Subaru Roadside Assistance instead of AAA?
January 4, 2013 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Subaru owners (U.S.): Do you have AAA in addition to Subaru Roadside Assistance?

Mr. Darling is the very, very happy owner of a new Outback, and our AAA membership is up for renewal. He's got Roadside Assistance through Subaru for 36k miles/3 years, which includes emergency towing, jump starts, running out of gas, flat tires and lockout service. I'm tempted to save $25 by not renewing his AAA coverage but don't want to be pound-foolish. I would keep AAA for my car, which would keep us eligible for all those other member benefits we forget to use.

So, Subaru folks, have you been happy with Roadside Assistance? Is it an adequate substitute for AAA? Thanks!
posted by Sweetie Darling to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Only tangentially related, I guess, but I have a new Hyundai with the same kind of coverage and I kept my full $89 AAA membership. I would absolutely, without a question, spend the $25.

I would look at the documentation that comes with the Subaru policy and make sure it is comparable to AAA's coverage. Especially how many free miles you get for a tow. Or if there are any restrictions, like that it can only be towed to a service station of their choosing.

Finally, what about the quality of service? AAA contracts out with local tow companies and has pretty high standards for the timliness and quality of service. Does Subaru do the same? Or is it just that every dealership has a towtruck and they'll get someone out there when they get a chance?
posted by gjc at 6:03 AM on January 4, 2013

I have been happy with Subaru Roadside Assistance, although make sure you understand what the caps are - my happiness has been limited to our one encounter, in which a tow truck delivered me some gas, and the driver was wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. The cap is one delivery per year.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:22 AM on January 4, 2013

I just bought a Honda, and with their roadside assistance, the numbers came out to be nearly the same as yours.

I've been with AAA (well, CAA, actually) for years, and I've found that membership is worth its weight in gold. Whenever I've needed them, they're there. Boom. No fights, no lateness, just perfect service. I also do my travel insurance with them, which may or may not apply to you.

Honda was doing a big sell job on their roadside assistance package, and yes, the numbers made marginally more sense. They compared the greater numbers of tows, the greater distance for towing, all of it. And while that was all true -- I don't need my car towed four times a year, and if I'm getting it towed, it's to the nearest shop, and not back home. So that marginal price difference didn't overcome my actual needs, and I stayed with the great coverage I knew, rather than the coverage I didn't have any experience with. AAA helped me when my Mom locked me out of the car six hours from home. Would Honda? How long would that have taken? Would I remember the authorization codes to see if the tow guy was Honda-approved? Forget it...

I would keep AAA for my car...

That is one argument for ditching his coverage. AAA membership goes by the driver, not the car, so if you're with him in his Subaru, you're still covered.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:48 AM on January 4, 2013

I have a recent tale of woe to tell with Subaru Roadside Assistance, which is provided in my area (MA) btw via Cross Country Roadside Assistance. I had a sudden blowout on a busy road, late on a Sunday afternoon. I pulled over, took out my membershipcard, and called the number. It took 20 minutes of listening to a robo recording for someone to pick up, while cars flew by me!

It got worse. The Cross Country people couldn't find my membership even though I read them the information off my card. They said they'd be willing to call a garage, but that I'd have to pay the garage driver upfront, even if I showed him my membership card! I finally called a local garage, which happened to be the garage both AAA and Cross Country use in my area. The guy sort of sneered about Cross Country and said AAA was much bigger and therefore had more clout with garages.

Long story short, I wrote to Subaru, e-mailed Cross Country (after having trouble ferreting out their address), and wound up filing a Better Business Bureau complaint. I got a refund a month later. Just Google Cross Country Roadside Assistance if they're your Subaru affiliate. There's a slew of complaints like mine--people being told to pay upfront when the truck arrives, no record of paid membership. I used my refund to go with AAA, which I hope I never need.
posted by Elsie at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

AAA membership goes by the driver, not the car

I think this is the key point here -- if your husband doesn't have AAA, then he will only be covered in the Subaru, or when you're with him. If, for example, he borrows your car, will he have any coverage under the Subaru policy?
posted by yuwtze at 8:12 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much! Seems like $25 is a good investment to mitigate the uncertainties and limitations of the Subaru plan.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:23 PM on January 4, 2013

« Older With a hard g.   |   What good things come in little packages? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.