Thinking Of Switching Roadside Assistance Carriers

Having roadside assistance is important to us.  Though it’s been years since we’ve actually used it, the fact that we tow a couple of thousand miles per year makes it something we want to have.  Plus, I know that the minute I cancelled, we’d have something happen!

One mainstay I’ve had in my ‘adult’ life is that I’ve carried AAA for roadside assistance.  I actually have been covered since I got my license, which happens to be 25 years.  So, you’d think I’d want to celebrate by sticking around, but I think it’s actually time for a change.

Our Current Roadside Assistance Coverage Through AAA

AAA offers three levels of coverage.  We had a hybrid between two options.  I was covered under the mid-tier option which covered not only towing and services for regular driving, but also for our RV.  It also allowed both to be towed for 100 miles before additional charges kicked in.  My wife was covered under their basic plan which covered basic towing up to five miles.  Because she drives in the Metro Detroit area, and I do all the RV driving, this worked great.  And, we signed up with a discount on the family option.

The AAA Change Of Plan

Image from Morguefile courtesy of Alvimann
Image from Morguefile courtesy of Alvimann

So what happened?  Why are we looking to change?  Because when I opened the bill this year, I saw that our bill went up $24.  When I called to ask about the increase, they told me that they were no longer offering the hybrid option.  So, if one person in the family requires higher coverage, everybody covered has to have higher coverage.  This added $20 to cover my wife, with the remaining $4 being a normal annual increase.

I asked the agent why they made the change, and after she couldn’t really give a reason, it became apparent that it was basically a money grab.  They probably had a lot of people doing exactly as we were, and as a way to increase revenue they changed the rules.

Looking At Options

I started looking around and narrowed down our options to three carriers that I found had good reviews and offered services we needed:

  1. AAA – They’ve served us well and have a great reputation, so I kept on the table the option to stick with them.  Cost: $136
  2. Allstate Motor Club – We use Allstate for all the rest of our insurance needs.  They had coverage that would match everything we had with AAA and we could get it for around $95 for the first year, which was great.  What wasn’t great is that it goes up to around the same price as AAA after the first year.
  3. Good Sam – I do a lot of reading up on things to do with our RV, and in the RV world, Good Sam is about a common name as they come.  They offer a roadside plan that actually has no towing limits for cars or our RV (meaning we can get towed to the nearest service center no matter how far away it is).  The cost is $80 for the first year, increasing to $105 or $115 after the first year, though you can lock up to three years at the intro rate by paying up front.

Our Decision

Right now, I’m leaning toward the Good Sam plan. It gets great reviews, seems to have a lot of participating stations so you’re always covered, and the price and increased coverage help as well.   I’m on the fence as to whether to pay up front for an extra year or two to lock in the discount, or if we should see how things go the first year, then pay a higher rate (which would still be cheaper than the other two).

We have nearly another month to decide as our AAA coverage is good until the end of the month.

Readers, who do you use for roadside assistance coverage?  Any really positive stories?  How about horror stories?  Please let me know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking Of Switching Roadside Assistance Carriers

  1. I have had AAA for awhile and I just have the basic plan. I’ve also used the AAA discount and a few places so at least I’ve gotten some savings from that. They also have discounted hotel stays but I don’t use them that often since I have a good amount of points, otherwise it’s a decent benefit. I think my auto insurer (Geico) also has a roadside assistance plan which is pretty cheap too so I might switch to them at some point if my savings from the discounts aren’t enough to justify keeping it.

    • If we just needed the basic plan, I’d probably stick with them. It’s that we need the elevated plan because of having our RV, which they are just not competitive with in terms of pricing now that they changed their all-or-nothing policy.

  2. Good luck. We were startled to find AAA wouldn’t cover even so much as changing a blown tire on the RV, leaving SDXB to struggle fruitlessly on the freeway shoulder until a big bruiser of a biker type came along with a floor jack in has junker’s trunk. Never underestimate the decency of a biker…

    The roadside assistance I have through my car insurance made me wait FIVE HOURS in a drug-infested area before the tow truck guy showed up.

    Although I’ve had other less than ideal experiences with AAA, at least they’ll come along in an hour or two. After this, if I’m in the city when the car craps out, I’ll call the towing company my mechanic recommended (who arrived exactly two minutes before he said he would). Out in the countryside, I’ll have to depend on the losers who contract to my insurer…and bring plenty of water. And food. And maybe a sleeping bag and a tent…
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