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AARP and AAA are among the most popular roadside assistance programs, but they vary considerably.
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.
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|
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 has some additional perks outside the roadside assistance umbrella. 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 one individual. If you cover more than one person, expect 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|
|Alloted 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.
If you’re looking for more information on roadside assistance or car insurance, consult our additional resources.