AAA roadside assistance?


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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Lower Hudson Valley

    AAA roadside assistance?

    The other thread about winter drivers got me thinking. What do people think about AAA and their Roadside Assistance service?

    My insurance includes towing. Though I don’t know about “extraction” say, when you’re in a ditch so deep a normal tow may not work.

    Back when I was young and poor, driving an unreliable old car, the AAA towing comes in handy when I was stuck on the side of the road, frequently. But modern cars are quite reliable even when they’re “old”. I hadn’t had much mechanical breakdowns despite driving cars as old as 10 years and over 100k (hope I don’t jinx myself).

    I don’t have AAA any more. But should I? What’s your experience of using their roadside assistance? Especially in winter driving?

  2. #2
    thetrailboss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    NEK by Birth; Alta/Snowbird by Choice
    My experience with AAA, over 15 years, was pretty good in terms of roadside assistance. In terms of insurance, big thumbs down.

    Realize that AAA contracts with local towing companies so response times can vary widely, especially up north. That said, they have helped me out a lot including one occasion when we needed to tow the car over 50 miles. All done as part of our benefits.
    Live, Ski, or Die!

  3. #3
    Two big benefits to AAA:
    a) if you don't know who the local tow operators are, you can call their 800 number and they'll work through a dispatch list trying to find someone
    b) you're effectively insuring yourself against an unexpected tow cost (I think I'm paying $100-150/yr, which I haven't used in a couple of years, but I'd expect a single tow to easily cost at least that)
    c) the trip-interruption coverage can soften the blow some if you get stuck somewhere and need to rent a room

    Things to watch out for:
    a) they don't cover all vehicle types, and coverage can vary by state (AAA is a national grouping of independent, regional organizations, each of which has its own rules); if you have a dually or tow trailers, read the fine print carefully
    b) as noted, they dispatch trucks, they don't own any; so if you happen to get stranded in BFE, it may still be a while, especially if you want to get towed a long distance to your usual mechanic. Also, the dispatchers usually know nothing about your local area, so they may insist on information that doesn't really make sense (like the nearest cross street when you're at the end of a highway off-ramp outside of Fairmont, Minn.).
    c) you need to spring for the higher-level coverages for meaningful tow distances, especially if you want your choice of destinations
    d) you likewise need higher-level coverage if your plans involve getting yourself Really Stuck to the point of needing multiple wreckers
    e) re: trip-interruption coverage, you definitely need to read the fine print, get the right forms from AAA, and jump through their hoops very carefully to ensure reimbursement
    Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I speak only for myself, unless I'm saying something incredibly dumb, in which case I didn't say anything and you're hallucinating.

  4. #4
    Smellytele's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Right where I want to be
    I have used aaa for getting jump starts as well. Once in lake placid when it was -15 for 2 days straight and my vehicle was dead. Insurance wouldn’t cover that. Also kid locked keys in the car when he was small and we were 50 miles from home

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  5. #5
    I have AAA. I used them for roadside assistance once in the mountains although it was summer. I was @ Pinkham Notch and I had just hiked Mt Wash. My battery was dead. I called and about 20 mins later, a tow truck appeared and gave me a jump so I could drive home. He was dispatched out of N Conway. So the service is solid up in that area from my experience.
    Another reason tat I like them is I can use the local office for some DMV tasks. Only basic things like returning old plates. Not sure exactly what else but there's a list on their web page. Anytime I can avoid the DMV, I'm happy!
    Finally, I have two teens driving relatively older cars, so they provide some peace of mind there.

  6. #6
    They had a 150 mile limit for towing . I had a vehicle die in Connecticut on the way back from Maine .
    Other than major malfunction had good service with having a jump .

  7. #7
    It's worth it IMHO. We pay for the package that has 100 miles worth of towing given all the back and forth we do between the flatlands and VT.

  8. #8
    My battery dies on me when we went up to Quebec for skiing vacation and got really cold. AAA membership works with CAA, and you can even call the same 1-800 in Canada and it connects to CAA (although AAA smartphone App does not work in Canada). We got jumped and drove to Canadian Tire for a new battery, but the membership worked well for me.

  9. #9
    kingslug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Stamford Ct and Stowe
    Always had them always will..even new cars have bad batteries.
    Lets go!
    I'll drive.

  10. #10
    I use Better World Club, which is the hippie lefty alternative to AAA. (AAA actively lobbies against public transit funding and other things that I like.) BWC came through for us in a huge way the time my friend put his car in a ditch on the downhill side of Roxbury Gap on the way home from Sugarbush a few years ago, they managed to find us a tow operator willing to tow the car (which had a cracked radiator) all the way home to Somerville, with a crew-cab flatbed so we didn't have to find another way home.

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