AAA Roadside Assistance Review: Cost, Services, and Consumer Reviews

AAA offers three membership tiers and car insurance policies for roadside assistance at affordable prices, which vary based on the policyholder's age and other personal information. Learn how much you might pay and what is covered.

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UPDATED: 2022-07-22T10:41:57.737Z
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AA roadside assistance towing a car
  • AAA’s roadside assistance comes as a stand-alone membership or with a car insurance policy
  • Membership costs depend on the level you want and where you live
  • Although AAA is one of the most popular roadside assistance plans, negative reviews plague the company

For many drivers, being stranded on the side of the road with a car problem is terrifying, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the area. If you don’t know how to fix car problems, an unexpected issue can be a nightmare — this is where roadside assistance comes to the rescue.

From flat tires and dead batteries to empty fuel tanks, drivers with a roadside assistance plan never have to worry about getting stuck on the side of the road.

AAA is probably the most well-known roadside assistance plan and has an option for just about any driver. Unfortunately, AAA roadside assistance has negative reviews from customers. Though a once reputable company seems to be slipping, it still has a solid customer base. Read on to learn about AAA’s roadside assistance memberships, then compare rates with multiple companies to find the best protection for your car.

What does AAA roadside assistance cover?

While you can add roadside assistance to a AAA car insurance policy, you can also buy it as a stand-alone plan. AAA roadside assistance comes in three tiers — classic, plus, and premier. You can get an idea of what each covers below.

Roadside Feature Classic Membership Plus Membership Premier Membership
Flat tire service Included Included Included
Jump-start Included Included Included
Identity theft monitoring Included Included Included
Towing Within 5 miles Within 100 miles One tow within 200 miles; all others within 100 miles
One-day rental with tow Not included Not included Included
Fuel delivery Free delivery, pay for fuel Free delivery and fuel Free delivery and fuel
Winching service Once per year Twice per year Twice per year
Vehicle lockout Coverage up to $50 Coverage up to $100 Coverage up to $150
Trip interruption Not included Not included Cell
$50 for windshield repair Not included Not included Included

AAA membership offers a lot more than roadside assistance. Depending on membership level, you also get access to:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), passport photos, and notary services in AAA branches
  • Discounts on hotels, movie tickets, car repairs, and more
  • Vacation planning services
  • Trip interruption and baggage coverage in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (plus and premier members only)
  • Lost baggage coverage (plus and premier members only)
  • Worldwide emergency medical transportation coverage (premier only)
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance (premier only)
  • $10,000 in identity theft insurance (premier only)
  • Vehicle inspection services

Whether you choose stand-alone roadside assistance or a full car insurance policy, you’ll get access to all the benefits for your membership level.

What does AAA roadside assistance not cover?

AAA offers a comprehensive roadside assistance plan, so there’s not much it doesn’t cover.

Unless you opt for a premier membership, you won’t have access to everything AAA offers. However, even a classic membership offers more coverage than the average roadside assistance add-on.

Of course, a roadside assistance plan won’t cover things like engine failure, repair parts, or structural damage requiring serious repair work from a certified mechanic.

How does AAA roadside assistance work?

Whether it’s a dead battery, stuck vehicle, or flat tire, you can call AAA when you’re stuck on the side of the road.

AAA’s phone number is located online and on your membership card. You can also use the AAA mobile app to request help.

The operator will ask for your information, including location and what help you need. Tell the operator if you’re on a highway or somewhere you feel unsafe. AAA prioritizes calls for people in dangerous areas.

Always carry your AAA membership card. Your membership covers you, not your car, so you can call for help no matter whose car you’re driving.

If your membership has lapsed, you can still call AAA. The operator will assist you in renewing your membership and getting help on its way.

How much does AAA roadside assistance cost?

The amount you’ll pay for roadside assistance with AAA depends on the membership you want and where you live. To get an idea of what you’ll pay, check the average prices for annual membership below:

  • Classic membership costs $38 to $90
  • Plus membership costs $60 to $140
  • Premier membership costs $120 to $170

You can also buy a plus membership for a motorcycle for about $115 or an RV for $161. Signing up for auto-renewal will save you $10. You can also add a household member to your policy for 50% of the plan’s price.

Members also get a discount on car insurance from AAA. To get an idea of how much you might pay for insurance with a AAA membership, check out the prices below.

Driver AAA Monthly Average National Monthly Average
18-year-old $143 $171
21-year-old $75 $104
45-year-old $48 $59
55-year-old $45 $50
65-year-old $51 $61

As you can see, a AAA membership could save you money on your car insurance.

AAA Roadside Assistance Consumer Reviews

Although AAA offers an affordable, comprehensive roadside assistance plan, it has a lot of unsatisfied customers. AAA has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but many customers are left feeling mistreated.

A common complaint is that it can take a long time for help to arrive. App users say that AAA frequently ignores details in help requests, resulting in AAA sending the wrong help.

Other users say they waited for hours for something as simple as a tire change. There are also stories of improper work by someone AAA sent, resulting in additional damage to their vehicle that AAA won’t cover.

Another common complaint is that AAA refuses to renew memberships for seemingly no reason. AAA told some customers they weren’t bringing the company any revenue despite never filing a claim. Others say AAA denied them renewal for making too many claims.

Most AAA customers agree that while the company used to be reputable and fair, the service is no longer worth the price due to lower standards.

Usually, companies with many negative reviews still have some satisfied customers. Unfortunately for AAA, finding a customer who recently had a positive experience isn't easy.

How do you get AAA roadside assistance?

The easiest way to get roadside assistance with AAA is to apply online. The process is simple, requiring your name, email address, and ZIP code. When you sign up, you can add any household members — or skip that step and add people later.

Once you’ve entered your information, you simply need to provide a credit card number, and your membership will become active. You’ll have to wait 48 hours before making a claim, but you’ll have full access to services after the two days pass.

If doing things online isn’t your cup of tea, or you want additional information, you can call AAA. A representative can help you sign up for a membership or an insurance policy. You can also visit your local AAA branch to sign up in person.

AAA allows you to gift a year’s worth of membership to anyone. If you receive a membership gift, you’ll receive instructions on how to activate it.

Find Out if AAA’s Roadside Assistance Is Right for You

Roadside assistance is a valuable safety net for all drivers. Whether you choose a stand-alone plan or an insurance policy, AAA offers excellent protection while you’re on the road. If you decide to become a AAA member, be wary of long wait times if you need to make a claim.

AAA is affordable, but it’s not the cheapest plan out there. To decide if AAA roadside assistance is right for you, compare prices and plans with as many companies as possible.

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