Reliable alternatives to AAA
January 14, 2013 10:35 PM   Subscribe

I just want reliable, reasonable non-AAA roadside assistance, but thus far I've been thwarted on the "reliable and reasonable" part. C'mon, hasn't competition made this happen yet? I'm not a big fan of AAA's well-known lobbying activities, and even if I made peace with the politics, their relentless direct-mail campaign has put them on my shit list forever.

Once upon a time, I had AAA because a) it was a gift and b) it was kinda the only game in town. In search for an alternative, I gave Allstate Motor Club a whirl, since my homeowners and auto insurance is through Allstate.

Okay, reasonable price for reasonable coverage, comparable to AAA...but the actual roadside assistance service itself is pretty meh. Specifically, their system is just terrible, as far as I can tell: Call automated system and enter extensive info via a fussy keypad system that flubs up when it hears noise, y'know, like car horns or traffic. Roadside Assistance rep calls and requests all the same info again to dispatch. Actual dispatched company calls and has to request most of the same info AGAIN because they only get sent minimal info. (Not their fault, acknowledged.) Needless to say, all told this takes forever. Longer than the guarantee, not that complaints to that effect get me much recompense.

Is Better World better service? What about roadside assistance programs through cell phone carriers?

I've got a older car (1996) that is mostly used for highway driving, so my priority is reliable and speedy-as-possible service in unfamiliar areas.
posted by desuetude to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've had Better World Club for a few years and the service is fine, although their phone people have a peculiar habit of asking for the zip code where you're stranded. Luckily, "How should I know?" usually works OK as an answer to that. Plus they offer coverage for cyclists.
posted by treblemaker at 10:45 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I get road-side assistance from my car insurance company. It was a ridiculously cheap add on.
posted by shoesietart at 10:59 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

USAA offers roadside assistance. I can't speak to that part of it because I haven't used it, but in general, USAA is an awesome bank with good customer service.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:01 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have car insurance through Costco and get free roadside assistance. I haven't needed to use it but I imagine if it's through Costco it's likely decent. My house was seriously damaged in a storm earlier this year and the home owners insurance was awesome and responsive.
posted by waving at 3:42 AM on January 15, 2013

shoesietart: "I get road-side assistance from my car insurance company. It was a ridiculously cheap add on."

I have this through my insurance. The provider they contract with even covered my trip into Canada. my main issue was the lack of reliable cell and landline connection where I was at.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:51 AM on January 15, 2013

I've had roadside assistance as a really cheap add-on with both Nationwide and State Farm.
posted by COD at 5:13 AM on January 15, 2013

Seconding Better World. After AAA left me stranded outside my car in 95 degree weather with a toddler and no water or shade, I dropped them like a hot potato and switched to Better World. I've called them a couple of times since then and they've always been very responsive and easy to work with.
posted by tigerjade at 5:52 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have a monthly cell phone plan with one of the big companies, you can probably get roadside assistance added to your plan for about six bucks. Quality may vary, of course, but my experiences have been timely but restricted. They limited me to 4x a year and about $50 towing credit.
posted by soelo at 6:29 AM on January 15, 2013

It is also a pretty ridiculously cheap add-on to Geico's car insurance. That is where I have mine.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:03 AM on January 15, 2013

Yep, Better World Club.

I find their email newsletter very educational, too—though if you're not a green/progressive person you might find it irritating.
posted by BrashTech at 9:21 AM on January 15, 2013

Been with BWC since 2003. Newsletter is definitely irritating. The service has always been fine except for last year on a holiday weekend when my request for a locksmith somehow got misplaced. After an hour, I called again and got rush service and the locksmith was there very quickly. I got the idea the problem was on the locksmith end, but who knows.

The second time I've wondered about it at all was recently. I needed a copy of the towing bill because my insurance will reimburse. They told me it would take "2-4 weeks, maybe less." Seems odd. I had the insurance company's reimbursement for the radiator repair in my hand in 1 week.
posted by egk at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2013

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