Roadside Assistance - AARP

The American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, carries name-brand recognition for seniors regardless of whether they are on the road or not.

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6.3
Grand Score
7.1
User Score
6.3
Grand Score
7.1
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AARP is a classic name in the senior services industry. The organization offers those ages 50 years and older great benefits and discounts, especially with roadside assistance as provided by Allstate. That said, seniors should be cautioned that rescue is never a guarantee on either the Premier or Road ‘N Tow plans. Also, refunds may be a hassle at best.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 4/10
Warranty 9/10
Ease 8/10
Cancellation 6/10
Customer support 9/10
Coverage 7/10
Limits to coverage 7/10
Eligibility 5/10
Payment 8/10
Cost
Annual fee
$58-$114, plus $16 annual fee for AARP membership
Warranty
How easy to return or replace?
Money-back guarantee within the first 60 days for new members
Ease
How easy to put to use?
Immediate availability with online enrollment
Cancellation
Cost or difficulty to cancel?
Call customer service; pro-rated refunds after the first 60 days
Customer support
Ease of access
24/7 by phone or mobile app
Coverage
What services are included?
Towing between 5 and 100 miles, jump starts, flat tire changes, and more
Limits to coverage
What services are excluded?
All services are scaled; make sure you know the details of your plan
Eligibility
Cost or difficulty to upgrade?
Upgrades to optional RV coverage are easy, but costly
Payment
Types of payment accepted
Automatic online or direct deposit withdrawals; phone or mail
Age Score:
7
50-64 Years
6
65-74 Years
5
75-84 Years
4
85-Above

While the AARP remains the most credible source of news, reports and information for senior citizens, its venture into roadside assistance leaves much to be desired. Compared to the likes of AAA and other niche automobile rescue services, AARP is unable to offer 24/7/365 coverage and some of the other key essential services one might expect when stranded far from home.

AARP has two categories of coverage, Premier and Road ‘N Tow, but none that offer towing beyond 100 miles or lockout services without an additional charge. Some seniors might like the scalability of both plans, but many will find the hidden charges and nuances inconvenient when they receive their final bills.

The exclusivity of AARP membership for those 50 years of age and older remains a perk, especially since the annual cost is still only $16 and with roadside membership goes on to include car rental savings, hotel discounts, Pathfinder Trip Routing services, 12-month repair warranties, auto theft rewards and various legal defense reimbursements.

Health Score:
7
Great Health
6
Good Health
5
Fair Health
4
Poor Health

During a breakdown, the AARP may fall short when it comes to health-related roadside coverage. AARP relies on Allstate for its responder network, which does not guarantee response. This leaves the stranded senior to find their own means to safety. In the event the stranded can reach a mechanic and a hospital, however, they are eligible for emergency room bonds of up to $1,000 for most members (with the exception of those from California who receive $250 on their bond cards).

Despite these payback options, however, the member still must submit claims and follow up with customer service, much like a true insurance company. This added stress and distress is certainly not good for one’s health and may tip a senior’s decision to stick with AAA or Allstate.

Pros:

  • AARP is synonymous with senior welfare and has over 37 million members that benefit from the $16 annual membership fee.
  • AARP offers two modifiable, or build-your-own, plans that give seniors flexibility when adding family members and additional vehicles.
  • Members benefit from a 60day money-back guarantee and a pro-rated refund outside of those 60 days.
  • Both plans are backed by Allstate and offer coverage throughout the United States.
  • All plans come with AARP lodging discounts, car rental discounts and Pathfinder Trip Routing services.

Cons:

  • The most obvious downfall is the unreliability of response times as well as the potential for nonresponse, which is reimbursable, but which also requires the driver to get out of the jam alone.
  • The AARP’s coverage is fraught with stipulations, including having to pay for such standard roadside assistance measures as emergency fluid delivery, lockout services and tire replacements.
  • While the company offers great reimbursements and warranties, all of the legwork must be conducted by the member at his or her own cost.
  • Many members may already have Allstate, and therefore do not need the double coverage or discounts that the AARP offers at present.

Bottom Line:

AARP roadside assistance with Allstate is an excellent option for all current members of the organization who have not previously held roadside coverage with another entity and are looking for quick options. More adventurous individuals may find that the assistance is lacking, since most standard services come with a charge in addition to annual membership fees and roadside assistance dues.

The warranty on membership cancellation and repairs is first-class and may allow seniors to test drive the service (no pun intended) before going all in with the lower-tiered Road ‘N Tow service or upgrading to the Premier plan. Ultimately, the AARP remains a great name to have on a card in one’s pocket, but just not too far from home or an Allstate provider.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What if I move? Am I still covered?  

Members are covered anywhere in the United States and do not have to wait for the issuance of their cards. Members should be careful to note, however, that many of the bonds, discounts and deals are scaled based on state. For example, California only offers emergency medical coverage of up to $250, while other states offer $1,000.

If I am a commercial driver, am I still covered?  

Members are covered if, and only if, they are operating private passenger vehicles, motorcycles, four-wheeled sport utility vehicles and light trucks with a carrying capacity less than 2,000 pounds. Of note, RV coverage is available on the premium plan regardless of whether the vehicle is owned, leased, borrowed or on loan. 

What if my vehicle is stuck in mud, snow or worse?  

No problem! Members are covered up to 30 minutes for one operator to remove a stuck car, be it stranded in mud, sand, snow or a ditch.

More Information:

Product Details

Overview: The AARP relies on Allstate to provide its members with roadside coverage, which can be lacking when one is stranded or in a wreck. Services rendered are 24/7 in nature, but with no guarantee of immediate rescue, if any. The company offsets these inconveniences nicely with refunds and bonds as well as coupons, discounts and more. Seniors may find the refund process tedious and the uncertainty of coverage disconcerting, but the AARP is still second to none when it comes to brand recognition and advocacy on the behalf of all driving seniors.

Package Details: AARP roadside assistance with Allstate comes in two standard plans:  Premier and Road ‘N Tow.Neither plan is all-inclusive, however, and require members to cover such costs as flat tire repair servicing, battery jumpstarts, emergency fluid deliveries and lockout services. Additionally, only the top tier plan offers RV coverage, which may be off-putting to seniors looking for added freedom during their best years.

Add-on Services:  AARP is top-notch in its generosity with discounts to hotels and deals on car rental services. Of course, all beneficiaries must be 50 years of age or older, but add-ons include guaranteed arrest bonds, auto theft deterrent rewards, emergency room bonds, trip interruption rebates, Pathfinder Trip Routing services, vehicle repair referrals and warranties, repair check guarantees, RV emergency roadside services and much more.

Additional Company Details

Contract Details:  AARP membership plans are good for one year at a cost of $16, but roadside assistance comes at an additional charge that ranges from $58 to $104annually. AARPis extremely respectful of changing budgetary needs and demands placed on seniors. Therefore, it offers a 60-day money-back guarantee as well as a pro-rated refund outside of that window. AARP and its roadside assistance via Allstate does not guarantee rescue, however, and so places much of the burden of claim responsibility on the contract holder. These bonds and repayments are generous, but not for the faint of heart.

Warranty: Assuming the new member does not already have Roadside Assistance via AARP from Allstate, they are eligible for a 60-day monday-back satisfaction guarantee. Current and new members also benefit from repair service warranties when a defective part or workmanship issue results in another repair within 12 months or 12,000 miles of the original repair, whichever comes first. AARP covers all costs for the parts and labor for such issues as poor tire repairs, front-end suspension problems, engine tune-up services, brake services, heating and air conditioning problems, electrical rewiring, belt repairs and hose replacements. 

Accreditations: The AARP is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but maintains an A+ rating. 

Company Details: The AARP began life as the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) in 1947, with a core focus of encouraging seniors to continue teaching and mentoring through their golden years. The American Association of Retired Persons was officially founded in 1958 and continues to operate as a 501(c)(4) organization that lobbies on behalf of seniors, or those 50 years of age and older. 

The company has multiple affiliates including the AARP Experience Corps, AARP Institute, AARP Financial Services Corporation and the AARP Insurance Plan, among others. The company has over 37 million members and remains the most well-known advocate for elders and seniors throughout their golden years.

Contact: 

AARP
601 E St NW
Washington, DC 20049-0001
Tel: (888) 687-2277
Website: https://www.aarp.org/

Kate Papenberg - Senior Advisor

Kate is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.