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question about AAA


rmelo99's Avatar
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08-23-03, 07:25 PM   #1  
question about AAA

My girlfriend is going away to college and we want to get her some tyoe of auto roadside assistance membership.

Any recommendations. AAA is about $70. Does any one know of any way to get AAA for less, like by being a wholesale club member of Costco or BJ's?

I remember someone mentioning that before.

I also think Walmart sells some type of Roadside assistance program for $40. Anyone familiar.

Thanks

BTW I'm not trying to be cheap just trying to get a good deal.

 
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08-23-03, 07:29 PM   #2  
Joe_F
Get all the details on each and compare line by line.

Look for coverage, availability, what is done through a third party, how you can contact them, estimated wait time.

Also, call your insurance company. I know Geico for one has a roadside program. In this fashion, if there is a problem, they have a vested interest in you as an insurance customer.

For someone that travels alot or isn't handy, I think this is a good idea .

 
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08-23-03, 10:41 PM   #3  
mike from nj
AAA has a lot of other benefits besides a tow plan, compare all the features on the different plans, not only price.


ps. one decent tow costs more than $70 around here, compare winching (from a ditch), tire change, jump start, free fuel delivery, locked-out of car service amongst other things (off the top of my head)

 
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08-24-03, 09:54 AM   #4  
AlanInNJ
I have been a AAA member for years. It is universally accepted and I have taken advantage of discounts too at hotels, Amtrak, etc. It is also nice in that the membership goes with the driver, no matter what car she is driving. If she is riding with a friend whose car breaks down, your girlfriend can use her AAA membership to get the car towed. It is worth it.

 
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08-24-03, 11:18 AM   #5  
For basic roadside check w/insurance company most have very low cost basics that cover towing, gas, flats and such. AAA thoug has all this plus many other perks.

 
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08-25-03, 05:20 AM   #6  
Here's $.02 from the_tow_guy.

AAA is okay, but I would also recommend you carry towing insurance on your (her) regular car policy. This will provide some small back-up coverage (at a very low cost - $20/yr roughly), for when it is not feasible to use the AAA; for instance, when you call them and they tell you to get comfortable - two hour wait miniumum. Keep in mind that AAA requires the member to be WITH the car. There are some other do's and don'ts, too.
Side note: With AAA, you can ask to be towed ANYWHERE you want, within the mileage limits; you do not have to be towed to the AAA affiliate tow'ers garage. The reason I mention this is that AAA pays their towing affiliates less than half what towing companies charge for standard retail-rate tows. This is NOT just AAA; motor clubs are NOTORIOUS for wanting to get their service providers to tow for them for peanuts. We do NOT do triple-A for several reasons, not the least of which is because their current rate in our area is actually LESS than the average overhead for a tow (you DON'T want to know what our insurance costs us). The AAA affiliates make up for these slave wages in one of two ways - very high volume and/or getting the AAA member back to their own garage facility where they can make up the cost on the repair bill.

We frequently get calls from AAA members who want their cars towed and don't want to wait for AAA. In July we had a week of very rainy weather (no way, in FLA in the summer? LOL) and on at least two days AAA was telling their members to arrange for their own towing and AAA would reimburse up to a certain amount; they were running 6 HOURS behind. We responded to all calls within 2 hours and most in under an hour.

When we get someone who calls and asks if we do AAA (sometimes we don't hear that question until we get to the vehicle - Surprise!) our standard answer is that we prefer to make a profit and provide prompt response to our customers.

If you carry towing on the insurance, you can call whoever you want, whenever you want, to be towed wherever you want, and if you're in a hurry and want to leave the keys under the floor mat - no problem. Most towing insurance is for up to a set amount (normally $50 in this area) so it's generally for local, short-haul rescues. It can also be used to cover any over-coverage charges from AAA such as mileage if you have a long haul.

Of course, all of this insider info is irrelevant to the average consumer, but you should be aware what the tow-ers you will be dealing with are up against to make a buck and the going rate for an employee-driver is 30% of a call. You can imagine what the poor driver is making on a call that AAA is only paying the company <50% for in the first place. The AAA guys aren't always popular with garage owners because they frequently have to drop their load just as fast as they can and haul *** to their next call.

There are other motor clubs that will cover for driving with friends cars as well. I won't mention names so as not to advertise, but at least one is cell phone account based billed with the cell phone for about $3/month.

 
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08-25-03, 10:21 AM   #7  
Here's a little light reading (LOL) on the ugly side:

http://www.skytowing.com/aaa.html
http://www.skytowing.com/aaatruth.html
http://www.skytowing.com/aaaarticle.html

These guys REALLY don't like AAA.

BTW, on a different note; many of the available roadside assistance motor clubs are owned/controlled by a fairly small number of corporations. Kind of like buying a new DVD player - 157 brand names, but in reality all manufactured by a dozen or so companies.

 
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08-25-03, 10:26 AM   #8  
Joe_F
Very good information from Tow Guy !

 
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08-26-03, 02:14 PM   #9  
DTkz
Lots of info here....

I personally use the roadside assistance offered by my cell phone company. I have the assurance of cell phone emergency use and the service basically follows the phone. If I am in another person's car.... and we get locked out..... they do it. This .... AND I have the tow add-on with my car insurance.... and I fell that I am covered.

The most threatening thing is the break down...so to me... towing is most important. Next to that.... flat tires....

tow-guy.....GREAT info!

 
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08-27-03, 10:14 PM   #10  
mike from nj
i still can't get over this--tow guy(the 3 links you sent)

that's shocking

they sound like the worst HMO there could be, imagine a doctor's frustration with almost the same circumstances nowadays(seems like i'm in and out of the office in under a minute)

i'm ready to cut my card up---seriously.

i'm definitely looking into another plan now, and will tell them why i'm dropping them, like it would matter any though.

thanks

 
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08-28-03, 03:58 AM   #11  
Unfortunately, there seems to be no great shortage of tow'ers willing to run their equipment into the ground for slave wages. There are some bbs/forums around where you can REALLY get an earful and AAA isn't always the subject. Somehow many of the motor clubs (and the general public) just don't realize the overhead involved in towing. Without going too deeply into our profit & loss, over a year's towing here's just SOME of our overhead on average PER tow:

Insurance - $4 (with 1 claim, 1999; only claim in 16 years)
Gas - $3
Phones/yellow page advertising - $3
Maintenance - $1, just for tires, brakes, and POL's; never mind the occasional (thankfully) $600 ac compressor or $300 alternator
Depreciation (truck payments) - $2

There's more odds and ends, but you get the picture. Just these main items adds up to almost what AAA will pay an affiliate in this area for a local tow. When you take the entire overhead and divide it by the apporx # of tows in a year, it's over $20.

And people don't understand why our base rate is $36. Same people who think nothing of blowing $20 a week on lotto tickets with odds of winning about the same as Joe Cool trading his Firebird in for a '94 Taurus with sweet-smelling exhaust and a tranny that slips a little.

 
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08-28-03, 04:15 AM   #12  
Joe_F
Yea, I'm running to get the title now. LOL

Mike: In the same respect, it annoys me that the service trade (and I'm not really in it---I'm on a different side of things) is not thought of in the same light as a doctor.

Sick person: Makes an appointment, goes to see the doctor (add in wait time), doctory listens to symptoms, does tests. Gets results. Finds problem. Gets solution. Applies solution. Gets feedback if the problem is solved.

Substitute the customer for the "patient" in car repair.

If folks made that analogy more often, the repair trade would be respected a HELLUVA lot more.

There are still customers out there that ask, "Why can't you just bypass this or turn a screw here, or my favorite, "Just add freon".

I'm sure if you talk to Jeff Worrall (Jeff1 of this forum) he'll tell you similar things with regard to appliance repair.

Shoot, I just bought an OEM manual for a Whirlpool dryer. Sure, I fixed my grandparent's machine for $30 in parts last weekend ($65 total for a new gas supply line/fittings and exhaust duct if you want to get technical---that's me just being thorough) but the fact that my "generic" repair manual didn't steer me right made me want to get the right thing.

Geez, for $2.84, I bought an OEM manual off Ebay from a guy that couldn't sell it for beans. LOL.

Gotta pay if you want to play, and the expense is worth it later on.

 
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08-28-03, 07:37 AM   #13  
And of course doctors only EVER have to work on one make/model/year!

 
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08-28-03, 05:41 PM   #14  
mike from nj
yeah, for doctors, things are usually in the same place every model year, no major updates.

except if i do something wrong, i'm not getting sued the next day(yet)

 
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