An unexpected breakdown on a lonely highway will reaffirm the value of your investment in AAA membership. However, you don’t need to suffer a road hazard in order to benefit from the well known automobile club. Many automobile insurers offer some form of roadside assistance, but AAA provides many more benefits. Further, you can obtain AAA membership without purchasing AAA automobile insurance, making it easily accessible.
The best known benefit of AAA membership is the provision of roadside assistance. Did you run out of gas? Have a flat? Lock yourself out? Do you need a jump? AAA contracts with service providers to assist you. Whether you break down at home, or on the road, you can obtain these simple services. Do you need to be towed?
Depending on your choice of membership level, you have access to varying degrees of service. Classic membership, the least expensive option, provides 5 miles of free towing, delivery of fuel (cost of fuel paid by member), and up to $60 coverage for a locksmith (car only). Plus membership provides up to 100 miles of free towing, 3 gallons of fuel, or $100 coverage for a locksmith (car only). Premier membership, added in the last year, provides up to 200 miles of free towing, 5 gallons of fuel, and $100 coverage for a locksmith (home, or car). Premier membership also includes a dedicated toll free phone number, and one day free car rental with a tow.
When you encounter an emergency, you will easily locate the toll free assistance number on the back of your AAA membership card. You will be asked for your location, and queried as to whether your location is safe. Your membership number will be requested, as will your vehicle make, model, and license plate information. You will be provided with an estimated time of arrival for the service vehicle or tow truck.
It is imperative that your membership be paid up to date, when you call for assistance. One of the most frustrating moments can be dealing with a lapsed membership in the midst of a road emergency. Further, an upgrade of membership is not possible in such an instance. You may be able to arrange reinstatement of your account in this situation, making payment by phone. However, upgrade requests will be declined, and you will not be able to upgrade until your next renewal.
There are limits to the number of emergency road service incidents covered per year. Towing is provided according to benefits, up to four times per year. Other emergency road services are limited to a total of four per year per associate.
AAA membership allows individuals to obtain vehicle inspections at $99. Premier members also have access to a 24 hour automotive repair hotline, and $50 reimbursement for windshield repair. One of the less known, simple benefits is the ability to obtain a credit card key at your local AAA office. This plastic key is held in a credit card-sized piece of plastic, and carried in your wallet, can save time and stress if you are inadvertently locked out of your vehicle.
Some AAA offices provide access to DMV services. In Nevada locations, these services are limited to DMV kiosk transactions for renewals of vehicle registrations. Utah offices provide the opportunity to renew vehicle registrations, as well. More extensive services are available in California offices, including vehicle registration renewals, ordering of duplicates of certain documents, or replacements of license plates.
~Travel Services and Discounts
AAA provides extensive travel services to its members. One of the simplest, yet most useful of these is the provision of AAA travel books and maps to members, free of charge. If you are planning a road trip to a given state or region, there is a dedicated travel guide, listing local motels, restaurants, and attractions for the given area. These are updated annually, and are valuable travel resources in both planning, and actual travel time.
AAA provides travel planning assistance, and offers many special packages for travel to popular destinations. If you are interested in coordinating a Disney vacation, or a trip to Hawaii, consult with your AAA office, or do your research online, through the AAA website. AAA discounts are commonly available at hotels, motels, and campgrounds. You may also find non-travel discounts at assorted retailers.
AAA sends a bimonthly publication to its members, the VIA Magazine. VIA provides interesting accounts of current events and festivals in the Western area of the United States. Spotlights on specific towns, events, and interests are provided. Interest-based articles are also included, related to road travel interests and issues.
AAA is a lifesaver when you encounter an unexpected emergency during a road trip, or on your way to work. Additionally, there are many other services that can help you with everyday vehicle and travel issues. Not only does your membership provide excellent travel literature, but also, it provides access to deals and packages to stretch your travel dollars. Discounts of many types are accessible as well. AAA membership is one of the most beneficial investments you can make, as a vehicle owner and driver.