Breaking down on the side of the road is no fun, which is why auto manufacturers constantly stress that their cars are the most reliable. But of course, every car has a slight chance of a breakdown every time its owners take it for a spin. And given the lack of care and attention that most drivers reserve for their cars, the chances of getting stuck increase with each passing day of driving.
Thankfully, many drivers rest assured that if something bad does happen during their daily commute, a tow truck is within easy reach. Plenty of drivers even enroll in auto clubs like AAA so that they can make that call quickly, reach an experienced customer service rep easily, and get towed as soon as humanly possible.
But as life-saving as AAA may seem on that terrible morning, the company isn't as altruistic as it seems. Keep scrolling for 15 facts AAA would rather keep on the down-low.
15 That Ticket Has Dropped Off The Record
Getting a ticket on the way to work is one of the best ways the cops can ruin a day. But then, the insurance companies ruin moods every month for years by charging elevated premiums based on that lousy ticket. But most drivers don't realize that companies like AAA will often keep penalizing for tickets long after they've dropped off a driver's official record.
14 That Guy Isn't From AAA
It might seem comforting that a AAA employee is on their way to help you after your car has broken down in the middle of rush hour or on a long stretch of desolate highway. But that guy in the tow truck isn't a real AAA employee, he's an employee of the towing company that AAA has contracted, creating a distance between AAA's liability and the tow truck operator's actual behavior.
13 Family Memberships
One thing that AAA probably doesn't want most of their customers to know is just how extensive their family memberships can be. If mom and dad of the family above have been members since 1985, when the little kids grow up and start driving on their own, they can enjoy the benefits of a membership card that says they've been subscribed for more years than they've been alive.
12 Learners Permit Might Be Okay
AAA doesn't just help with dead batteries, stalled cars, and flat tires. Many people don't realize that the company also offers insurance—though this is a fact AAA obviously wants to more widely known. But many parents often get scared that their children who have earned a learners permit may result in exorbitant insurance premiums. But in many regions, learners permit drivers don't require their own insurance.
11 Keep That Money
One strange fact about automotive insurance—among the many complex details—is that once a car has been declared as totaled by the insurance provider, the next step is up to the car's owner. The insurance company will send a check for the low-ball value of the car, but the owner is under no requirement to spend that money on a new car or repairs.
10 Not the DMV
AAA gets a lot of customers to come into their brick-and-mortar locations because they offer many of the services that the DMV performs, all without the laborious bureaucracy, long lines, and dismal customer service. But AAA would rather that everyone join their club by keeping it rather vague exactly which services they do and don't offer.
9 Not A Tow Company
Most drivers know of AAA because they constantly see the tow trucks decorated in the typical red-white-and-blue color scheme with the AAA logo everywhere. But AAA is not a towing company; they actually hire independent towing companies that are all linked by the AAA network and get their calls through AAA.
8 ISO Ratings
Most drivers think that the most important things that determine their insurance premiums are the value of their car and their selection of deductible. But many more factors go into the monthly rates, including car-related stats like ISO ratings, which gauge how safe and how well engineered a vehicle is from the factory.
7 Prescription Discounts
Prescriptions are in the news almost every day because of the opioid epidemic and anti-vaxer hysteria, but the truth is that most prescriptions actually benefit their patients. AAA customers can even get prescription drug price cuts thanks to their membership, though the company probably doesn't want to be related to any Fentanyl or Ambien news coverage.
6 Towing Might Not Get You There
Many AAA members just assume that if their car beaks down, all they have to do is make the phone call and a friendly tow truck operator from AAA will show up momentarily and tow the broken-down car to their mechanic. But there are very specific situations where towing will actually be the solution, and all AAA membership levels are not created equal.
5 Your Friend Isn't Covered
One little detail about car insurance and auto clubs like AAA that most drivers probably don't realize but involves a situation that's all too prevalent occurs when people lend their cars to friends. Those friends are not covered and anything that happens in the car could be the liability of the owner. So when your friend borrows your car to go have some fun, be sure their own insurance is paid up and current.
4 Nothing In The Car Is Covered
Car insurance is a racket that involves a fair amount of betting odds on the part of the insurance companies—as well as a ton of legal trickery to make sure that the companies are liable for as little as possible. It would seem like a policy should cover if a car is broken into and a computer within gets lifted; instead, the insurance company will probably cover the window and that's all.
3 Hertz Partnership
Many large corporations these days have created cross-promotional partnerships to expand their reach into different clientele bases. AAA has a partnership in place with Hertz to cover rental cars, though they don't advertise it a whole lot. Perhaps they don't want their customers to know that they could get a cheaper deal from Hertz after their car gets towed.
2 Women Pay Less
One fact of life that car insurance companies like AAA don't like to publicize is that women, on average, pay less for insurance than men do. This is a result of extensive numbers-crunching on the part of the auto insurance industry math magicians. Sorry guys, it just works out to the fact that women are typically more responsible drivers.
1 Don't Stick Around
AAA is an auto club that most people join for life, which is great for the company but not always for the members. Especially for AAA members who also pay for insurance through the club, it's always a good idea to regularly shop around for competitive pricing from other sources, as year-in-year-out changes to policies can result in some sneaky pricing.
Sources: Money Talks News, Heavens Law Firm LLC, and Autowise.