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Should I Buy an Auto Club Membership?

Jul 22, 2008
Auto clubs, like AAA, have been around for many years, almost since the invention of the automobile itself. They offer their members things like roadside assistance, travel discounts, and free maps. They do come at a cost, however, and many motorists wonder whether or not they should spend the money on an auto club membership. Before you sign up for an auto club, make sure you weigh the pros and cons and determine if it is a good option for you.

The Main Con - Cost

The main disadvantage of an auto club membership is the cost of enrollment. This can vary quite a bit from place to place. A typical AAA membership can cost between $60 and $100, depending on what benefits are purchased and how many people are on the plan. This is not a lot of money, but it is an amount that must be considered when deciding whether or not a membership is worth the cost.

Roadside Assistance Benefit

The main benefit of an auto club membership is roadside assistance. Most of these programs offer you a free or discounted towing service if you should be stranded at some point with a non-working vehicle. Having your vehicle towed costs a minimum of $75 in most places, so just using the tow benefit one time could pay for the cost of the membership itself.

Of course, most people do not need to have their vehicles towed on a regular basis. Newer vehicles are not prone to mechanical problems, which means that this benefit may never be used. Those who travel short distances also have less of a chance of being in a situation where they need a costly tow. On the other hand, those who travel long distances on a regular basis may find this benefit provides them with the peace of mind they need to feel comfortable on the road.

Some insurance plans offer free or discounted towing services. If you are considering purchasing an automotive club membership for the purpose of having this roadside assistance, make sure that you are not covered twice. While there are other benefits of auto club memberships, you may not need the roadside assistance program.

Travel Discount Benefit

Another perk to owning a major auto club membership, such as AAA, is the fact that you will be able to save money when you travel. You can book cruises, tours, and vacation packages through the auto club at deep discounts. Of course, the Internet sometimes makes it possible for you to get similar discounts other places, but this is a benefit that you would need to consider if you love to travel frequently.

Even if you are not someone who likes to take cruises, you can still save money with an auto club membership on your travel. Many programs have discounts available at hotels and amusement parks. Saving 10 to 15 percent on your hotel stay can really add up! Similar discounts are available on airfare, train tickets, and car rentals.

Other Discounts Are Available

Besides travel discounts and roadside assistance programs, other discounts are available to auto club members. Some stores and restaurants offer a percentage off program to auto club members. You can also purchase insurance through the club at a discounted rate. Repairs on your vehicle can be discounted through your membership if you use a participating mechanic.

The best way to determine if you could benefit from an auto club membership is to weigh these benefits against the cost of membership. If you feel that you would take advantage of these benefits on a regular basis, then the cost is worth it for you. If you would only use the benefits from time to time, you would probably end up paying more for the membership than it is really worth. Do your homework, learn the benefits of the club you are considering, and weigh them against the cost to decide if you should buy a membership or not.
About the Author
Auto club offering emergency road services covering the areas of North and East Ontario. Become a member and get peace of mind when you are on the road.
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