At AAA, keeping you and your loved ones safe—on and off the road—is our top priority. So we want you to have the information you need to choose the best roadside assistance plan for you before you decide to join AAA.
You may wonder: What does roadside assistance cover exactly? The truth is, coverage can vary a lot among providers. It’s important to compare roadside assistance plans before making your choice. Here’s how AAA stacks up against the competition.
AAA vs. Car Manufacturer Roadside Assistance Plans
Some car manufacturers now include roadside assistance plans with the purchase of a new car. Although that seems like a money-saving perk, these complimentary plans typically don’t extend beyond the vehicle’s warranty or a certain amount of mileage.
Another key difference between AAA and manufacturer roadside assistance plans is that most manufacturer plans apply only to the car you’ve purchased from them. AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance covers you in any vehicle—whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
Many car manufacturer roadside assistance plans also won’t help you if you’re driving a rental car on vacation, let you choose a towing destination other than the dealership or an approved repair shop, or provide battery testing and replacement on the spot. AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance covers all of these things, as well as fuel delivery, lockout reimbursement, and bicycle towing. (See full list below.)
When you compare roadside assistance plans, you should also take note of which ones cover extrication. Extrication is a service that pulls a vehicle out of thick mud, grass, or snow when it gets stuck. This can be a time-consuming process, so many plans exclude it. AAA provides up to two hours of extrication assistance at no extra cost to you.
AAA vs. Insurance Roadside Assistance Plans
Most insurance companies offer their own roadside assistance plans. But while their annual rates may sometimes be cheaper, there are often a lot of hidden costs. For example, you can add basic roadside assistance to your Allstate car insurance for $25 a year per car vs. $56 for AAA Classic. However, Allstate charges another $119 per 5-mile tow and $4.25 for every additional mile. Jump start and fuel delivery services are $79 per use. AAA Classic covers you in any car and includes 5 miles of towing (or up to 100 miles with AAA Plus), free fuel delivery, and complimentary jump starts.
When comparing AAA vs. Geico roadside assistance plans, the playing field is a bit more even. For instance, both AAA and Geico offer roadside help 24/7, 365 days a year that includes towing, jump starts, and flat-tire changes. But Geico roadside assistance requires you to buy its car insurance as well. AAA offers roadside assistance with no strings attached. Plus, AAA Membership includes thousands of discounts and rewards while Geico offers no additional perks.
AAA vs. Assistance from a Credit Card Provider
Depending on the type of credit card you have, you may already have some level of roadside assistance. American Express and other providers will sometimes arrange and cover the cost of basic services such as fuel delivery and tire changes. Just be sure to ask your credit card company if your card includes roadside assistance before you find yourself in an emergency situation.
But while credit card roadside assistance can be a helpful perk, it often doesn’t provide the best level of quality or coverage. For example, you’re usually limited to a certain number of service calls per year—typically four or less. More importantly, credit card companies don’t specialize in roadside assistance and have to send help through a third party. With AAA Membership, you always have access to high-quality, efficient service. Our trucks are strategically positioned in common breakdown areas so we can get to you as fast as possible.
AAA vs. OnStar
If you have the blue OnStar button in your car, you can talk to a roadside assistance dispatcher at the touch of a button (so long as you have an active plan). But while OnStar covers most of the same services as AAA, the cost is considerably higher. If you own a car with an OnStar system, roadside assistance costs $24.99 per month or $250 annually. If you don’t have an OnStar-enabled car, you can add an OnStar FMV device, which replaces your rearview mirror—in addition to the cost of the device, expect another $75 or more in installation fees. With AAA, you don’t have to have a certain type of car or a special device. Simply call our dispatch number or request service through our free mobile app.
At a Glance: How AAA Stands Apart
AAA strives to provide the most comprehensive and reliable roadside assistance available at the lowest price. Here are just some of the ways AAA stands apart:
- Battery service. AAA not only jump-starts your car, but also offers free battery delivery, discounted rates on the new battery, and on-the-spot battery installation.
- Multi-car coverage. AAA Emergency Road Assistance covers you in any vehicle, whether or not you’re driving.
- Towing options. AAA takes your car to the destination of your choice, not just the nearest dealership. Get up to 200 miles of free towing per year with AAA Premier Membership.
- Extraction services. AAA roadside technicians may provide winching or extrication services if your vehicle can be safely reached at a reasonable distance from a passable road or established thoroughfare. (If special equipment or additional personnel is required to move your vehicle, additional charges may apply.)
- Fast, efficient service. AAA positions its fleet of tow trucks in areas where breakdowns are most likely to happen, so it can respond to emergencies as quickly as possible.
- AAA mobile app. AAA lets you request help, get estimated arrival times, and track your service truck on your smartphone.
- Access to select DMV/MVD services. You can complete some tasks, such as renewing your car registration, at select AAA branches without waiting in line at your state’s motor vehicle authority.
- AAA discounts. AAA Membership helps you save money with discounts at select auto repair shops and lockout reimbursement of up to $150.