The AAA Roadside Assistance is one of the most well-known brands in the world and it’s remained that way because it brings a solid mix of packages and solutions to the market. You will have to join the AAA to take advantage of its plans and you must ensure that you keep your Auto Club membership card with you, or in your vehicle, at all times as this is the key to getting service when stuck on the road. It's provides some of the best roadside assistance plans, but isn't our top pick.
Membership is easy to apply for and there are three different types of membership plan with roadside assistance to choose from: Classic, AAA Plus and AAA Premier. Each plan offers you something different for your buck and will require that you pay an initial $20 joining fee when you first start out. After that, you’ll pay an annual membership fee as well as your monthly roadside assistance fee.
AAA Roadside Assistance review: What's covered?
The AAA stands out for its awesome towing offering. On the all the plans you get unlimited miles back to the service provider with four calls per year, however if you tow to somewhere other than the service provider, the plans differ. Classic will take you seven miles, AAA Plus will take you 100 miles, and AAA Premier will take you up to 200 miles for one tow and 100 miles for the remaining tows. The AAA Plus and Premier plans all give you free fuel on emergency delivery – Classic plan holders will have to pay for the fuel – and all three plans include: mobile battery service and jump start, flat tire service, minor mechanical first aid, and discounted rental rates.
With AAA, you're covered 24/7, which is good to know, and there's an app for Android and Apple phones that allows you to access your account, make callouts, and check the progress of your assistance.
AAA Roadside Assistance review: The fine print
The AAA does exclude RV and motorcycle roadside assistance unless you pay extra as an optional benefit for $41 annually. They will also cut the costs of their support based on the plan you select. Realistically Classic plan holders will find that they will pay more for extra fuel, towing and service recovery than Premium and Plus, but that they’ll save in the long term if they use the service rarely. The Premium and Plus plans would be a solid fit for someone who drives regularly over long distances as they offer much more extensive support, especially if you’ve broken down miles away from home.
Also worth noting in the fine print is that membership eligibility, dues, fees, benefits and services can be changed without notice and that there’s only one membership per person. You will need to ensure that your membership covers the specific vehicle and that you really work your membership to squeeze out the benefits. They have a handy calculator on the site to help you see how much you’ll save in discounts as an AAA member. As with Good Sam Roadside Assistance, membership providers do cost a little more, but offer plenty of added value and extras.
AAA Roadside Assistance review: Costs and ease of use
Application process: AAA Membership compulsory with annual renewal
Packages and costs: Three plans with costs ranging from $52 to $113 dependent on plan and annual fees
24/7 recovery: Yes
An app for that: Yes! Android and iOS
The three different plans on AAA have plenty to commend them. The Classic plan is the most affordable and it comes with towing benefits across the US and Canada, emergency fuel delivery, vehicle lockout and locksmith services, a mobile battery service, a flat tire service, extrication and winching service, discounted rental car rates with an in-territory tow, and DMV transactions included. There are some restrictions and limitations on this plan that aren’t there for the fancier plans of Plus and Premier. The latter two come with free fuel on emergency fuel delivery, a lot more cash towards a locksmith for vehicle lockout, and a free rental car or rental car upgrade. The plan you choose will depend entirely on your budget and your travel lifestyle.
What’s really nice, is that all three packages include AAA discounts and rewards, free domestic maps and a travel planner, free Hertz Gold membership, identity theft protection and a free 40-point vehicle inspection.
AAA Roadside Assistance: Customer reviews and support
The AAA has a mixture of reviews on Consumer Affairs with an overall satisfaction rating of two and a half stars – not great at all. This is a surprise considering the rich service offering and how accessible it is to contact the AAA. The website has clearly labelled numbers for you to call for an emergency plus a log-in for self-service that you can use to get support and advice from your membership portal.
The reviews on Consumer Affairs range from a solid five stars to a measly one so it seems the company is more like Marmite and less like jelly when it comes to customer enjoyment. That said, however, the AAA does offer a reliable service, an impressive array of specials and discounts, and an investment into a well-known roadside package that you can rely on.
Should you choose AAA Roadside Assistance?
The AAA is a household name for a reason. The company has invested heavily into its roadside assistance packages and made it very easy for you to find a costing that suits your needs. The transparency around exclusions isn’t really there on the website, which isn’t great – you want to know what you’re signing up for before you start down the paperwork route. However, the AAA delivers a nice package for those who just want to get a roadside assistance solution that does its job, gives them value and gets on with it. Just remember to always take your AAA membership card with you or you may not get the service at all.