If you get a car, you should join the AA or RAC immediately. The AA (Automobile Association) and the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) are the equivalents to the AAA in the US. They all offer similar services and they all have different levels of membership with different benefits. And they all cost about the same.
Unlike the AAA, the AA and RAC do not offer other retail services, such as a Travel Store, discount vouchers, etc. On the flip side, each also offers insurance plans, not just for cars, but also for home. Although AAA does not yet offer home insurance, it probably won’t be long before it does. Similarly, the AA and RAC will probably add more to their services, so that they will be in line with the US equivalent model.
Being a member of an automobile association is advantageous because you just never know when you might need roadside assistance, or even when your car won’t start at home. As a member, you would not have to pay for a call-out emergency. In fact, a single call-out may cost as much as a year’s membership. In addition, if your car needs towing, that would be more money out of pocket. So, a year’s membership pays for itself if you even use it once. Plus, you can get discounts for having a year without a call-out.
We learned almost too late about joining the RAC/AA. We had talked about joining but never got around to it. Then, one morning, our car wouldn’t start. Not knowing what to do because we were so isolated, we ended up taking a long walk to the local bus stop to go into the next big town. Incidentally, a car garage was located next to the bus stop. Unfortunately, this garage was for expensive sports cars. However, the owner was very nice and very willing to help out. It was with his advice, his cell phone and his computer that we were able to join the RAC and eventually get them to come out.
When the mechanic did come out, we were very surprised at what we got for our money. Not only was he able to diagnose the problem, he fixed it there and then. He also looked around to see if anything else was wrong and found something. He suggested we get a part (very cheap part) and call him back to have it installed. We saved a lot in time and money because if we had called to have our car towed to the nearest garage, we’re sure the mechanics there would have ripped us off. Unlike the AAA, the RAC/AA provides real roadside assistance. It isn’t a mere towing truck.
So don’t wait for an emergency to happen to join the RAC or AA. Do it now.