The American Automobile Association, or AAA, has many benefits to offer its members, including roadside assistance, auto, home, and life insurance, and help with vacation planning. Although any AAA member can receive services from any AAA branch, each member is registered with the club in their local area. Once the main AAA website has referred you to the appropriate regional website, use that website or the contact information listed there to receive information specific to your area.
Joining the American Automobile Association
- Visit the American Automobile Association website. Begin by visiting http://www.aaa.com. The AAA is actually made up of a federation of clubs, serving different areas. However, you can reach any of these clubs by visiting this website.
- Note: start with this step even if you plan to apply for membership in person, not online.
- Enter your zip code if prompted. The AAA website may automatically detect the general area you are located in, and send you to the correct web page for your area. If it does not, it will likely display a popup box and prompt you to enter your zip code.
- If you do not know your zip code, you may look it up by entering your address at the US Postal Service website.
- To apply in person, find the address of a local branch. Some local AAA organizations display their regional address prominently on the front page of their website, which you were just directed to. If you do not see one, or if the address is not nearby, look for a "Find another office" link, or "Find a local branch," or similar. Click this link to be taken to a map or a list of all AAA offices in your region, including their phone numbers and hours of operation.
- Try using your browser's Find command and enter "Office" or "Branch." This is typically available with the Ctrl+F key combination in a Windows operating system, or command+F on a Mac.
- Bring your information to that address, or call ahead and ask for details. Optionally, call the listed phone number and ask for information on membership plans. Your local office may or may not be able to register you as a member over the phone. Almost any AAA office should be able to register you in person, as long as you bring your driver's license and a method of payment.
- To save time before you show up, know what type of vehicles you operate, and whether other members of your household wish to apply as well.
- To apply online instead, click the Join button or link. There are dozens of regional websites, organized in many different layouts. Somewhere on the homepage, however, there should be a button or text link labeled Join Now or Join AAA.
- Compare plans. When you click Join, you will likely be taken to a chart comparing the benefits of different membership plans. The details of these vary between regional organizations, but the benefits are typically laid out clearly in a chart.
- Usually, the organization offers Classic (or Basic), Plus, and Premier membership. The Plus and Premier memberships cost more, but come with additional perks as described, such as additional free towing, or free travel insurance under certain conditions.
- If you do not understand a particular perk, the name of the perk may be a link that describes it in more detail. Other AAA websites have a question mark to click next to it, or a "View details" link at the bottom of the chart.
- Understand the cost. The "Primary Member" price indicates how much you would pay each year for that membership. There is typically an additional "Enrollment" fee or "New Member" fee, which is an additional charge applied once, when you join. Finally, if you wish another member of your household to receive the same benefits, that may cost you an additional "Associate Member" fee each year, per additional member.
- Select a plan that covers your vehicles. The Classic or Basic plan typically only covers ordinary cars, not RVs, trailers, or motorcycles. Your regional organization may display detailed information on this in a Vehicle Types chart at the bottom of the page, or include it somewhere in the perk list.
- Enter your contact information. After selecting "Join" for a particular plan, you should be taken to a form. Enter your full name, personal information, and contact information, as directed. When you're done, hit next.
- Decide whether to enable automatic membership renewal. You may be prompted for additional information, such as associate member information. Look for a "Convenience Billing" option. Select "No" if you do not want your credit card to be automatically billed at the end of each year. Keep it selected "Yes" if you want to automatically renew your membership each year.
- If you disable convenience billing, you will need to manually pay your membership dues each year to retain membership benefits.
- Enter your payment information. Enter your credit card information, or your personal checking account information. After confirming the order via email, your membership card should arrive in the mail within a few days.
- Do not enter your credit card information over an unsecured internet network, especially a public one used by many people.
Using Your AAA Membership
- Register online. Once your membership card arrives in the mail, you'll see your membership number printed on it in a prominent position. Return to www.aaa.com and click Register, then enter this number along with your personal information, as prompted. This gives you access to online resources as long as you retain your AAA membership.
- Browse online services in the Membership portion of the site. Click the Membership link on your regional organization's website. Your organization may offer a variety of online services, such as ordering a replacement membership card, upgrading your membership plan, or requesting maps and automobile guides.
- This may be listed as "Member Services," "Manage Your Membership," or another similar phrase.
- Be prepared to call roadside assistance. One of the most popular reasons for joining AAA is to receive towing, battery jumpstarting, or other emergency services when one's car breaks down. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP in this situation. Receiving these services will be easier and faster if you are prepared to provide the following information:
- Your AAA membership card info, especially the member number and expiration date.
- The location of the vehicle. If calling from a cell phone, AAA may attempt to locate you automatically. Turn on GPS if available to increase the odds of success.
- A description of your car, including if possible the model, color, year, and license plate number.
- Picture ID once an AAA employee arrives, to confirm you own the membership card.
- Use your AAA membership to receive discounts. Many hotels, restaurants, and other business worldwide offer a discount or special deal to AAA members. Look this up in advance in the "Discounts" section of your regional AAA website, or ask for information at a participating business.
- You will likely be required to show your AAA membership card to receive the discount, and sometimes a picture ID as well.
- Use your AAA membership abroad. Although most of AAA's services are only available to United States residents, your AAA membership can be used for many purposes abroad. Details vary between membership plans, so contact your local AAA branch for more information. If your membership plan allows, you may be able to receive or purchase the following benefits:
- Travel insurance
- Emergency transportation to a hospital while abroad
- An international driving permit, allowing you to drive in foreign countries
- You can also use the AAA website to find a branch, an insurance agent, or a travel agent nearest you to apply in person or ask questions about AAA's other services.
- Using a credit card on-line and selecting the "Convenience Billing" option will automatically renew your membership each year unless you contact AAA within a certain period of time to change your billing option.
- If you upgrade from one membership plan to another, you may need to wait a certain number of days before receiving the additional benefits.