Untangle the alphabet soup of AAA extended vehicle protection.
Need some help deciding whether or not to purchase an extended warranty for your car – and which one to purchase if you do? Our team has researched the top extended warranty providers and want you to know how to choose the best plan for you. In this post, we’ll go over some general need-to-know details about extended warranties and take a closer look at options from AAA for its members.
AAA wasn’t included in our top list because it’s not primarily an extended warranty company, but it’s worth considering and comparing to the other extended warranty providers. We’ll talk about how AAA differs from most warranty providers and how you can navigate their process is you’re interested in taking advantage of some pretty unique deals.
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In This Article:
- Summary: What We Think About AAA Extended Warranties
- Why It’s Hard To Find AAA Extended Warranties
- AAA Extended Warranty Availability
- AAA Extended Warranty Coverage
- What Do AAA Extended Warranties Cost?
- AAA Extended Warranty Reviews
- Our Verdict: AAA Extended Warranty
Summary: What We Think About AAA Extended Warranties
One of the oldest and most trusted company names in the automotive industry, AAA is a name many drivers already trust and rely on to give them peace of mind. As long as your area AAA offers extended warranty coverage and you’re an existing member – or willing to become one – we think getting an extended warranty for your vehicle from AAA is a great option, and well worth your consideration.
- Direct payment of claims
- Disappearing deductible with service at AAA facilities
- Customizable plan lengths
- Only available to AAA members.
- Each AAA is regional, making coverage availability inconsistent
Extended Warranty Basics
Before we get started on AAA, let’s go over a few things about extended warranties you should know:
1. There are two main types of extended warranties:
- Named Component: This type of policy only covers the specific components listed within the warranty plan policy. Coverage is usually offered at different levels or tiers. Each higher level covers more car parts than the previous level.
- Exclusionary: These types of policies cover the majority of the auto components and lists anything excluded from coverage within the fine print of the policy.
2. Warranties are tied to your State’s laws and regulations.
Some states consider a warranty an insurance product and as such, it must be filed with the state and regulated by the state’s insurance commission. This is one reason why it’s difficult for providers to post flat-rate plans for coverage: it often depends on the vehicle owner’s state of residence. In some states, it’s required that auto service contracts are underwritten by an insurance company. If the contract is backed by an insurance company, you can contact your state insurance commission directly to check out the reputation of the company and whether any complaints are on file.
Why It’s Hard To Find AAA Extended Warranties
If you’re reading this, you already know something about extended warranties and the value they can add to owning a vehicle. But what you probably don’t know much about, is AAA extended warranty options. We’ll be honest: it’s not easy to find info on these offerings, as every AAA club handles extended warranty options differently, and most of the websites will reroute you based on geographic location. We’ve dug up some details for you which should narrow the search field a bit.
What Is AAA?
First things first: what is AAA? The American Automobile Association (AAA, better known as "Triple A") is a coalition of motor clubs throughout the United States and Canada. AAA is a national member association and service organization with nearly 60 million members in North America. The association provides benefits and services to its card-carrying members, perks like discounts on automotive care, roadside assistance, or special rates on hotels and fuel purchases.
AAA is probably best known for providing emergency road services to its members. Who hasn’t wished they had a AAA membership card handy when you realized the keys are locked in the car? These members-only perks include services like:
- Tire changes
- Automotive first aid
- Battery replacement
These services are handled by local companies contracted by a state-administered AAA club.?
AAA Extended Warranty Availability
Herein lies the biggest difference between getting an extended warranty with AAA or another extended warranty or service contact provider: members belong to one of the 42 individual clubs throughout North America, and the clubs in turn own AAA. This means that, while some membership benefits are consistent under the national organization, many service offerings – including extended auto warranties – are club-specific.?
As you shop for an extended warranty, we recommend that you do your own research and find out what’s right for your specific needs. This is especially with AAA, as its coverage varies not only from make and model of the vehicle, but also from state to state – sometimes even from county to county within the state.
From our research, we found that not all AAA clubs offer extended warranty packages. For instance, we spoke with a representative from the AAA Auto Club South (which serves AAA members and residents of Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) who reported the company halted its vehicle protection plans as of January 2018. We also couldn’t find any reference to extended warranty or vehicle protection plans on the websites for AAA Southern California or AAA Northern California.
AAA Extended Warranty Coverage
Overall, the AAA plans available for comparison seem pretty similar in coverage and benefits and probably do not vary much from club to club – other than the name of the plans and the number of plan tiers.?
One good example we found was AAA Carolinas: its plan and offerings for vehicle extended service contracts is well-detailed and seems to cover many consumer questions up front, and may be a good indicator of what other AAA extended warranty coverage options include. You’ll definitely need to research further based on your location, but here’s what we found for you in three different AAA clubs.
AAA of the Carolinas serves residents and AAA members of North Carolina and South Carolina. Its Vehicle Extended Warranty Plans are only eligible to residents of those states. Contact the company directly for information on included counties and coverage options.
The AAA of the Carolinas extended service plan includes four coverage levels: Essential, Essential Plus, Comprehensive, and Exclusionary. The four different tiered plans feature customizable terms to fit the coverage you choose and are able to warrant against all major repairs for up to 7 years and 230,000 odometer miles.
Levels of coverage are based on vehicle age and odometer miles at the time coverage is purchased, new or pre-owned. Warranty and plan eligibility extends up to 20 model years and 150,000 miles. Check out these four plans below to see what’s covered by the extended warranty plans at AAA of the Carolinas:
Essential Plan Coverage
- Air conditioning
- Transfer case
- Front and rear wheel drive
- All/four wheel drive
- Air conditioning and heating
- Cooling system
- Fuel system
Essential Plus Plan Coverage
- All components from the Essential plans
- Front and rear suspension
- ABS system
Comprehensive Plan Coverage
- All components from the Essential and Essential Plus plans
- All components from the Essential, Essential Plus, and Comprehensive plans, plus:
- Hybrid vehicles
AAA of the Carolinas Vehicle Extended Service Plan contracts are underwritten by Wesco Insurance Company. Plans cover 100 percent of all parts and labor associated with the repair of a covered part or component as described in the details of the service contract.
Added Perks to AAA Coverage
All AAA Carolinas coverage plan levels carry additional benefits:
- Customizable Term Lengths: Choose your coverage length in intervals of 1 month and 1,000 miles.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: Automatic car rental is available for approved claims, up to $35 a day for 5 days.
- Trip Interruption Coverage: You’re reimbursed up to $75 a day for 3 days for meals and lodging if the breakdown occurs more than 100 miles from home.
- Zero Interest Payment Plans: Enjoy long a long payment term of up to 24 months.
- Self-authorization of Emergency Claims: Members can approve their own claims of up to $500 after hours.
- Zero Deductible at AAA Shops: The $100 deductible goes down to $50 at AAA authorized repair shops and disappears completely at Club-Owned repair shops.
- Battery Replacement: AAA offers a one-time replacement of an AAA-brand battery.
Some of the perks listed above are pretty standard fare for extended warranty and service contract options from both direct and third-party providers. It’s normal to see benefits like battery replacement, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage included in a service contract. What’s a bit unusual and appealing for card-carrying AAA members are things like the customizable coverage terms, the ability to “self” authorize your own repairs on nights and weekends, and that oh-so-nice disappearing deductible based on membership and repair facility accreditation.
How To File A Claim
Filing a claim with the Carolinas AAA Vehicle Protection Plan seems pretty straightforward and easy: just take it in to a AAA-approved shop, let the facility know the vehicle is covered by AAA, and get a diagnosis. The facility should then contact AAA and get authorization before they begin any work. If this step doesn’t happen, AAA won’t honor the claim.
When repairs are complete and the shop has notified AAA that you have accepted the repairs, the repair facility will receive direct payment in full, excluding your deductible.?
The AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities network includes over 7,000 shops across North America that are open to everyone, but also have special perks for AAA members. AAA members enjoy a 10 percent discount on labor costs and an exclusive 24-month/24,000-mile guarantee on all repairs.
- Deductible: The standard deductible per claim for any Carolinas AAA extended warranty plan is $100. If the covered vehicle is returned to a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for the repair, the deductible is reduced to $50 and if returned to a AAA club-owned facility, the deductible is waived altogether. This is a pretty good deal: no payment of repairs up front and possibly no deductible if you can find the right repair shop nearby.
- Satisfaction Guarantee: AAA Carolinas offers a money-back guarantee with every plan sold. If you’re not completely satisfied with their plan within the first 60 days (30 days for pre-owned vehicles) and have not filed a claim, you will receive a 100-percent refund. After 60 days (30 days for pre-owned vehicles), you are entitled to a prorated refund from AAA of the unused portion of your plan based on the plan purchase date.?
- Cancellation fee: A $50 cancellation fee may apply depending on state regulations. If you decide to sell your vehicle prior to expiration of the extended warranty coverage, owners can transfer your coverage to a private purchaser, though be aware that a $50 transfer fee may apply depending on state regulations. If you sell or trade-in your vehicle to an automobile dealer, you can cancel your plan and receive a prorated refund from AAA for the unused portion.
AAA Mid Atlantic
AAA Mid Atlantic serves residents of the AAA Club Alliance service area, which includes parts of Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as well as AAA Blue Grass & Bluefield Regions, Southern West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C.
Contact them directly for information on included counties and coverage options.
The Mid Atlantic regional club offers its Vehicle Protection Plan to AAA members and non-members alike, though members still receive added benefits and perks like zero deductible payments at certain repair shops and no paperwork to file with claims.
- Three coverage levels available
- Wide range of coverage options for new or used vehicles
- Covers 100 percent of the diagnostics, labor, and parts cost for all covered repairs on an approved claim
- Emergency self-approval for claims up to $500
- Free one-time battery replacement
- Low mileage terms available
- 0-percent financing for up to 24 months
- Trip interruption reimbursement
- Rental car reimbursement up to $175
- Direct payment of claims to repair shops
- No inspection needed to enroll your vehicle (There’s a waiting period instead.)
- Plans are fully transferable (fees and conditions apply per state)
Mid Atlantic’s AAA Vehicle Protection Plan comes in three levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Silver: Air conditioning and heating, basic electrical group, cooling system, drive axle group (front or rear), engine group (diesel and gas), seals and gaskets, taxes and fluids, transmission, turbocharger/supercharger
Gold and Platinum: All Silver components plus ABS system, brake group, power steering group, and suspension group
AAA Northeast serves AAA members in select counties in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.
We recommend that you contact them directly for information on included counties and coverage options.?
The Northeast AAA regional club boasts “competitively priced plan options” that extend coverage to virtually all mechanical and electrical components after the original manufacturer’s warranty expires. Its AAA Vehicle Protection Program Warranties include:
- Direct payment to repair facilities
- Rental car reimbursement
- Licensed repair facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada
- Zero deductible plans available
- Transferable coverage to increase resale value
What Do AAA Extended Warranties Cost?
To know what a AAA extended warranty will cost, you’ll have to call the company directly to find out. The price of an extended warranty is normally based on your specific car and selected coverage level. With AAA’s different options based on location, the cost could especially vary.
You can assume that, as with all warranties, the older the car and higher the mileage, the more expensive it will be to cover.
AAA Extended Warranty Reviews
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), AAA Northeast and AAA of the Carolinas both have an A+ rating, which is BBB’s highest possible grade. Most of the comments and feedback were from customers responding to service received from the AAA membership and in reference to roadside assistance and other membership concerns, not necessarily relating to AAA extended warranty service directly.?
Our Verdict: AAA Extended Warranty
If you’re already a AAA member or are thinking of becoming one the extended warranty could be worth it. The benefits and discounts you receive as a member are pretty strong perks. Plus, chances are you already trust the company and are comfortable with the service you receive. However, AAA extended warranties aren’t offered nationwide, so this may not be an option for you.
Our team gathered feedback from customers and critics alike to come up with a review of the best extended warranty providers out there. As previously stated, AAA didn’t make the cut in our list of providers to consider because they offer so many other products and services.?
For your extended warranty and vehicle protection service contract needs, our recommendation is to get a quote from several providers. We think it’s worth your time to investigate their plans and policies thoroughly, but if you’re in a hurry, here are the highlights or our top provider list:?
See how AAA compares with our top-rated provider, CARCHEX, in the chart below.
|?||AAA Extended Warranty*||CARCHEX Extended Warranty|
|any time||any time|
|Max Years of Coverage||7||10|
|# of Coverage Levels||Up to 4||5 levels of coverage, with 16 plans|
|Repair Network||7,000+ approved facilities in North America||> 30,000 facilities nationwide|
|Cancellation Policy||Refund options within 60 days||Refund if within 30 days|
|Availability||Must purchase from local dealer||Free, instant quote online|
|?||See your regional AAA branch for pricing||Get Quote|
*Based on offerings from AAA Carolinas. Products and services vary depending upon your geographic location.