I'm generallly very pleased with USAA (Homeowners and Auto Insurance), but I'm unsure about their Roadside Assistance program--and especially their towing policy.
I'm a member of AAA, and pay $78 for their "AAA Plus" roadside assistance program. AAA gives me 100 mile towing benefits, compared to USAA's "Towing to the nearest repair shop."
Does that mean literally the nearest shop. Would I have any say in the matter of where my car would be towed through USAA?
We understand your concern and would like to have one our insurance specialists provide clarification. They can review your coverage and provide specifics about what would be included. Please give us a call at 1-800-531-8722 or send a message using this link and we'll contact you soon.
I thought I had Roadside Assistance on my policy, but when my battery went dead, I couldn't find a number to call. I called a local towing company and had them jump it. I paid the $60 out of pocket when he was done.
When I got home, I decided to look at my policy to confirm I had the coverage. I did a search on USAA.com and found out I could file a claim online. It took less than 5 minutes and the $60 was routed to my account. USAA makes dealing with bad events easy!
Is anyone aware that USAA Roadside Assistance covers only the first 14 miles to any local repair shop? Now, that may seem like a fair offer, but what happens if your vehicle breaks down because of an engine failure such as a blown bearing rod and you are more than 14 miles from a local repair shop?
I was halfway to my destination which was 130 miles. Yes, USAA was great in finding me someone to move my vehicle, but why would I want to bring my car to the nearest repair facility, when I still have the problem of being out of a vehicle; especially, having broken down no where near my home? USAA wasn't going to cover the expense of a rental because the breakdown was strictly a mechanical failure. Now, if I had lost control and veered into a guard rail or caused some visible external damage than USAA would have provided me with a rental car.
Other things to consider: Getting an engine repaired or replaced (replaced in my case) is no easy task. Can the repair shop that USAA recommended promptly and properly repair the vehicle? Or, must you wait days or even weeks before that happens? If the repair shop doesn't have the experience or time to do the job, will USAA pay for the vehicle to be moved to another repair shop for a second opinion? No, they won't!
Anyhow, I had the vehicle towed back to my home. USAA paid for 14 miles and I paid for 50 miles. I had the vehicle looked at by two shops and one was able to do the work upon receipt of the new engine and additional parts, and the other told me I would have to wait at least 3 weeks before they could do the job. Guess which one I chose?...Yup, the one that could do it once the engine came it. I got a rental car for two weeks. The engine took four days to get to the repair shop and was replaced in a day. I didn't have to worry about being away from my family or spending extra money on a motel/hotel waiting for the vehicle to get fixed.
If you travel great distances on a regular basis, then AAA may be a good backup in addition to USAA's Roadside Assistance program. AAA premier service will only cover up to 200 miles, while AAA plus service will cover up to 100 miles.
I have other vehicles that have yet to experience the problem this one vehicle had, plus, I still must travel this 130 mile distance at least once a month (Reservist). So, I am considering AAA as a supplement to my USAA Roadside Assistance. Just my two cents!
J.C. Thanks for your post. You mention that you have been towed in 7 different states. Did USAA pay for all of the tow fees involved with each situation? Did they stipulate that they could only reimburse you for mileage to closest available shop ? Did you get towed to the closest shop in each case ?
I just experienced a breakdown and USAA said they would only pay for towing to the closest shop....If I wanted to go to a preferred shop I would have to pay $2.50/mile for the overage mileage.. USAA roadside rep said $2.50 was a bargain since many tow companies are charging $4/mile.
USAA tow coverage is a low value feature when you consider that the service will only tow to the nearest repair facility. The real value is in being able to have your vehicle towed to the repair facilty of your choice to keep your inconvenience to a minimum. In my opinion, the AAA Premier coverage is a little expensive at over $200 for annual coverage for a household of two drivers, but it is still well worth it compared to USAA's tow coverage. I declined the USAA coverage and went with USAA premier for the 200 mile tow coverage.