Car talk – AAA is the best

1. My dad got a new license plate. BK♥SACH. His name is Bal Krishan, but he goes by BK. 🙂


2. A few weeks ago someone scratched my car in the parking lot. She was super nice, left a note on my car, and ultimately paid for getting it repaired. Unfortunately, I think she was expecting a $100-200 bill for some basic touch up, but it ended up being about $600. Body work is never cheap, since they have to pound out the dent and then repaint much of the car to make the paint match.


My car is now 8 years old and doesn’t have a single scratch, dent or mark on it. The paint is still silky smooth and looks perfect.


Thanks to the person who paid for the repair! And if anyone is looking for a body shop in SF, check out Karry’s Auto Body. They are super nice and do great work.


3. AAA car insurance costs half of Geico, for me. I just got my own car insurance policy for the first time. It was actually a great experience overall. I went with AAA since my parents have been using them for years. AAA turned to be cheaper, *nearly half the price of Geico*. I wonder why you don’t hear about AAA car insurance more often?


Not only were they cheaper, but super friendly and easy to deal with. Very smooth transaction. In the past I’ve had to make 2 claims with AAA for insurance. Without getting into details, bottom line is the incidents were not my fault, AAA cut me a fat check to resolve the issues, and I walked away happy. I couldn’t have had a better experience.


4. Low deductible comprehensive is worth it. Insurance is usually very complicated. I feel people rarely know what is or isn’t covered, and what the ramifications are for making a claim. In particular, comprehensive insurance. You can make a comprehensive claim for things that break on your car that aren’t related to a collision, wear and tear, or manufacturer’s defects.


There are more restrictions, but the interesting things it can cover are: replacing a windshield after a rock cracks it, dent repair from a shopping cart in the parking lot, and quoting from the AAA handbook “loss caused by other than collision and includes…missiles, falling objects…” Really glad I’m covered if a missile hits my car! I got a $100 deductible for comprehensive since it wasn’t much money at all!


A few months ago I was driving around, minding my own business, when I apparently ran over something on the road. No idea what it was, but I got a flat. No, I got 2 flats. No, it *destroyed my wheels*. Long story short, it was a stressful experience, but at the end of the day I was towed home, repairs were done, AAA picked up the bill. Amazing. Here’s a shot of my broken wheel. Intense:




5. AAA plus towing services will save your ass. Many years ago when I had an Audi A4, I broke down in Kettleman City, half way between LA and SF. I was on my way to SF. Audi’s policy is to tow you to the nearest dealer, so I was towed 200 miles to home. Perfect. Since then I’ve always had AAA “plus” which tows you 100 miles. If you break down somewhere, you sorta just want to be taken home so you can deal with it your way. Rather than being towed to the nearest gas station, getting a hotel, rental car, etc etc.


6. Skip the DMV line. AAA does it for you. I went to the AAA office today to renew my car registration and update my address. There was zero line, they were super friendly, and I got it all done in seconds. Many people don’t realize AAA does DMV services for you. Why deal with the DMV if you don’t have to? We also picked up some free maps while we were there.


AAA services are worth every penny. I would pay 3X how much they charge now, in a heartbeat. It just takes one unfortunate incident and you’re glad you have them taking care of you.


  1. I’ve had AAA plus since it came out. I have to admit I’ve never used any of the plus features like the 100 miles towing, but I love them all the same. They won’t insure people who have lots of accidents. My driving record sucks. BC is a no fault province and they have provincial insurance so I got my car registration and insurance all in one sitting. That is pretty awesome.But back to AAA. They also give you free maps (we stopped at a AAA in Oregon to get maps see where exactly where we were and where we were going on something other than my iPhone), and last summer they sent a tow truck guy out to a campground when Stefan somehow left the keys in the cooler in the trunk to rescue us from ourselves.In Canada it is CAA. They don’t transfer AAA service to other branches, but you’re equally supported by local AAA clubs and you can just renew with the local branch/organization when your coverage expires.The whole no waiting at the DMV thing is really one of the best things about AAA. They can’t do drivers liscence renewals or reissuing, but they can do the car title stuff and address update stuff. I’ve definitely used that service.

  2. I used to work there so I understand that value proposition. They have a great service but ultimately, I canceled my insurance and service with them and opted for a company that isn’t the biggest lobbyist for more cars and more freeways.If anyone is looking for a towing service alternative, try the Better World Club. Pretty much the same service (plus bicycle towing!) and they contribute a portion of their revenues to public transportation lobbying, environmental issues, etc.

  3. Glad AAA is working well for you. I use Progressively and have been a very happy customer. From my car being stolen and having a check for it less than a couple days later to being towed on a flat bad back to the city from the top of Mt. Tam, they have been terrific.I did not know about the DMV service though. Wonder if other insurance providers do this.

  4. I never knew AAA offered car insurance. From reading your good experiences with them I will check them out. Thanks!

  5. Well, it’s cool that AAA is working great for ya. In the world of cars, getting into some car toubles can be a real problem, innit? There’s a ton of waiting, and as shown in one of your observations, a pretty big price tag to boot. It’s to make sure that the car looks good, more or less, and it’s best to be thorough about it (to avoid later hassles on the roads). All in all, it’s great that the situation was resolved nicely. Kudos to the lady who paid for the damages. All’s well that ends well!

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