Alternatives to American Automobile Association?

Once upon a time, people bought memberships in AAA so that they had trustworthy contacts for unplanned repair and assistance while on the road and unable to do research in advance.

Nowadays AAA seems to be oriented around coupon clipping instead. But I still like the idea of having some advance arrangements for unplanned repair and assistance.

What’s a good way to get this kind of security?

Most car insurance companies offer towing and roadside assistance. Ask your agent if your company does.

There’s Better World Club, BP Motor Club (formerly Amoco Motor Club), Allstate Motor Club, AARP Motor Club, etc. And I have a Visa Signature credit card that includes as one of the services a toll-free number I can call for towing assistance. (I’ll still have to pay for it, but they’ll contact a local towing service.)

And I’ve added the names and phone numbers of a couple of local towing service to my phone’s address book.

AAA still offers the same roadside assistance it always has, regardless of its other offerings. $92/yr for 100 mile tows, or other roadside help, 4 per year. It covers you, not the vehicle, so if you’re in someone else’s car that breaks down, it’s covered. There’s a cheaper 5-mile tow option for $56/yr.

AAA: you don’t have to buy it in advance. You can wait to buy it the first time you need it. Only a 5-mile tow is included within the first 5 days, not 100 mile; you would pay the difference if it’s farther than 5 miles. But you save yourself the expense of purchasing a plan until you actually have to call on them.

As** Sandra Battye** pointed out, your car insurance likely has it as an option. My last 2 companies did. It currently costs me $48/yr, so cheaper than AAA.

For RVs, there is Good Sam Club, which also has a pretty good forum for RV-ers.

Also if you’re driving a newer car, most cars come with free roadside assistance for at least the duration of the warranty and in some cases quite a lot longer.

I love AAA. My last car was a 95 Cutlass Ciere. It was a real true pain to change the battery on that thing. You had to move a large metal strut and it was really hard to get the battery out. AAA came and replaced the battery for only the cost of the battery. When I ran out of gas*, they come out gas in your car for only the price of the gas. If you have an older less reliable car, they’re really worth the $56. And a great present for your mother.

*I wasn’t actually out of gas, but the fuel injector was shot.

We are so glad we have AAA.
Crossing the Martinez bridge the speed sensor in my wife’s car failed. Car would not shift into high gear top speed about 40 MPH. Had car towed to Santa Cruz to be repaired where my brother in law worked.

Last year my son’s car had the cats cut from his car while at the RR museum in Sacramento on a week end. Had car towed to our home in San Jose. The next day my son made arrangements with a dealer to replace the cats. Had car towed to dealer. All at no additional cost.

Right, for only about half the price, or less. Furthermore, my insurer had no restrictions on provider. I just had to call any road service I could get, and present the receipt to my agent, who cut me an immediate check and handed it to me. I drove a beater, and had an embarrassing number of claims, and they were all reimbursed with a smile. I once turned in a receipt for a tow written on the back of an envelope. They were not counted as claims, and had no effect on my premium.