Roadside Assistance WITHOUT AAA

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check you AMEX or visa signature credit card.

Here in Texas, we have a state-sponsored roadside assistance program, the number of which is on the back of our driver licenses.
Never used it though, so can't talk of service limitations/response time. Anyone?

lynnfitz5 said: AMEX PASS (relaodable card for teens) comes with 5 free roadsides assists.

American Express ® Roadside Assistance may arrange for five (5) basic emergency roadside services to be provided to PASS Cardmembers:

* Towing to nearest available repair shop or preferred destination, depending on provider availability
* Jump starting a battery
* Delivery of up to two gallons of gas
* Locksmith service, if keys are locked in the car
* Changing of a flat tire, if the car has a workable spare

All costs associated with these emergency roadside services are the responsibility of the PASS Cardmember. These services are available whenever the PASS Cardmember and a licensed driver are present. Services are available when traveling within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, regardless of mileage from primary residence. See Cardmember Agreement for more details.


It doesn't say anywhere on the AMEX website that the 5 roadside assists are free - it seems clear from the language above that you will be charged for the cost.

taxmantoo said: If you drive a Benz, 1-800-formercedes (1-800-367-6372) will get you a gallon of fuel, a jump start, installation of a new battery (you pay for the battery), replacing a flat tire with your spare, or a tow to the dealership for free. Ahhh score!... $2.5 in free gas, 5 mins of labor and driving a battery to you (only service of value), for only the price of a new Benz!... Anything priced into the purchase of a new car isn't of much use here.
lynnfitz5 said: AMEX PASS (relaodable card for teens) comes with 5 free roadsides assists. You can get a $25 prepaid debit card and qualify for this?

Also, how many family members/cars can you split a AAA membership between?

UncaMikey said: I have been with USAA many years and have their towing coverage -- I just checked my last auto policy and I'm paying $3.30 for six months, less than $7/yr. I've used the service a few times (a tow, flat tire, dead battery) and they've always sent someone quickly. I've never noticed an increase in premiums as a result.

I have USAA's roadside assistance also. We pay more (about $24/year), maybe because we have 2 cars and 3 drivers?

I called USAA and asked if they count or report RA calls as claims, and the rep insisted to me that USAA does not.

We've only had to use it once (teenager locked keys in car) and the response time was 30 min which is as good as I've ever had from AAA. AAA was going to charge us $100 for basic membership to cover our 3 drivers.

taxmantoo said: If you drive a Benz, 1-800-formercedes (1-800-367-6372) will get you a gallon of fuel, a jump start, installation of a new battery (you pay for the battery), replacing a flat tire with your spare, or a tow to the dealership for free.

Is this for any Benz regardless of the year or only for those still under warranty?

JTFH said:
Also, how many family members/cars can you split a AAA membership between?


You can't split the membership. You pay for a primary membership, and an additional fee for each family member. I think costs vary by state, so go to the AAA website to find out how much your family will be.

newbietx said: Is this for any Benz regardless of the year or only for those still under warranty?It's for any Mercedes.

you can get free roadside by buying Autozone brand battery.

Mazda3 and 6 come with mostly free roadside assistance for life. There are distance and max payouts per year, but its pretty high. Check your owners manual for the phone number to call to get assistance

/edit
Looking above the mazda plan has about the same pricing and benefits that the benz plan mentioned above has
taxmantoo said: If you drive a Benz, 1-800-formercedes (1-800-367-6372) will get you a gallon of fuel, a jump start, installation of a new battery (you pay for the battery), replacing a flat tire with your spare, or a tow to the dealership for free.

I hate to be a shill for AAA, but I really do love them.

1. They give you a free associate member card, so you get two memberships for the price of one. This reduces the price per person to lower than most of the other options.
2. They are FAST, since almost every independent shop takes their calls, it's usually under 15 min.
3. DMV service, worth the price alone; while DMV lines here are 2-3 hrs for anything, I've never had to wait at the DMV desk of my local AAA office.
4. Discounts; if you can remember which places offer them. AAA Guidebooks are handy for trips, and I always stock up on free maps for the glove box. The AAA regional magazine has informed us about various day-trip events before that we enjoyed attending but would not have known about without the magazine.
5. You have to be a member to get insurance thru them, but if you get home + auto via AAA, the multi-policy discounts more than make up for the cost of the membership (in fact, for me they were the cheapest for combined insurance). To me that means the membership is "free" with AAA Auto like some other insurance companies, but there is no chance of AAA calls showing up on your CLUE report.
6. Since AAA is for a person and not a specific vehicle, I have been the hero for many locked-out/broke-down friends in the past. You only have to be there with your card when the car gets picked up.

billybwilde said: I hate to be a shill for AAA, but I really do love them.
6. Since AAA is for a person and not a specific vehicle, I have been the hero for many locked-out/broke-down friends in the past. You only have to be there with your card when the car gets picked up.

That sounds like a burden, not a benefit.

why not get it from statefarm? If I remember correctly, it's about less than $10 for 6 months. You call the towing company, then you are reimbursed by statefarm. Much cheaper than AAA.

I've had both aaa and autovantage (road America) providers puck up cars while I wasn't present. Sometimes we need to change tow companies to one who will do it, but when I'm 200 miles away from the car and need it taken to a shop I need someone who will load and transport without me being there

JTFH said: Ahhh score!... $2.5 in free gas, 5 mins of labor and driving a battery to you (only service of value), for only the price of a new Benz!... Anything priced into the purchase of a new car isn't of much use here.What's your point? Noone is going to buy an MB just to get roadside benefits but if you like it and would buy it anyway, it's a nice benefit to keep in mind.

By the way, all MB's, new and used, have this benefit.

taxmantoo said: If you drive a Benz, 1-800-formercedes (1-800-367-6372) will get you a gallon of fuel, a jump start, installation of a new battery (you pay for the battery), replacing a flat tire with your spare, or a tow to the dealership for free.The battery service is a lot more valuable than a lot of people realize. A lot of luxury cars, including MB's, have batteries that you can't just buy at an auto parts store and that can be fairly difficult to replace, in which case those manufacturer provided roadside assistance benefits can save you money. This is because if you were to take your car to a dealer/independent station for battery replacement, you'd pay their labor charges to get it installed (again, we aren't talking about easy to access batteries that come with regular vehicles). If, instead, you call your manufacturer's roadside assistance service to replace the battery for you, you won't have to pay any labor charges.

For those of you who purchased Honda Care, this service also provides roadside assistance
http://www.hondafinancialservices.com/Planning/Honda.asp#1

I keep AAA for the maps. At $5/map, the annual fee has easily paid for itself. I have a library of their maps worth at least $250. The roadside assistance is just gravy on top.

jcbrooks said: I keep AAA for the maps. At $5/map, the annual fee has easily paid for itself. I have a library of their maps worth at least $250. The roadside assistance is just gravy on top.

What is this "map" you speak of?

wordgirl said: jcbrooks said: I keep AAA for the maps. At $5/map, the annual fee has easily paid for itself. I have a library of their maps worth at least $250. The roadside assistance is just gravy on top.

What is this "map" you speak of?


When I road trip with my son I look forward to showing him our route via an interactive holographic projection of google earth.

Map? My iphone acts as my GPS unit. I have not used a Map in 5-10 years.

billybwilde said: I hate to be a shill for AAA, but I really do love them.

1. They give you a free associate member card, so you get two memberships for the price of one. This reduces the price per person to lower than most of the other options.
2. They are FAST, since almost every independent shop takes their calls, it's usually under 15 min.

Not the one I belonged to in NY for many years. They charged extra for additional members. It was well over $100 for my wife and me if we wanted coverage for more than a 3 mile tow. I switched to AARP a couple of years ago (I think it is the same provider as Allstate). For around $100 I get their top coverage for everyone in my family, which means both of my kids are covered. And my experience with AAA's response time was terrible. I've used the AARP service a few times and they have been ok.

Costco provides road side assistance with their executive membership, also some cars ex. Hyundai has road side assistance with all their cars.

I have Insurance thru Costco (Executive membership), they provide the roadside assistance service. They have a really good service. It happened to me before, and I called them, someone showed up in less than 30mins. They even provide windshield crack repair service with free charge; however, I haven’t seen any increase in premiums.

If you have BMW car, they provide free roadside assistance.

jwardl said: Here in Texas, we have a state-sponsored roadside assistance program, the number of which is on the back of our driver licenses.
Never used it though, so can't talk of service limitations/response time. Anyone?


This is a myth. Read here.

California has something like that....if you use the call boxes on the freeway during commute times, you will get a free tow off the freeway by roving towtrucks (or if you need gas etc they will help you). Its a service to keep the freeways flowing during rush hours.

You raised several good questions regarding roadside assistance. I haven't tried using the insurance policy method (never signed up for it) and have never tried the VISA/MasterCard benefit either. Whenever, I need a tow, I have the AAA membership. They will only tow up to a certain number of miles and then charge extra if it is more than the allowance. One option that may be not too expensive is to have Pep Boys tow it to their repair shop. Their rates are very reasonable. But you have to have a breakdown that is reasonably close to a store.

I have used State Farm towing for many years. It amounts to something like $7-10 per 6 months per car. I drive older cars, so I have frequently needed a tow due to a breakdown. State farm always reimbursed me. I am not sure if there is a limit to the number of claims or amount of the claim. I have pulled my CLUE report and the two most recent tows were on there (they were back around 2003, and I pulled the report in 2006 or 2007), however I never got a rate increase or lost my accident free discount as a result of it. I keep thinking about dropping the coverage since I haven't used it lately as well as the risk of the CLUE report causing my rates to increase.
If you don't have a service like AAA where you call them to orchestrate the towing, I strongly prefer to use the tow company recommended by my repair shop. When I call the repair shop they give me their guy's number and the service is always prompt, professional, and charged at a reasonable rate. These guys know that they need to do a good job to keep the shop's business. Also these guys usually will bill the shop rather than demand up front payment. Be careful when you are broken down on the side of the road as there are sometimes less than honest tow companies who will see you and stop to pretend to be the company you called and instead charge you a high rate. If it is obvious you are broken down then ask the tow company for the name and description of the driver dispatched to your car to avoid this scam.
I posted this on an earlier thread, but I think everyone should have a good quality pair of jumper cables in their trunk. You can get a 12 foot 6-8 gauge set on Amazon for around $30. If you know how to drive a car you should know how to jump a car. My battery died last winter and I jumped my car in 2 minutes from a neighbors car literally while she was loading the kids in the car seat. A quick trip to WalMart and after 5 minutes of work I installed a new battery. Also keep in mind that most shopping malls have security officers who will provide free car jumps (I had to use this service once when I couldn't find a person to give me a jump).
Changing a tire is more difficult than jumping a car, and isn't for the frail or elderly, but still most people can learn how to do this. I had a blow out on the highway in a rural area and I had the tire changed in about 20 minutes. Even if you have AAA, I think it is worth your time to know the basics of how to do this.

SUCKISSTAPLES said: California has something like that....if you use the call boxes on the freeway during commute times, you will get a free tow off the freeway by roving towtrucks (or if you need gas etc they will help you). Its a service to keep the freeways flowing during rush hours.
This is a good point. In metro Atlanta there was a very well run service called HERO which responds to incidents on the highway, mostly during rush hour. You can request their assistance by calling 511. They do basic things like giving you gas or changing a tire, as well as managing the response to an accident by clearing debris and directing traffic. I have also seen them use their truck to push abroken down car from a traffic lane to the shoulder, but I haven't seen any of their trucks capable of providing a tow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_Emergency_Response_Operator...
I am guessing other big cities have a similar service.

i use Progressive and they charge the roadside assistance for $7/half yr. i have been using it a couple of times per insurance period. So far so good, and didn't see premium go up.

christoj879 said: I have the American Express business gold card and it comes with roadside assistance. Granted, the card costs $125/year, but they provide 4 occurrences per year. They say they cover the first $50 or 10 miles. You call them, they find an operator in your area and send one out. If they call back saying they want more money I tell them to cancel and find another company and the tow company will usually lower their rate because they don't want to miss out on the work.

I've used it to tow mine/friends cars to the mechanic, took home a car from the police auction, towed from one house to mine to work on it, they'll do anything.

Locked keys in the car, they'll take care of that too.

I have the AMEX for the excellent chargeback protection it provides and the roadside is a wonderful perk.
Exactly, I too think it's a great perk. BTW. there is no "50 miles from home" limitation as someone previously mentions and the best part is it doesn't even need to be your car. I have used this several times for friends/relatives vehicles.

AAA has the largest network of towers and locksmiths in the country. So no matter when or where you break down (or lose or lock your keys up) AAA can respond quickly. Besides, their "Show Your Card & Save" program offers discounts from 100's of different partners ranging from department store, attraction, restaurants, etc... Using those discounts alone at places you already shop can pay for the annual membership dues. Truly is an unbeatable deal. The October 2010 edition of Money Magazine recommends membership with AAA.

I have used both AMEX and AAA in the past. AAA usually seems to be faster. I no longer pay for AAA though, and just use the AMEX benefit that is included (for a card I pay for for other reasons).

TheThinker said:

So which is it? Would your premiums rise or not? I would much rather pay just a few dollars to the
auto insurance company than pay $60 or $75 to AAA.


I don't know of any insurers which currently use those claims to raise your rates out of hand. But what many do is use the claims to lock you to them, as the claims make you look much less desirable to other companies if you try to go elsewhere for better rates, etc.

Just as many companies have decided that those with poor credit are irresponsible and more likely to file claims, so too they figure that if you use the roadside rescue services your insurer provides, it must be because you are accident prone or do not keep your vehicle in good repair and thus are a bigger claim risk to them.

Personally, I think it's well-worth the money to keep as many small claims as possible out of the insurance companies' easy reach.

SUCKISSTAPLES said: No they have a negotiated rate they'll charge to the card if you use it

I just used my fifth 100 plus mile tow using autovantage enhanced , they've paid a couple thousand in towing bills this year for mr as I restore some classic cars...and I pay just $15 a month

I am curious. I thought RA is for when you have trouble with your car is travelling on the road.

It doesn't sound like your classic cars had problems when you were driving them? And they towed your classic cars because of the "enhanced" feature? OR all RA will do that -- i.e. tow your cars that is not haveing a problem while "on the road"?

TheDealMaker said: why not get it from statefarm? If I remember correctly, it's about less than $10 for 6 months. You call the towing company, then you are reimbursed by statefarm. Much cheaper than AAA.

I just renewed my policy. Emergency Road Service costs me $3.34.

newbietx said: I am with Geico. I used to have towing also through Geico. I made a roadside assitance claim during my last policy period (about 4-5 months ago). On my renewal I saw no increase in my premium (in fact it went down a few bucks). I was paying $45 a year through Geico for towing coverage for 2 cars.

I also called Geico and asked and they said that they don't report any towing services as claims on the CLUE report. Before my recent renewal a few weeks ago I shopped around for auto insurance and got rates in or around the same range as Geico from 2-3 big carriers. Geico still was the cheapest. The closest one was AAA for insurance (was more by $2).

I did however drop towing coverage through Geico on my latest renewal and went with AAA. Got a deal for $46 for my wife and me (for 1 year of basic membership). 4 tows (services) per membership per year, with 8 tows between us that is more than enough. I did the AAA AMEX deal and we both got $25 Visa gift cards each. So we recouped the cost of AAA membership within a month. It is now free for a year

I also traveled a bit recently and easily got close to $100 in discount already using my AAA card. Just something to think about.


Just a heads up, every hotel rate I checked last summer was cheaper with the Sams club rate than the AAA rate. In fact, the Sams club rate was the cheapest one I could find. No costco or BJs near me so I didn't compare the other membership rates.

qcumber98 said: TheDealMaker said: why not get it from statefarm? If I remember correctly, it's about less than $10 for 6 months. You call the towing company, then you are reimbursed by statefarm. Much cheaper than AAA.

I just renewed my policy. Emergency Road Service costs me $3.34.



My AAA plus is about to expire, I'll call state farm, who I have anyway, and get the details.

billrubin said: billybwilde said: I hate to be a shill for AAA, but I really do love them.

1. They give you a free associate member card, so you get two memberships for the price of one. This reduces the price per person to lower than most of the other options.
2. They are FAST, since almost every independent shop takes their calls, it's usually under 15 min.

Not the one I belonged to in NY for many years. They charged extra for additional members. It was well over $100 for my wife and me if we wanted coverage for more than a 3 mile tow. I switched to AARP a couple of years ago (I think it is the same provider as Allstate). For around $100 I get their top coverage for everyone in my family, which means both of my kids are covered. And my experience with AAA's response time was terrible. I've used the AARP service a few times and they have been ok.


AAA Plus is up to 100 miles. I used it once too. The car needed to go to my Brother in Law 150 miles away. We had it towed 75 miles to a hotel. Then the next day called and had it towed the rest of the way. Most years AAA makes money on me. Not that year.

confused200 said: SUCKISSTAPLES said: No they have a negotiated rate they'll charge to the card if you use it

I just used my fifth 100 plus mile tow using autovantage enhanced , they've paid a couple thousand in towing bills this year for mr as I restore some classic cars...and I pay just $15 a month

I am curious. I thought RA is for when you have trouble with your car is travelling on the road.

It doesn't sound like your classic cars had problems when you were driving them? And they towed your classic cars because of the "enhanced" feature? OR all RA will do that -- i.e. tow your cars that is not haveing a problem while "on the road"?


I have a friend who goes out drinking and then calls AAA to have his car towed home from the bar. Oh, and I had another friend who was over the mileage on his lease, so he called AAA to have the car towed to the dealership for turn-in to avoid the few extra miles (I wonder what the dealership thought when their car pulled up on a flatbed!). Both were upfront about their needs when they called, so I guess they'll tow for anything (or the operators are very generous).



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