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      December 7, 2019

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Carchex vs AAA Roadside Assistance

To help you find the Best Roadside Assistance, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Carchex and AAA Roadside Assistance.

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Get Roadside Assistance with Good Sam Today! Whether on a cross-country road trip or a quick errand across town, it’s never a good time for a vehicle to break down. With a Roadside Assistance plan, drivers have protection against the inconvenience and danger of being stranded by the side of the road and can trust that help will be on the way.

While motor clubs used to be the only way to access these protection plans, today there is a wide range of Roadside Assistance plans from which to choose, from credit card providers to insurance companies. Plans can include flat-tire changing, fuel or coolant delivery, help with stuck vehicles, and some even offer financial help with legal defense in the event of a speeding ticket!

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Best Reviews

2019

Roadside Assistance Program Reviews

4 stars
Carchex

CARCHEX

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Cost:

$34.95/year - Single Vehicle, 5 service calls

$54.95/year - Single Vehicle, unlimited service calls

$74.95/year - Unlimited Vehicles, up to 5 service calls

CARCHEX is a recognized name in the automobile inspection and extended warranty service provider market, with almost a perfect 100% satisfaction rate to back their A+ with the Better Business Bureau. Now, CARCHEX is also making a name for itself as a good choice for roadside assistance.

CARCHEX offers three plans for coverage: single-vehicle coverage with up to five service calls per year at $34.95/year; single-vehicle coverage with unlimited service calls per year at $54.95/year; and, unlimited vehicles for up to four members (where the coverage follows the member, even in a rental or a friend's car), up to five service calls per year at $74.95/year. We were particularly impressed by their three-month free trial promotion available at the time of our review, making it truly risk-free to try CARCHEX's services.

In the event that a new member is not satisfied with their plan, he or she can cancel within the first 30 days to receive a full refund of any membership fees paid.

Another way in which CARCHEX stands out is in its towing allowance: towing to the destination of your choice, up to 25 miles per tow regardless of the plan chosen. Comparable plans with big-name roadside assistance companies only cover three miles. They also cover Emergency Battery Service, 24-Hour Flat Tire Service, Mechanical First Aid (such as minor adjustments to enable a disabled vehicle), Lost Key/Lockout Service, and 24-Hour Emergency Fluid Delivery (the member does pay the cost of the gas or other needed fluids).

CARCHEX does not offer some of the other frills of the big-name companies, but members can access Trip Route Mapping and a Theft Reward of $500 if their vehicle is stolen and information is provided that leads to an arrest and conviction.

CARCHEX prides itself on an average response time of 30 minutes, with a network of more than 45,000 service trucks across the US and Canada. When using CARCHEX's network, members do not have to pay for covered services out of pocket, as the contracted service providers bill the company directly.

Customers can easily get in touch with CARCHEX's roadside assistance department through their toll-free number which is prominently featured at the top of the website, or via the Live Chat option. We found their customer service representatives to be responsive, knowledgeable, and helpful.

The only two major drawbacks of CARCHEX's roadside assistance plans that we could identify are that there is currently no coverage for RVs or motorcycles, and that they are not available to residents of California and Puerto Rico.

Overall, we are impressed with CARCHEX's generous towing distance and number of allowed service calls per year, affordable plans that can meet a variety of situations (for example, families with multiple drivers, single adults, and so on), and broad network coverage of Canada and the United States.

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4 stars
AAA Roadside Assistance

AAA ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE

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Cost:

There are 3 available coverage levels, but membership fees depend on your geographic area

Formed in 1902, the American Automobile Association—commonly known as AAA or even "Triple-A"—has more than 55 million members who use their roadside assistance plans to cover themselves in case of an emergency while on the road. All plans include towing, emergency starting, battery service, flat tire service, fuel delivery (member pays for fuel in Classic plan), locksmith service, extrication/winching, car travel interruption, travel planning, passport photos free or at reduced cost, and more. Some AAA regions also include bicycle coverage in all memberships, while others have it as an option.

AAA's website makes it easy to compare plans across Classic, Plus, and Premier levels; we appreciate that there are no secrets as to what is covered and what is excluded. Users of the website enter their ZIP code, which takes them to the site applicable to their region of the country. Different information is presented based on region/local website; however, it appears that the membership refund policy allows members to get unused months' fees reimbursed within the first three months of a new membership.

Coverage for motorcycles is available at all membership levels; RVs/Trailer coverage is only offered at Plus/Premier levels. Also, every level of membership covers users in their own vehicles, as well as rentals, borrowed vehicles, and while riding in a friend's car.

Across all three membership levels, roadside assistance calls are limited to four per member per year, after which members can get service at AAA's pre-negotiated, discounted rate with service providers. This puts them in the middle of the pack with respect to other roadside assistance companies. On the other hand, their towing coverage is only 5 miles for Classic, 100 for Plus, and 250 for Premier members. For such a large, well-established company, we would expect their minimum mileage to meet or beat other assistance plans on the market instead of being one of the least generous.

However, AAA is unmatched when it comes to its additional perks and benefits through their network: discounts at dining, shopping, motels, theme park and other attractions; prescription savings; identity theft protection through ProtectMyID; free registration with WeatherFX for severe weather alerts; and, notary, fax, copy services at AAA offices nationwide.

While we're not impressed with AAA's skimpy mileage coverage for its lowest-tier membership plans, their reputation within the industry and extraordinary level of additional benefits is worth considering.

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Continued from above

Some plans also tie the coverage to specific vehicles, while others allow the covered member (and often the other drivers in the household) to receive roadside service regardless of the vehicle. The latter can be particularly useful if a covered member is riding in a car belonging to another driver when a breakdown occurs, as the coverage will be extended to servicing that vehicle.

If you’re shopping for a reputable provider of Roadside Assistance, you should consider the following.

  • Coverage Details. While all plans will cover the cost of towing, either by covering it outright or by reimbursing you for payments made to the towing company, there are significant differences in coverage depending on the provider you choose and the comprehensiveness of the plan. Carefully review the coverage details to make sure that your most likely needs are covered.
  • Length of Coverage. What best fits your lifestyle and plans for car ownership? A manufacturer plan might be enough to protect you, but if you want to cover more than one vehicle without worrying about warranty expiration, a traditional roadside assistance plan would be more appropriate.
  • Reliability of the Provider. How long have they been in business? How satisfied are their customers? How long does it take, on average, to get a tow truck or locksmith dispatched to the customer? Is there a satisfaction guarantee if the promised services don’t meet expectations?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Roadside Assistance providers available today. We hope this information helps you find the right roadside assistance plan for you and your family!

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