Is a AAA Membership Worth Paying For?

Is a AAA membership worth it ?

Is a AAA membership worth it?  Yes, no and maybe so. Sorry; I know you’re looking for a simple, black and white, cut and dried yes or no, but there really is not a simple answer to this question. If you really want to know if a AAA membership is worth it, you have to ask yourself a number of questions that have more bearing on the answer than you might imagine. You see, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Ask me, personally, the question whether or not a AAA membership is worth it, and you’re going to get a no. Ask my very best friend in the entire world the question whether or not a AAA membership is worth it, and you’re going to get a very enthusiastic yes. We agree to disagree on this one because we both have different needs and different feelings on the situation.

The biggest difference in her answer and mine is this; my husband and I have cars that have their own vehicle assistance program (i.e. OnStar, BMW Assist, etc.) whereas she has a program in her Lincoln but not in her husband’s truck or their hunting truck. For them, it’s far more cost effective to purchase one AAA membership that works with all their vehicles than it is to purchase the program for her car and leave their other two vehicles unprotected. For us, we pay for one program and the other is free of charge with the purchase agreement in the vehicle. We’re both covered, and a AAA membership is not worth it to us.

Do you see the distinction? Of course, you might be in the same boat. Or perhaps your boat (vehicles, in this case) looks nothing like ours. There are still several considerations you have to make when deciding whether or not a AAA membership is worth it.

Why do I Even Want to Consider a AAA Membership?

There are so many reasons to consider a AAA membership, and we have just a few of the most common right here. For one, you would consider this type of protection if you want to have protection when you are in a car that is your own or anyone else’s. A AAA membership is also worth it if you have no other form of protection on your vehicle, such as OnStar or another program of that nature. Furthermore, AAA offers a number of additional perks you will not get otherwise, such as discounts on things that you do regularly, such a book hotels or buy tickets to theme parks. Essentially, a AAA membership is worth it if you are looking for peace of mind when you are traveling, and really, who isn’t?

What is AAA?

AAA is a roadside assistance program that offers drivers protection from the unexpected, such as a break down, a flat tire or even some other issue with your vehicle. The program covers all vehicles you drive or are even in when something happens, and it’s great for those who do find that a AAA membership is worth it. However, the cost to join AAA can be quite pricey, and that leaves some wondering, is a AAA membership worth it? We are going to break it down for you so that you can see for yourself whether or not this protection program is the right one for you. We can’t tell you, because we don’t know your particular situation, but we can guide you in the right direction so that you’re not longer asking is a AAA membership worth it for me?

There are three different AAA membership levels, each one more expensive and more extensive than the last. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you exactly how much it will cost you to obtain any type of AAA membership since prices vary based on location. I can tell you, though, that the Classic membership is the lowest level, followed by the Plus and then the Premier. All new members are required to pay an additional one-time $17 fee when enrolling in any of the AAA membership programs, and there is a fee for each additional driver in the household you want to protect.

Is a AAA membership worth it? Well, it depends on which level you purchase and what type of protection you are looking for. Each of the three packages available to drivers includes the following benefits:

  1. Tow services for broken down vehicles – a fee applies to excess miles not included in the membership package you choose
  2. 10% discount on repairs at all AAA-approved facilities
  3. No delivery fee for gas or new batteries when broken down
  4. Assistance when you are locked out of your vehicle
  5. Vacation planning and travel agent access
  6. Car rental, hotel, theme park and restaurant discounts for all members regardless of your membership level

If you love the concept of any of these, then perhaps a AAA membership is worth it for you. These are basic services covered in the Classic AAA membership, and each level does offer more since you are paying more for your membership. If you want more protection, you’ll want to pay more for either a Plus or Premier AAA membership, which include added benefits such as the following:

  1. Additional free miles when your car is being towed
  2. Reimbursement when you have to use a locksmith to get you into your vehicle
  3. Baggage reimbursement for stolen luggage
  4. Overnight shipping for new items if luggage is lost or stolen
  5. Hotel expenses while your car is being fixed on a road trip

The Premier AAA membership includes all of the above and the following:

  1. Motorcycle roadside services
  2. $300k accident insurance
  3. Medical transportation worldwide
  4. Many more benefits

Are you still asking, is a AAA membership worth it? We have more, so don’t make your decision just yet.

What About my Car Insurance Company?

Perhaps by now you have managed to convince yourself that your car insurance company offers the same protections and that makes is less likely that a AAA membership is worth it to you. However, your car insurance policy might not offer nearly as much protection as you assume it offers. Sure, it might offer you things like coverage on rental vehicles so you can forgo those pesky rental insurance fees, but does it cover you when you are stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire or a dead battery? The very common answer to that question is no. Most car insurance policies do not cover such instances; you have to purchase additional protection to have this type of protection added to your car insurance policy, and that’s not always something that is available to all drivers.

Furthermore, even if your car insurance policy does cover your repairs or things of this nature, you might want to ask yourself this: Would I rather pay a small annual fee to become a AAA member and have my luggage replaced and my belongings paid for when I have to replace them, or would I rather pay my expensive insurance deductible for the same service? You could spend the $199 (average price across the country) fee for the highest level AAA membership package and receive your luggage and belongings replaced free of charge and shipped to you overnight every single time it’s lost or stolen on vacation, or you could pay your $250, $500 or more deductible to have your car insurance company reimburse you for these items. Now as yourself, is a AAA membership worth it for me to pay for when it comes to these savings?

Finally, your car insurance company does not offer additional perks, such as hotel discounts and travel discounts when you use your car insurance card to book travel like a AAA membership does, so those perks are often worth it for many people. Let’s take, for example, a driver that stays at least two nights a month in a hotel that averages $200 per night. With a 10% AAA discount, that person is saving approximately $40 per month on his or her room. That’s $480 per year in savings using a AAA card that you are not getting when you use your car insurance.

Car Protection Services

Now that you’re really considering whether or not a AAA membership is worth it to you, you have to ask yourself if you want to pay more for that kind of coverage when you might already have coverage through your actual vehicle manufacturer. Many vehicles offer different assistance programs, such as OnStar and BMW Assist take roadside assistance to a whole new level. To provide a quick rundown, your vehicle might offer one of these (or a different service if you drive a different vehicle) and you might already have protection because of that.

In my Enclave, for example, I have OnStar. For $30 per month, I am able to push a button in my car and call OnStar to provide an address and receive turn-by-turn navigation in my vehicle without having to input anything myself. I am able to call and ask for someone to tell me where to find a gas station, restaurant, hotel or anything that I need. I am able to push the button and say, “There is a light on my dash, can you tell me what it means?” and receive an answer. I get a free diagnostic report every month emailed to me and I can call and ask for one at anytime to see how much oil life I have left, the pressure in my tires, whether or not all my car parts are working correctly, etc.

Twice I’ve left my keys sitting on the driver seat as I’ve removed things from my vehicle to take into the house and my SUV has locked itself with the keys inside. I am able to call OnStar from my phone and ask them to unlock the car for me as I stand right there next to it. Within 30 seconds of being on the phone, my car has been unlocked. They’ve come to jump my car and offer me a new battery when it’s died, and I have all types of roadside protection. For me, a AAA membership is not worth it because I already have all the protection that I need.

Our BMW Assist offers the same protection, so it’s not worth it to us to have AAA. However, if you travel frequently and have a need for a hotel discount, you don’t have coverage on your vehicle through a similar program or you have other reasons, a AAA membership might be worth it to you.

Our advice to you is to call your car insurance company and ask what it is that your policy covers for you when you begin asking if a AAA membership is worth it. Find out what the company has to say. If the insurance company does not cover what it is you want them to cover, ask what you can do to earn some additional coverage, such as buying an additional policy to add to your current policy. Price this, compare what it has to offer to what AAA has to offer and see where you can go from there.

Do the math, check your finances and see what’s covered. It might not be as necessary if you drive a brand new car but if you drive an older car, it might be worth it to you to cover the cost of any repairs that might occur even if the upfront price looks like more than you are willing to spend; it could save you significantly in the long run when you choose an option such as this. Go ahead and check it out to see if a AAA membership is worth it to you, and then choose the level of protection you think is necessary. You can never be too careful when it comes to your car.

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