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I just had my 2nd bad experience with AAA in the san francisco bay area and I want to know if there are any alternatives with as large of a network as AAA? I would want nationwide coverage, but would love to go with someone other than AAA.

Most recent incident; I waited 3.5 hours for a tow.
1st incident - Driver wouldn't tow my car because it was too far for him. Ended up with a blown non-full size spare on the freeway 10 miles later which could have caused a major accident. Had to wait for another driver to tow me home.

Any suggestions and experiences with other companies would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks,

Victor

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kmd1234 (Sep. 21, 2012 @ 8:09a) |

You can always get coverage through your cellphone provider, or like someone else mentioned on here, get towing as part ... (more)

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BWC, the car club for people who hate cars and want worse highways, as you would expect from envirowhackos also more exp... (more)

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AAA isn't actually making these mistakes, they sub contract with towing companies to provide services. Have you tried reporting these incidents to AAA? They should know about them.

Any other services would likely have the same issues, poor towing company service intermittently.

I hardly use towing, so I just rely on free roadside assist benefit with AMEX Gold Cards (cycle through biz and personal every 12 months to avoid annual fees)

Yea, I filed 2 complaints.. they said it will take up to 5 days to get a response. Still waiting.

Any companies that hold their subs to higher standards?

You could add towing to your car insurance coverage.

vkcvkc said:   Yea, I filed 2 complaints.. they said it will take up to 5 days to get a response. Still waiting.

Any companies that hold their subs to higher standards?



Again...as mentioned...they sub out, so unless you break down in the same location..you might get another provider under AAA.

Also...a little confused...you filed 2 complaints for the some sub or two different subs ? If two different...you might need to look what else might be the problem.

2 complaints with 2 different subs.

I believe there are issues with AAA's dispatch process and priority ranking of calls.

I know insurance company is an option. I have State Farm... just don't know what their coverage is like. So if someone can weigh on in State Farm specifcally, that would be appreciated as well.

vkcvkc said:   2 complaints with 2 different subs.



Think the picture is becoming clearer now.


My suggestion...get a second basic vehicle.

AAA will give you an ETA when you call. If the ETA comes and goes, they will verify and/or dispatch from another sub. Of course, if this is happening during a snow storm for example, it will be based on priority. If you are on a safe location, you'll have a lower priority.

Regarding the refusal to tow, basic membership only tows up to 5 miles - after that, you are responsible for the extra charges, and I can see the towing company refusing to tow you. If you have plus, then the tow will be up to 100 miles and they need to tow you.

I have plus.

You could try BWC. I'm a member but haven't utilized the towing portion yet.

http://www.betterworldclub.com/

Thanks for the rec. ablang. Do you know how large their base of subs are? I guess a better question is.. how has their response time been?

I have allstate motor club...last time i had issues they said 45 mins and tow truck showed up in 25!!

Anyone know if a group of insurers are contracted with a common group of subs? betterworldclub looks appealing.. anyone else have experience with them?

I've had about 4-5 tows with AAA in 5 years.. No issues at all. You are having bad luck & just need to report them, I fear. When you sat there waiting for 2+ hours, did you call them to get an ETA? I guess once you realize your vehicle is F'd up, I just sit back and relax.... No point in getting all worked up over an event that happens like once a year.

I dropped AAA for that reason.

I am in Metro NYC area and everytime I called them (over a period of 20 years)it took a while. Not during any weather event, just for routine problems.

Once, my wife had a flat in our driveway, so she called AAA. After 2 hours, a guy in a regular car showed up to change the tire (he had a cardboard sign in his window) and he was with his girlfriend.

I know this, because by that time, I had come home and was already getting ready to change the tire.

I use the AMEX benefit now... we had to use it once in the last 5 years, and still took a while, but I dont have to pay $120 or more a year.

Personally, I think they all do the same thing... call a local garage for you. The days of them vetting the vendors is long gone, IMHO.

Keep in mind, AMEX only allows one event every 6 months (I think), while AAA is unlimited. So, if you have an unreliable vehicle, it might pay to keep AAA.

SteveG

PS - The AAA discounts are generally not valuable, IMHO.

vkcvkc said:   Most recent incident; I waited 3.5 hours for a towWhen you initially called, did they say they would arrive in 30 minutes or less ?

sgogo said:   AMEX only allows one event every 6 months (I think), while AAA is unlimitedAAA is not unlimited

I got eta texts. Initial call they said 1.5 hours which was unusual, but it did take them 1.5 hours to show up. First guy shows up and says he has closer jobs to take and said he'll be back in an hour. I called AAA, they said the sub's dispatch is in control of that and this is the only sub that can service me. When it got to the 2.5 hour mark, i called and spoke with the manager and had her stay on the phone with me until someone showed up 1.5 hours later so i wouldn't get bumped in the priority queue again.

Why was there only one Tow Service that AAA could use to help you ? Were you out in the boonies of Napa or whatever ?

AAA does not guarantee 30 minutes for every type of call, though 3 hours does sound ridiculous without inclement weather, etc.

My mom is in nyc area and not close enough for me to rescue when needed and she likes Geico and hyndai roadside assist. I had assumed they subout to same as AAA but not all vendors are the same. She calls 6x a year. Alarm issue, no start in blizzard etc. None actually required tow. Mom is older and they havr been great.

I recommend

1. Get 12v air pump and bottle of slime tire fix. Often on sale here. Can be decent emergency fix to flat and avoid using crap mini spare
2. Good thick jumper cables in trunk...people will help if you provide tools.
3. Check auto insurance, car mfg, AND credit card for coverage. Usually costs very little and nice to have options.
4. Google maps is your friend. Check for nearby tow shops before you call roadside assistance. They tend to know zero about your local area and may just choose a shop "close" to your location. I live in NYC...2 shops may be 3 miles away but only i know the one in queens or west brooklyn may be in traffic 45min. Sometimes they will allow you to choose tow you prefer them to call first.

tennis8363 said:   You could add towing to your car insurance coverage.

Road side assistance usage from insurance goes on your CLUE report and results in higher premiums. Looks cheap but ends up much more expensive. Much better paying a 3rd party for roadside assistance. Lots of threads on AAA alternatives and why it is a good idea not to use your auto insurance for roadside.

sgogo said:   Keep in mind, AMEX only allows one event every 6 months (I think), while AAA is unlimited.Four times a calendar year for AMEX, but you can't use it twice within a week for the same issue.

I've used it a few times over the years (couple times for personal cars, once for a friend's), never waited more than an hour in Orlando.

tennis8363 said:   AAA isn't actually making these mistakes, they sub contract with towing companies to provide services. Have you tried reporting these incidents to AAA? They should know about them.

Any other services would likely have the same issues, poor towing company service intermittently.


Very true, I declined to use one such towing company through Chrysler roadside assistance once, just because the company that called back was rude. Called Chrysler back and complained about them, they sent me another truck from a company located further off. More such complaints could lead to the cancellation of the towing company's contract with roadside assistance company.

Actually, in most areas you would end up with the same contractor that you had the issue with. AAA, Good Sam, ALLSTATE, etc. contract with local towing providers.
You really need to report you bad experiences to AAA because "they" did not provide you with the bad service and "they" are a customer of that provider too.

I was in fremont, ca... middle of the sf bay area!

Cell phone carrier, $3/month on verizon 4 services/year. AWESOME! Fast! < 30 minutes.

I have had AAA for the last 7 years and have used their services (towing, fuel, battery, locked keys) etc. My waiting time has always been less than an hour. I am close to Philly.

I have an AARP Roadside Assistance Plan. Costs me $101 per year (less the first year) and it covers me, my wife and my 2 kids for up to 100 miles, up to 7 claims per year. AAA for that coverage was roughly that price for a single member. Not only that, but they renewed my AARP membership for free for 3 years as a result of being a member (I had not renewed it on my own).

https://www.aarproadside.com/aarp/forwardTo.do?pageName=compare_...

I have State Farm coverage. It was much cheaper than AAA for me. I've used them twice, once for a tow and once for a lockout. Both times it was pretty easy. I doubt the dispatch system is any better or any worse, it's still the luck of the draw in who they call. The main difference from AAA was that I had to pay the operators out of pocket and submit for reimbursement. Both times a check came very quickly.

Check with your auto insurance company. I asked at Nationwide and their roadside service cost me an additional $7 per year..

Never had an issue with AAA. They always come within 30mins and once my kid locked the doors and I swear the guy the showed up in 10mins. Also they always call with eta and then afterwards I got an automated follow up call.

My gf has USAA auto insurance, and the coverage includes AAA-like benefits. I'm signing up soon, and dropping AAA.

Check out GM motorclub, they are much cheaper and have no limitations on mileage, also includes maps if ordered in advance + Intertainment Book coupons nationwide.Also includes everyone in household. I have been very happy with them for many years

Just because you become a member of another club there's no guarantee that this wont happen again. In fact, you might run into the exact same driver because each of the stations are independently owned & operated, and furthermore they can sign up with different service providers. So if you sign up with say All State Motor Club and break down in the same area, the same company might send a truck. In fact AAA's volume is so high that most stations always put them at highest priority to get service first, and AAA monitors this.


When you call for service they should always give you an ETA, and if you're not happy you can ask the AAA dispatcher for another truck or another company to service you.

I pay $12 per year for roadside assistance through Amica.
Check with your car insurance company - they may offer better roadside assistance rate/service

Where in the Bay area did this happen?

I've never had any problems calling them around my workplace around the South Bay(after 5 times in 5 yrs). They're usually near a Caltrain station and make it real fast, less than 15 minutes each time.

Call up their Mountain View office and put in a word.

xoneinax said:   sgogo said:   AMEX only allows one event every 6 months (I think), while AAA is unlimitedAAA is not unlimited


both give you 4 events

I am also using GM and happy with their service. Much better as compared to AAA. No limit on number of incidents. Great Service.

Skipping 11 Messages...
BWC, the car club for people who hate cars and want worse highways, as you would expect from envirowhackos also more expensive than AAA.



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