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AARP Roadside Assistance vs. AAA

AARP and AAA are among the most popular roadside assistance programs, but they vary considerably.

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Which offers better roadside assistance: AAA or AARP?

AARP and AAA provide two of the most popular roadside assistance programs. AARP’s program is provided via Allstate while AAA has its own affiliate network across the US. The organizations' tiered membership offers similar roadside assistance packages. Which roadside assistance program is best for you? Let’s compare AARP's and AAA's services and prices.

What’s the difference between AARP and AAA emergency roadside assistance service?
  1. AARP Roadside Assistance: coverage and cost
  2. AAA Roadside Assistance: coverage and cost
  3. Which roadside assistance is cheaper: AARP or AAA?
  4. Which roadside assistance program is better?

What is AARP?

AARP is not only a car insurance provider. It is a non-profit and non-partisan organization designed to help people aged 50 years and older. Included in AARP's services are vehicle- and car insurance-related features. If you’re an AARP member, you can subscribe to the Allstate-backed roadside assistance program. Unlike other roadside assistance programs — including Allstate's standard offering — AARP provides a wide variety of services. The below chart shows what is covered by AARP.

Fuel deliveryYou pay for the fuelUp to two gallons free
Total service callsSingle: 3
Couple: 3
Single: 4
Couple: 5
Family: 7
Dead battery jumpstartYesYes
Flat tire changeYesYes
Lock-out serviceYesYes
Towing serviceup to 5 milesup to 100 miles

AARP’s roadside assistance service provides much more than the roadside assistance offered by traditional car insurance companies. Below are AARP's non-emergency service options. Below the chart, find a brief explanation of the perks.

Car rental savingsYesYes
Hotel discountsYesYes
Pathfinder trip routing serviceNoYes
Warranty repair/referral serviceNoYes
Trip interruption guaranteeNoUp to $1,500/yr
Auto theft rewardN/A; except CA up to $5,000Up to $10,000/year
Legal defense reimbursementNoUp to $1,000/year
Hospital emergency bondNoUp to $1,000/year
Arrest bond certificateNoup to $1,000/year
RV coverageNoYes
Free smartphone appNoYes
60-day money-nack guaranteeNoYes

AARP coverage options explained
Pathfinder Trip Routing Service: Tips and maps on destinations in the US, Mexico, and Canada.
Trip Interruption: If your vehicle is disabled as a result of an accident, you will be reimbursed up to $1,500 for travel expenses. You must be more than 100 miles away from home to be eligible.
Auto Theft Reward: This will provide a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief if your vehicle is stolen.
Legal Defense Reimbursement: Provides litigation defend in the event you are taken to court over a traffic violation. Certain restrictions apply.
Hospital Emergency Bond: If you're injured more than 100 miles away from home and are required to present evidence of financial responsibility at a hospital, this will provide support.
Arrest Bond Certificate: An AARP edition of a get out of a "get out of jail free card." If you're arrested for a driving-related offense (cannot be DUI/DWI related), you can use this coverage as a jail bond.
RV Roadside Coverage: You can add this coverage for $24 per year to receive two additional service calls.

How much does AARP roadside assistance cost?

Pricing depends on your membership tier and the number of members. AARP's premier service tier is the most expensive option.

Plan NameBasicPremier
People covered1-21-3+
First year membership fee$58$74 (1 person), $84 (2 people), $104 (3 people)
Renewal pricing$58/year$84 (1 person), $94 (2 people), $114 (3 people)

What is covered by AAA?

AAA's roadside assistance program provides much more than does a typical car insurance company. Unlike AARP, which offers car insurance through The Hartford and roadside assistance via Allstate, AAA provides its own coverage through regional “clubs” or “federations.” Each of these clubs covers a particular area of the United States.

See below what is covered by AAA's roadside assistance program. Like AARP, AAA's tier system ranges from basic to best.

Coverage DetailClassic MembershipPlus MembershipPremier Membership
Jump startIncludedIncludedIncluded
TowingUp to 7 miles, 4 times a year.Up to 100 milesOne per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles
Emergency fuel servicesFree delivery, pay for fuelFree delivery and fuelFree delivery and fuel
Vehicle lockoutCoverage up to $60Coverage up to $100Coverage up to $150
Flat tire serviceIncludedIncludedIncluded
Extrication/winching serviceOne service per yearTwo servicesTwo services

Like AARP, AAA has some additional perks outside the roadside assistance umbrella. Below are some of AAA's non-roadside assistance benefits.

Coverage detailClassic membershipPlus membershipPremier membership
Vehicle registration renewal helpIncludedIncludedIncluded
Discounts (shopping, dining, hotels, and entertainment)IncludedIncludedIncluded
Identity theft protectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protectionDaily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection, $10,000 in identity theft insurance
CARFAX vehicle report discount20% off CARFAX20% off CARFAXOne year free, 40% for additional reports
Vehicle inspection serviceFree 40pt, or discount 86ptFree 40pt, or discount 86pt$45 mail-in rebate for 86pt
Rental Car BenefitsDiscountedDiscounted plus one car-class upgradeOne-day complimentary midsize rental car

How much does AAA cost?

The cost of AAA's services depends on your membership tier as well as the individuals listed on your policy. The below prices reflect one individual. If you cover more than one person, expect a surcharge.

CostClassic MembershipPlus MembershipPremier Membership
Monthly fee$5$7.75$9.75
Six-month fee$30$47$59
Annual fee$60$279$351

Which is better: AAA or AARP roadside assistance?

In terms of roadside assistance coverage, the two options are fairly similar. AAA and AARP each provides roadside assistance basics like towing, fuel delivery, and lock-out services, but differ in their minor coverage details, including the number of service calls covered and towing range.

Fuel deliveryUp to two gallons freeFree delivery and fuel
Towing serviceUp to 100 milesOne per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles
Alloted service callsSingle: 4, Couple: 5, Family: 74
Flat tire changeYesYes
WinchingYesYes, up to Two services
Lock-out serviceYesCoverage up to $150

Fuel deliveryYou pay for the fuelFree delivery, pay for fuel
Total service callsSingle: 3, Couple: 34
Dead battery jumpYesYes
Flat tire changeYesYes
WinchingYesOne service per year
Lock-out serviceYesCoverage up to $60
Towing serviceUp to 5 milesUp to 7 miles, 4 times a year.

The programs' non-roadside assistance offerings are not as comparable, as AARP goes above and beyond. If the non-driving related options are a deciding factor for you, review each carefully. Looking at price alone, AAA tends to be more expensive than AARP — although it may depend on how many drivers you cover.



AAA or AARP: which is better?

If you’re looking for a basic roadside assistance program, most insurance companies offer roadside assistance at a lower cost than AAA or AARP. If you’re in the market for extra perks and service levels, weigh the additional cost of AAA and AARP against the added services you'll receive.

If you’re looking for more information on roadside assistance or car insurance, consult our additional resources.

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Based in Austin, TX, Ava has been in the insurance industry as a licensed agent for 4-plus years. Ava is currently one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts and has been featured in publications such as US News Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.

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