What is AAA Insurance?
AAA, also known as the American Automobile Association, is a popular membership club that allows you to receive all kinds of travel benefits. But what most people don’t realize is that they’re one of the biggest auto insurance companies across the globe, too.
I’ll tell you right now – if you’re looking for something incredibly barebones, AAA is probably not going to be the best solution for you. But, if you are looking for a bunch of bells and whistles that come with your auto insurance, you might love AAA.
Plus, there are a lot of discounts you can take advantage of (more on that below). I’ll cover some of the pros and cons below, so you can determine if paying a membership fee to your car insurance provider is worth it or not.
How does AAA Insurance work?
Across the country, there are quite a few different AAA Auto Clubs. A lot of them actually offer insurance products, too – such as homeowners insurance, life insurance, and (of course) auto insurance, as well as several other types of insurance products.
Each of the clubs, and their corresponding insurance businesses, are independently operated. They also have a wide range of affiliations with one another.
The reason this is important (and slightly frustrating) is that insurance coverage, benefits, and discounts will have a huge amount of variance depending on the location.
AAA in some locations will act as a broker. This means they’ll get your information and refer you elsewhere – like Allstate or Liberty Mutual – who will then sell you insurance.
Even though you aren’t getting insurance through AAA, because they brokered the deal, you’ll still get your AAA member discount.
I’ve found that this happens a lot, particularly with homeowners insurance. My insurance provider, Geico, did this for my homeowners insurance and referred me to another provider but I still got the awesome rate.
But in most cases, AAA will directly sell you insurance. And their ratings are a little better than average in most categories, across the board, according to J.D. Power.
If you’re eligible for their homeowners insurance, you’ll probably find pretty good rates, but coverage options that are somewhat limited when compared to other insurance providers.
In fact, their homeowners insurance isn’t as accessible as their car insurance, and sometimes the only way to get it is by bundling with car insurance. As is with most insurance providers, bundling your home and auto insurance can save a significant amount of money.
So, if for any reason you already have AAA auto insurance, I strongly suggest you look into homeowners, too.
To be eligible for AAA insurance, you’re going to have to be a member of AAA first. This is typically under $100 per year and comes with a bunch of benefits, but only in rare circumstances will you be able to get insurance with them if you’re not a member.
Even though you’ll need to be a member, the discounted insurance rate you’ll receive through AAA should more than compensate for the additional cost of membership. Simply put, it really doesn’t matter that you need to be a member.
One way of looking at the additional expense is to think of it as an extension of your AAA membership. A good example of this is the roadside assistance you get through a AAA membership.
Nearly every other insurance company will charge you a fee for this, or force you to upgrade your insurance policy. AAA includes it in their membership.
Pricing for AAA Insurance
AAA insurance pricing is going to vary, especially because their primary product is car insurance. There are several factors that go into determining a rate for car insurance, so it’s best to just get a quote directly from AAA.
You can do this by going to the AAA website and punching in your zip code to see if insurance is available in your area. From everything I’ve seen, AAA’s pricing on auto insurance is excellent.
AAA Insurance features
As I mentioned before, there are several AAA clubs across the country, and many of them offer insurance through a variety of companies. For instance, Arizona residents are able to purchase auto insurance through CSAA (California State Auto Association) Insurance Group, with AAA acting as the broker.
Residents in Texas, however, are eligible for insurance, but it’ll be through the Auto Club Enterprise Group. So, whether or not you’ll have coverage in your area, what that coverage will be, and what discounts you’ll have available to you will depend on where you live.
That said, some of the more common benefits you’ll find (though not ALL customers will find) are as follows:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability. Property damage protects you if you’re at fault in an accident, whereas liability will cover the costs of medical care.
- Collision. Covers the cost of damages to your car if you’re in an accident.
- Comprehensive. Covers any non-collision damage to your vehicle, and also pays for damages that are caused by collision with an animal.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist. If you’re in an accident and the other driver is at fault, this will protect you if they either don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance.
- MedPay/Personal Injury Protection. This pays for the cost of medical care for anyone in your car during an accident – and it doesn’t matter who was at fault.
- AAA mobile app. AAA has an app that allows you to do several things, including pull up your proof of insurance immediately if you’re pulled over or in an accident, and some locations allow you to get quotes and pay your bill through the app, too.
Remember, there are some areas that offer additional features, benefits, and coverage options. Below are some of the more standout options I found – just keep in mind if they are available, they’ll come with an added cost.
- Gap insurance. If your car is deemed a total loss, this will cover the difference between what you owe on your loan or lease and the cost to replace your car.
- Accident forgiveness. If you have a good driving record (“good” depends on your insurance product and where you live) this benefit will guard you against insurance increases after an accident.
- Rental car coverage. As long as you decline the coverage from a car rental agency, this option will cover you if you cause any damage to a rental car.
- Rental car reimbursement. This benefit will pay for a rental if your car is in the repair shop following an accident. Depending on where you live, this might be a rideshare credit as opposed to a rental car (which frankly might be less of a hassle, anyway).
- Pet coverage. Becoming more and more common, this benefit will pay veterinarian bills if your pet is hurt or dies in a car accident.
- Non-owners insurance. If you don’t own a car but you still drive (like borrowing a car or renting one through Turo), you’ll have liability coverage with this benefit.
Discounts for auto
Like coverage options, discounts for auto insurance are going to vary, too. Most auto insurers, however, offer discounts for bundling, having multiple vehicles, and safe driving.
Plus, you’ll get a AAA discount in almost every case – even if AAA refers you to another insurance provider.
If you’re getting AAA auto insurance in areas in the southwest – like California and Texas, or northeast – like the Boston-area, you’ll find more discount options than in other parts of the country.
Some examples of discounts I have seen are:
- Good student discount. Student drivers with good grades are eligible for 15% off their bill.
- Low mileage. If you drive very little throughout the year, you can get up to 12% off your bill.
- Advance purchase discount. If you buy AAA car insurance at least a week before your existing policy expires, they’ll give you 5% off.
- Paid in full discount. You’ll get 5% off if you pay your entire premium in full, upfront.
- Longevity discount. If you have been with the same auto insurance provider for 3 or more years, you may be eligible for a 12% discount.
- Student away from home. If you’re a student and your school is at least 100 miles away from home, and you don’t have a car, you’ll get 15% off your bill.
- Professional group association. If you’re a part of a specific affinity group, you can get up to 10% off your bill.
- AAA OnBoard. Get up to a 20% discount for equipping your car with a safe driving monitor. Note that this option is only available for Texas residents.
AAA membership perks
One of the things I love about my AAA membership is the roadside assistance feature.
You’ll get coverage for minor roadside repairs, fuel delivery, towing, or jump-starts with a simple phone call to AAA. Also, if you happen to get in a car accident more than 100 miles from where you live, AAA will cover the cost of things like a hotel, rental car, and other expenses so you can continue on your way.
And in case you haven’t seen the “AAA” sticker at businesses like hotels and airlines, know that they work with thousands of companies to get their members reduced rates on all kinds of things.
So if you travel frequently, this can add a ton of value to your insurance package (since you’ll need to be a AAA member, too). Another feature of AAA offers is travel accident insurance. If you pay for your trip through AAA, they’ll cover you for things like loss of limbs and loss of life in the event you are in an accident while traveling.
AAA homeowners insurance coverage is much less widely accessible nor fully featured as its auto insurance coverages. Much like AAA’s automobile insurance coverages, there are lots of insurance companies that sell insurance under the AAA brand.
However, generally speaking, homeowners can expect to discover the normal policies related to home insurance, including policies for your house’s construction and roofing, your private possessions, and liability protection if someone is injured within your house.
Some AAA home insurance companies also provide extended coverage for an added charge. More commonly available choices include extra security for valuables, including furs and jewelry, coverage for living expenses if your house is uninhabitable, umbrella insurance, and insurance coverage for natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Homeowners insurance discounts
Again, discounts on homeowners insurance (like auto) are going to vary greatly based on where you live. However, there are a few discounts that are almost always offered.
Like auto, you’ll most likely receive a discount for being a AAA member, or if you buy AAA auto insurance (and remember, sometimes buying auto is the ONLY way you can get homeowners with AAA).
And residents of the southwest (Texas and California), as well as the Boston-area, will tend to find more discounts on their homeowners insurance (just like auto).
Some of the more notable ones include:
- Claim-free discount. Get up to 13% off your bill if you don’t make a claim for 3 years or more.
- Protective device discount. Install things like a security system, smoke detectors, or flood notification systems, and you can get up to 15% off your bill.
- Hail-resistant roof discount. Get a discount of up to 35% if you install a new roof with materials that are hail-resistant.
- Retirement discount. If you’re over 55 and retired, you can get a 10% discount on your bill.
- Age of home discount. Depending on the age of your home, you can get a discount of up to 40%. The newer your home is, the greater your discount will be.
- Renovation discount. Get up to 23% off your bill if you do any renovations to your home, such as new pipes or a new roof.
My experience using AAA insurance
Unfortunately, AAA Insurance isn’t available in my area, so I used my old address from California to get a sample quote. I’m saying that because rates are going to be skewed – i.e., I will obviously pay a much higher rate in California than I would in the midwest – so I can’t accurately compare how their pricing is. Just food for thought.
I went to the AAA Insurance quote website and entered some basic information. I see there’s a four-step process. I started by entering some info about my car:
Then I put in my own information – note that they didn’t ask for my Social Security Number, which I appreciated.
From there, I get to choose from 3 pre-defined coverage options OR customize my own. For simplicity, I chose the mid-tier.
Finally, I got my quote, along with a note saying they’ll contact me shortly. Honestly, despite the ugly website, the process was amazingly fast and easy. I also like how they gave me a quote and said they’ll give me a call – usually, it’s one or the other.
Overall, I highly recommend at least getting a quote if it’s available in your area.
Who is AAA insurance for?
AAA won’t be for everyone. In fact, not everyone is even able to get AAA insurance, as I’ve probably beaten into the ground at this point. You won’t find the best prices, but there is definitely a reason why you’d want AAA insurance.
Their auto insurance is incredible when you bundle it with a AAA membership. Their membership offers 3 different levels of benefits. Each one of these gives you free towing, locksmith service, battery installation, fuel delivery, identity-theft monitoring, members-only discounts, and seriously a ton more.
Just go to their website to check out all the perks you’ll get with a AAA membership. I’ve even had them come to my house to install a new car battery – they’re excellent.
So those loyal to AAA, or those looking to take advantage of all their membership has to offer, will appreciate the discounts you’ll get when you are already a member and you bundle in auto insurance and (potentially) homeowners insurance.
Who AAA Insurance isn’t for
Frankly, AAA Insurance won’t be for you if you have no allegiance to them and if they’re not located in your area. You’re going to tend to pay a premium for AAA insurance, but if you don’t already have a AAA membership and don’t want one, their insurance products may not make the most sense for you.
Pros & cons
- Unmatched roadside assistance — You seriously won’t find a better roadside assistance program anywhere. When I bought my last car new, it came with 2 years of their roadside assistance for FREE, but I still opted to pay for AAA since it was that much better.
- Better than average ratings — J.D. Power rates AAA insurance better than average in all categories. While this isn’t top of the list, it’s a nice feature when you consider the other perks you’re getting.
- AAA membership — Having the membership adds a plethora of discounts at your fingertips. In addition to roadside assistance, you’ll be able to save money on travel and other things pretty much anywhere you go.
- A bit expensive — If you aren’t a AAA member and don’t want to become one, or if you have a new car and don’t feel the need to have roadside assistance (though I’d challenge that — flat tires can happen to anyone), you might find AAA to be a tad too pricey.
- Not available everywhere — Only some of the AAA locations offer insurance, so if yours doesn’t, you’re out of luck.
AAA Insurance vs. competitors
|Insurer||J.D. Power Auto rating||J.D. Power Homeowners rating||Unique insurance products|
|AAA Insurance||Above Average||Above Average||N/A|
|Allstate||Average||Average||Event, ATV, Pet, Business, ID Theft|
|Liberty Mutual||Average||Below average||Business, Tuition, Pet, ID Theft, Life|
Allstate is more widely-known and more accessible to most. Pricing-wise, you’ll find them to be a bit cheaper than AAA – but remember that you are going to have to pay for extras like roadside assistance.
Allstate has way more insurance products and offers about the same amount of discounts, but through bundling, you can probably save more (since there are more opportunities to do so), like if you add in life insurance.
Rating-wise, they rank about the same as AAA across the board from J.D. Power’s survey. You can also quickly get a quote online, which you can’t do with AAA.
Liberty Mutual is one of the biggest insurance providers in the country, and they’ve been around for a very long time. Like Allstate, they’re way more accessible and have far more insurance products for you to utilize. But you won’t get any add-ons like roadside assistance for free.
Also like Allstate, Liberty ranks in the middle of the pack with customer satisfaction, so you aren’t necessarily gaining anything by picking them over AAA or Allstate. Where you might win is through their discounts, of which they offer many, and bundling options.
AAA Insurance is really interesting. They aren’t the cheapest option, nor do they have the best and most coverages and discounts. But for some reason, they’re super-appealing.