AAA Insurance Review
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a well-known and highly trusted provider of car insurance policies for private passenger vehicles. Self-described as a “federation of regional (automobile) clubs throughout North America,” AAA has been a fixture in the American transportation landscape since 1902. It is best-known for its helpful roadside assistance plans, but AAA now offers complete auto insurance packages to members.
AAA offers name recognition and excellent reliability, but where does it stack up in the competitive national auto insurance landscape? What does it do well? How could it do better? What are customers and external reviewers saying about it?
In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and many more.
Background and organizational structure
AAA is not a single, national organization. Instead, it functions as a network of affiliated regional agencies authorized to operate using AAA’s logo and name. This same structure also applies to its car insurance division. Thus, before you can purchase auto insurance through AAA, you will need to become a member. Membership is universally available to licensed drivers, but carries a fee that ranges from about $40 to $165 per year.
The membership fee works out to about $3.35 to $13.75 a month, but most members enjoy savings on their premiums that make the expense well worth it. AAA auto insurance policyholders enjoy coverage that compares favorably to the largest and best-known providers in the country, but for a fraction of the typical price.
Thus, one of the first things you’ll need to do if you want to buy auto insurance through AAA is purchase a membership if you do not already have one.
Types of auto insurance available through AAA
Due to AAA’s organizational structure, the car insurance products it offers vary from one state to the next. However, all AAA auto insurance providers offer, at minimum, the mandatory forms of car insurance required of drivers in Virginia.
Depending on where you live, these may include:
- Liability coverage: This mandatory form of insurance consists of two distinct parts: property damage and bodily injury liability. All drivers are required to carry it, with minimum coverage amounts varying from one state to the next.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: In some states, drivers must also carry PIP coverage. This type of coverage pays for medical treatments and additional expenses, such as lost wages and personal support workers if you need them as you recover from injuries suffered in a car accident.
The vast majority of AAA insurance providers also sell:
- Uninsured motorist protection: This optional form of coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to meet the full value of a claim you submit.
- Medical payments coverage: Basic medical payments coverage will reimburse you and your passengers for treatment-related expenses arising from a car crash.
- Rental car reimbursements: If your vehicle requires an extended stay in a repair shop, AAA can partially or fully reimburse you for the cost of renting a replacement car.
- Vehicle coverage: AAA also sells comprehensive insurance and collision insurance, which protect your vehicle from risks like fire, theft, vandalism, weather damage, and accident-related repair costs.
Policy options and add-ons
Depending on what’s available through your local AAA auto insurance provider, you may also be able to add the following optional forms of coverage to your policy:
- Coverage for pets injured in an auto accident
- Limited coverage for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts if they are needed to complete repairs to your vehicle’s exterior
- Custom equipment protections to reimburse you for replacement costs related to aftermarket products like car stereos, specialty rims, or vehicle cameras
- Gap coverage, which covers the balance of your outstanding car loan if your vehicle is stolen or destroyed before you pay it off
As with standard forms of auto insurance, not every option is universally available throughout the United States. Check locally for further information.
Who qualifies for discounts with AAA?
Membership discounts automatically apply to AAA insurance policies, but you may be eligible for further premium reductions if you have a clean driving record, insure multiple vehicles on a single policy, or purchase multiple policies to cover multiple vehicles.
Discounts are also available to:
- Members of certain occupations (details vary regionally)
- People with certain levels of educational attainment (details vary regionally)
- Vehicle owners with anti-theft devices
- Customers who pay the full annual cost of their policy up front
Smartphone users can also score hefty discounts by using the AAAdrive app to allow AAA to monitor their driving habits. This technology assesses driving for factors like:
- Acceleration and braking
- Adherence to speed limits
- Following rules of the road
- The time of day you usually drive
- Mobile phone use while you’re in the vehicle
Participation is completely optional but could bag you some serious savings if you sign up and generate a favorable safety profile.
Pros and cons
AAA auto insurance shines in certain regards and comes up a little lacking in others. Let’s take a closer look, staring with the pros:
- AAA offers a complete lineup of standard and optional coverages and policies
- Pricing is very competitive, even after accounting for membership costs
- AAA is a well-established, trustworthy provider
- Members enjoy outstanding roadside assistance packages
Commonly cited downsides and drawbacks include:
- Availability of insurance products and optional coverages varies regionally
- You must have AAA membership to qualify for insurance coverage
- All aspects of your policy may not transfer if you move to a new state while your coverage is active
Some customers cite the AAA membership requirement as a negative feature, but remember that your membership does much more than make you eligible to purchase car insurance. Members enjoy many other perks, including:
- Complete roadside assistance packages, which you can use whether you’re the driver or a passenger of a broken-down vehicle
- Identity theft protection
- Discounts at Hertz car rental agencies
- Discounts at partnered businesses, which include theme parks and tourist attractions, movie theaters, restaurants, and more
What others are saying about AAA car insurance
AAA’s insurance division has a very strong financial standing, earning an impressive score of A (excellent) from A.M. Best. Meanwhile, a 2019 survey conducted by consumer review agency J.D. Power and Associates found that AAA fared very well for claims-related customer satisfaction levels.
AAA insurance has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2011. As of September 2020, it has a sparking A+ rating with the BBB, the highest score possible. These indicators all suggest that AAA is an above average to excellent option from a customer satisfaction and financial stability standpoint.
Regional variations in available forms of coverage make it difficult to generalize about the utility of AAA auto insurance, but the organization always offers mandatory forms of coverage at minimum. From a pricing standpoint, AAA auto insurance earns top marks, as policyholders stand to save up to 27% on their auto insurance, even after accounting for the membership discount.
The membership requirement may seem like a drawback, but it’s actually an advantage when you consider the value of the roadside assistance package. Many other major auto insurers charge more than you would pay for a one-year AAA membership for comparable coverage, so if you’re satisfied with the coverage options available through your local AAA car insurance provider, the organization comes highly recommended.