The renewal bill for my AAA membership arrived last night. The annual due is $60, which isn’t at a level that I can’t afford. But I am thinking about whether or not I really want to keep the membership.
I joined AAA in 1998 and the last time I used it was in 2004 when my car’s timing belt broke on the highway about 40 miles from home (my one-way commute distance was 56 miles). That car had nearly 150K miles on it at that time and was donated in 2005 after we bought the van. And the last time I attempted to use the card was early last month at NJ State Aquarium in Camden when I was trying to buy two tickets but was told that discount only available for tickets purchased at AAA office, not at the ticket booth (and that’s a weird rule). I also used AAA auto insurance for two years from 2001 to 2003.
Other benefits I took advantage from AAA in the past also included maps and travel books. But since we bought the van, which has a GPS navigation system, map became a thing of the past and I almost don’t check online driving directions any more. As for the travel guides, I don’t remember we ever carried one when we were on vacation. Besides, all kinds of travel information can be easily found online. The main reasons that made me think twice about my membership are 1) both of us are close to home (less than 18 miles for my wife and about 13 miles for me); 2) we are also close to each other (about 5 miles); and 3) our cars are still quite reliable (bought new in 2000 and 2005).
Of course, AAA membership does provide a peace of mind. Though it seems quite unlikely in the near term, I can’t totally rule out the possibility of another break down of my 2000 Accord. With an AAA card in my pocket, I know I won’t be left on the road with nobody to call for help.
Should I cancel the membership and save $60 a year? Or should I keep it for emergency?
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