TheZebra.com is a privately owned website that publishes unbiased rates and carrier information for consumer benefit. Learn More
AARP and AAA offer competitive auto insurance and roadside assistance programs. Which one is better?
AARP's and AAA's offerings may overlap, but there are some distinctions worth noting. While the organizations offer many services, the focus of this comparison is their car insurance-related services. AAA provides car insurance coverage directly, while AARP provides auto insurance via its partnership with The Hartford. Each program offers an above-average number of coverage options that offer individual consumers varying levels of value with some important differences.
AARP — or the American Associated of Retired Persons — caters to elderly individuals with its auto insurance offerings. Through The Hartford, AARP car insurance is available through two of its membership options: Advantage and Advantage Plus. In addition to standard bodily injury and collision coverages, AARP’s insurance program includes coverage options to suit the needs of older drivers.
|Policy Package||Advantage||Advantage Plus|
|Lifetime Continuation Agreement||Yes||Yes|
|Full Range of Coverage Limits||Yes||Yes|
|Full Range of Deductible Options||Yes||Yes|
|24-Hour Roadside Assistance||Yes||Yes|
|Countrywide Claims Service||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Claim Reporting Service||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Repair Service Program (CRSP) with Life-of-Vehicle Guarantee||Yes||Yes|
|Legal Representation for Accidents||Yes||Yes|
|New Car Replacement Coverage||Yes||Yes|
|No Deductible Windshield Repair Service||Yes||Yes|
|RecoverCare Essential Services||Yes||Yes|
|Paid-in-Full or Monthly EFT Availability||Yes||Yes|
|Home Ownership Discount (not available with Auto & Home Account Policy Savings)||Yes||Yes|
|New Vehicle Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Hybrid Vehicle Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Personal Umbrella Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Non-Resident Student Discount||Yes||Yes|
|Annual Policy Term||Yes||Yes|
|Disappearing Collision Deductible||No||Yes|
|Deductible Waiver for Not-At-Fault Accident||No||Yes|
|$100 Collision Deductible Reduction w/CRSP||No||Yes|
|Emergency Expense Coverage||No||Yes|
You do not need to be an AARP member to qualify for The Hartford car insurance. The Hartford is an independent insurance provider.
While some of these policy options are self-explanatory, we've outlined some unique aspects of AARP's policy features below.
Although AAA is best known for its roadside assistance program, the organization also sells car insurance. AAA's auto insurance offerings are similar to those of other car insurance companies. See below the advertised features of AAA auto insurance.
|Accident Forgiveness||Your driving history will determine whether you qualify for this service.|
|Extended Rental Expense Coverage||Your rental car service can be extended after a collision if you choose this coverage.|
|Pet Coverage||If your pet — dog or cat — is injured in a crash with you, up to $500 of their vet costs are covered.|
|12-Month Policy||Option for an annual 12-month policy, rather than a standard six-month policy period.|
|New Vehicle Replacement||If your new vehicle is deemed a total loss after an accident (within one year of acquisition), it will be replaced.|
|Gap Coverage||Covers the difference between your vehicle's current value and the value of a loan.|
|Preferred Repairs Program||Priority repair service and a lifetime warranty on service provided.|
|Accident Assist||Additional assistance after an accident|
|Auto and Home||Up to 16%|
|Auto and Condo/Renters||Up to 6%|
|Auto + Home + Life||Up to 19.8% on auto insurance, 22% on your homeowners|
|Multi-Vehicle||Up to 26%|
|Group Membership||Up to 10%|
|Paid in Full||5%|
|Longevity||Up to 12%|
|Original Owner of Vehicle||Up to 5%|
|Student Away from Home||Up to 15%|
|Good Student||Up to 15%|
|Driver Training||Up to 3%|
AAA's roadside assistance services separate the organization from other auto insurance providers.
AARP and AAA provide two of the most popular roadside assistance programs. AARP’s program is provided through Allstate while AAA operates its own affiliate network across the US. The organizations' tiered membership offers similar roadside assistance packages.
Is AARP's roadside assistance as good as AAA's program? Let’s compare the providers' services and prices.
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 delivery||You pay for the fuel||Up to two gallons free|
|Total service calls||Single: 3 |
|Single: 4 |
|Dead battery jumpstart||Yes||Yes|
|Flat tire change||Yes||Yes|
|Towing service||up to 5 miles||up 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 savings||Yes||Yes|
|Pathfinder trip routing service||No||Yes|
|Warranty repair/referral service||No||Yes|
|Trip interruption guarantee||No||Up to $1,500/yr|
|Auto theft reward||N/A; except CA up to $5,000||Up to $10,000/year|
|Legal defense reimbursement||No||Up to $1,000/year|
|Hospital emergency bond||No||Up to $1,000/year|
|Arrest bond certificate||No||up to $1,000/year|
|Free smartphone app||No||Yes|
|60-day money-nack guarantee||No||Yes|
AARP roadside assistance pricing depends on your membership tier and the number of members. AARP's premier service tier is the most expensive option.
|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)|
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 Detail||Classic Membership||Plus Membership||Premier Membership|
|Towing||Up to 7 miles, 4 times a year.||Up to 100 miles||One per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles|
|Emergency fuel services||Free delivery, pay for fuel||Free delivery and fuel||Free delivery and fuel|
|Vehicle lockout||Coverage up to $60||Coverage up to $100||Coverage up to $150|
|Flat tire service||Included||Included||Included|
|Extrication/winching service||One service per year||Two services||Two services|
Like AARP, AAA offers additional perks aside from roadside assistance. Below are some of AAA's non-roadside assistance benefits.
|Coverage detail||Classic membership||Plus membership||Premier membership|
|Vehicle registration renewal help||Included||Included||Included|
|Discounts (shopping, dining, hotels, and entertainment)||Included||Included||Included|
|Identity theft protection||Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection||Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection||Daily monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, loss card protection, $10,000 in identity theft insurance|
|CARFAX vehicle report discount||20% off CARFAX||20% off CARFAX||One year free, 40% for additional reports|
|Vehicle inspection service||Free 40pt, or discount 86pt||Free 40pt, or discount 86pt||$45 mail-in rebate for 86pt|
|Rental Car Benefits||Discounted||Discounted plus one car-class upgrade||One-day complimentary midsize rental car|
The cost of AAA's services depends on your membership tier as well as the individuals listed on your policy. The below prices reflect costs for one individual. Covering more than one driver may incur a surcharge.
|Cost||Classic Membership||Plus Membership||Premier Membership|
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 delivery||Up to two gallons free||Free delivery and fuel|
|Towing service||Up to 100 miles||One per household up to 200 miles, remaining tows up to 100 miles|
|Allotted service calls||Single: 4, Couple: 5, Family: 7||4|
|Flat tire change||Yes||Yes|
|Winching||Yes||Yes, up to Two services|
|Lock-out service||Yes||Coverage up to $150|
|Fuel delivery||You pay for the fuel||Free delivery, pay for fuel|
|Total service calls||Single: 3, Couple: 3||4|
|Dead battery jump||Yes||Yes|
|Flat tire change||Yes||Yes|
|Winching||Yes||One service per year|
|Lock-out service||Yes||Coverage up to $60|
|Towing service||Up to 5 miles||Up 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.
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.
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We’re an independent, unbiased partner for consumers, on a mission to help you compare insurance options apples-to-apples, so you can make a truly informed decision. We’re proud because: