an additional fee. It has a limit of four service calls in a year, which is the average amount allowed by our other ranked road services.
Every AAA plan provides prepaid 24-hour towing, which will tow ranging from 5 miles (for the Classic service plan), 100 miles (for the Plus plan) and 200 miles (for Premier) from where your car breaks down. With the Premier plan you get a free day of car rental service if you rent a car for two or more days after getting your car towed. The company also offers a fuel-delivery service for all of its members.
All plans include extrication and winching services, as well as vehicle lock-out services. The company will cover locksmith expenses of $50 for Classic plan members, $100 for Plus and $150 for Premier members. All of AAA’s members will receive battery services (including free diagnostic testing of your battery), tire repair and mechanical first aid. The mechanical first aid service means the representative will attempt roadside adjustments to make your car drivable, as long as it doesn’t require any extra supplies or parts.
This company has great service and coverage at all levels, including the most basic Classic plan, but to get the most out of this roadside assistance provider, you will need to upgrade to the Plus or Premier plan. If your car breaks down while you're on vacation and you’re over 100 miles from home, AAA will cover travel-interruption expenses of up to a $1,500 with the Premier membership. This reimbursement will cover meals and lodging, car rental, and transportation expenses home or to your destination accrued within 72 hours of the incident.
Legal-fee reimbursements are also available. If you feel you’ve been wrongly charged with a traffic violation and you’re found not guilty, the service can reimburse attorney fees ranging from $500 to $1,500, depending on your plan level. You can also get benefits on air travel and car rentals to varying degrees, depending on your plan. The Premier also provides 24-hour concierge and emergency medical services.
AAA offers a variety of impressive extras, including several travel-planning services to help make road trips and vacations safe, enjoyable and easy on the pocketbook. Members can also take advantage of the TripTiks route-planning service, which is a great tool for mapping your exact route, and it works with road trips of all lengths. It provides high-resolution maps, as well as customizable narratives, to personalize your route. You can create your route on the company website or go to any full-service AAA Travel Center for assistance.
Paper maps and other travel materials, including AAA TourBook Guides, are included with every membership. These popular guides list AAA-approved lodging and hotel ratings, restaurants suited for various tastes and budgets, popular attractions and events, historical and cultural information, and area maps. Online versions of the TourBooks are available on the site.
The AAA Travel Agency is a helpful service, perfect for those too busy to book their own reservations, and it is available for an additional fee. You can also search the availability of travel-related activities directly on the site, including flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, restaurants, events, attractions and campgrounds. You can explore interesting vacation ideas including cruises and Disney destinations.
This emergency roadside service provides hundreds of retail discounts, providing members with savings that go well beyond your annual fee. You can get popular discounts at Starwood Hotels, car rental companies, automotive stores, as well as with entertainment, shopping and personal services. You can also take advantage of the AAA Prescription Savings Program, which can save you an average of 24 percent on prescription drugs at more than 59,000 participating pharmacies.
This roadside assistance service has earned a solid reputation by providing quality roadside service for over a century. It’s no wonder that AAA is the largest and best-known emergency roadside assistance provider. Members can take advantage of an extensive list of services, but to get the full benefit of those services, you will need to go for the Plus or Premier plan. Members can receive discounts at hundreds of venues throughout the country and take advantage of the TripTiks service to plan your next trip. With all of these options, AAA is one of the best roadside services available.