I have been a member of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) for close to a decade and when I recently received the annual renewal notice in the mail, I started wondering if it was worth keeping the membership. My membership costs $62 + GST (at the time of writing in 2006. As of 2014, a basic membership in Eastern Ontario costs $78.50 plus HST) and though I have been renewing for years without a second thought, I do not use their services all that much. Some of the benefits that I have received so far include travellers cheques, destination maps and discounts at tourist attractions, hotels etc. Despite driving an older vehicle, I have made only a couple of service calls over all these years, all of them for a battery boost during particularly cold spells but the wait times ran into many hours and it was quicker to ask a friend for a jump start.

A “Classic” membership that CAA recommends for average motorists, costs about of $145 per year in 2014 ($78.50 for “Classic” membership plus $50 for associate member plus HST) for two drivers. It allows members to receive four free emergency roadside service calls year. Roadside Assistance could be a battery boost, fuel delivery, flat tire service, lockout service or towing up to 5 kilometres. Members also receive maps, tour guides and discounts at retail partners and tourist attractions. Other membership levels offer extra benefits but also cost more.

Most people end up purchasing a CAA membership for the cost certainty and peace of mind that comes with roadside assistance. But if you drive a reliable car mostly within town, are willing to do a little preparation and have some savings set aside to handle an occasional service call, you’ll likely find it cheaper in the long-run to pay-as-you-go compared to an auto club membership. The most common reason a car won’t start is a dead battery, which can be handled by keeping a portable booster pack in the trunk at all times. You can handle other emergencies by asking your trusted mechanic to recommend a tow truck and carrying the contact information and a cell phone with you at all times. Fortunately, with cars being more reliable than ever, a call for roadside assistance should be a very rare event.

If you frequently travel out of town or drive long distances and must have roadside assistance, you may want to first check if already have it. Many car manufacturers include roadside assistance when you buy a new or pre-owned vehicle. New GM vehicles include a OnStar subscription for a limited time. You may already have an auto club membership included in your credit card benefits. One of the benefits available to TD Gold Elite Visa cardholders, for example, is roadside assistance through the TD Auto Club. If you find that you don’t already have roadside assistance, shop around. These days you have plenty of options with many car manufacturers, retailers, credit cards and even cell phone companies offering roadside assistance plans.

Are occasional service calls, a few travellers’ cheques and some tourist discounts worth the cost of a basic membership? I think not and I am leaning towards letting my CAA membership lapse.

This article has 113 comments

  1. depending if you do your oil changes yourself or not you should look into the canadian tire auto club. The basic membership is $60 and it includes 3 service calls per year (lockout/battery boost/towing up to 10 kms/gas delivery etc.) It also includes gift certificates for one free Canadian tire oil change and four certificates for 14.95 canadian tire oil changes. Most places in my area charge about $25-30 for an oil change so the gift certificates are worth about $70…presto free auto club.

  2. I have had the CAA Plus membership, which is about $95, ever since I had to get my car towed and the bill came to about 2 years membership. It would have been free with CAA Plus. Also, I locked my keys in a rental car in Florida and AAA came, for free, to unlock the car. That would have cost $45 USD. Also, if you have ever had a flat tire on a busy highway it is downright dangerous to try to do it yourself with the cars wizzing by. Whether it’s $62 or $95 it is cheap insurance that takes care of a host of emergencies. And, of course, it’s always when you just cancel it that you finally really need it.

    • Do you work for CAA? I recently made my first call to CAA in many years after returning late at night from Toronto on the GO train to find my battery dead. I was on hold in a freezing car for over 30 minutes with a prerecorded message 3 x every minute telling me if I wanted faster service I could call a local towing service and I could remit the bill & be reimbursed according to my plan. How’s that for service. My son-in-law came & boosted me. I will not be renewing.

      • Caa is a waste of money, I called in the morning to get my car boosted since my battery was dead from the severe cold. I was put on hold for 40 mins, then told someone would come in 30mins…waited all day, called back 3 times each time a 40 mins wait, only to find out that they had confused my call with a another call dealing with an auto collusion. and so no one came at all, or called and updated us. I will not be renewing

      • I agree. It used to be good service, but has deteriorated. My last two calls I was on hold for at least 20 minutes before they answered to even find out my emergency. Took them another 5-10 minutes to understand where I was, and then a long wait for assistance to arrive. Both in freezing temperatures and one of those times with no heat and a small child in the car. Will be shopping for an alternative.

  3. My personal opinion is that most of these things are just another way to make money from you. Doesn’t sound like you make much use of it. My wife’s parents have always had BCAA “Gold” membership or whatever but I don’t think they have ever used it. They are big into buying any kind of insurance that’s out there. I think they mainly got it for the roadside assistance which is funny because they never even go on roadtrips. I guess they just want a boost and they don’t carry booster cables.

  4. My opinion is that one should buy insurance for those items which if happen would ruin your life. for small stuff that you can pay out of your pocket – forget it. You will definitely pay more in membership fees over the long run than what the services are worth. After all , why CAA would exist if they were loosing money.

  5. Canadian Capitalist

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I am still inclined not to renew the membership. I checked that one of the credit cards offers roadside assistance (I have to pay out of my pocket if I ever use it, but I am ok with that).

  6. Here in BC, purchasing gasoline and propane from the Mohawk / Husky chain gains credits that I can use towards purchase of the following year’s membership. Between my personal and work purchases, it usually ends up being just a few dollars per year for the coverage. I purchase the “Plus” coverage, as my motorcycle has no spare tire, and BCAA will tow it upright on a flat deck to the nearest garage (motorcycle shop) where I can have it repaired or replaced.

    As my truck ages (too cheap to replace it!) it has also come in handy. Once when I parked, the battery shorted internally and would not start the vehicle. The free boost got me home, and I replaced the battery a day or so later — saved the boosting charge, and taxi fare.

    Generally it has been cheap insurance. If you shop Canadian Tire, and buy their gas, the points accumulation you gain with their product may be worth the price — remember that their product covers the vehicle no matter the driver, whereas CAA covers the cardholder no matter the vehicle.

    And, of course, many new cars have roadside coverage included in the price.

    Happy price shopping.


  7. I used to feel the same way as you do until I learned they also have other deals that help pay out the membership fee for us in no time.

    For example, you can get movie theatre tickets at a significant discount. With our four kids, it doesn’t take us long to more than save our membership fee with the movie discounts alone.

    They also offer discounts on attractions (eg Marineland).

    And lastly, just one hotel stay where you take advantage of the CAA/AAA discount (usually about the lowest price of any available) will pay for your membership.

    I think I needed their car service just once in the past 5 years (dead battery) but the fees have been more than worthwhile with all the non-car bebefits.

  8. I guess it all depends on your situation. Every year when I get our renewal notice I hum & haw about renewing it. (I have the RV Plus & an associate card for my wife, so it’s well over $100/yr).

    If you’re mostly driving in populated areas, odds are you can easily / cheaply get a boost or a tow. However, if, like us, you break down in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter, it’s definitely worth it… I hate to think what our 125km tow would have cost without a membership.

    And, as someone else mentioned, if you use all their related perks (maps, passport photos, reservations, etc) the membership really isn’t a bad deal.

    • Id be happy to tell you what it would cost… my pickup with camper and a small utility trailer towed for 79km was a total of $540 since then I have always had BCAA Premier with the RV Option($152/yr) which covers two tows of up to 320km plus 4 more tows of up to 160km.. well worth it if you go camping frequently etc plus between my personal and work gas purchases the membership usually costs me next to nothing but even without this Id gladly pay it… what I am trying to decide right now is if its worth it to pay an additional $50 for my wifes membership as I could go grab her car etc if there is ever an issue

  9. I used to renew my BCAA membership when I renewed my insurance. However, this year I went with private insurance for my Optional Coverage which includes Autoplus Coverage for towing, rental, UMP and other benefits which match or exceed BCAA’s membership. Tons more for about $25 less than insuring with ICBC for Optional and BCAA’s membership. Other people, like my wife, saved even more!

  10. my BCAA gold membership is about $75 a year and well worth it. I’ve had to use it several timees to tow my car when my clutch went, when I locked my keys in my car and numerous discounts. Also if you are in someone elses car and something happens it’s not car specific. My hubby locked his keys in his Accord and since it has laser locks and you can’t open it through the window like my old junker the tow truck guy said it would have cost him about $350 if he’d had to pay for it. The best part is you don’t have to pay deductibles or anything until you’ve used your generous quota of allowals. I have never gone over the limit and my car is a POS. I would say I get at least four to eight hundred dollars a year worth of services out of a $75 membership. If your car is newer and you won’t need the roadside stuff or your car already comes with it from the dealership then I suggest the similar membership they have through ICBC. It costs $24/ year and covers a lesser amount of things, but has some perks like no deductible if your car is stolen and discounts as well.

  11. No it’s not! I pay $2 every 6 months with my car insurance company for 3 free tows a year. I get reimbursed with a receipt.

    I have many horror stories with CAA and their policies.

    Depending on your policy you may have to pay for every additional kilometer of towing because they have a maximum distance a car can be towed.

    If you don’t have I.D. on you above and beyond the CAA membership card they refuse you services.

    CAA membership rates for hotels is a myth. I often find the rates were the same regardless. It was just a ploy.

    Save your money. Most people never use their membership which is why they don’t know this. Again a sign of a waste of money.

  12. yes it is very worth while On holiday with 3 kids my starter stopped working.off to a garage of my choice to repair it, offer to take us with them to garage no hassel no muss excetent.

  13. I locked my baby in the car when he was 2 months old!
    Without CAA I would have smashed my window to get to him!
    Not only were they there in 10 minutes, but the girl on the phone calmed me right down and made the situation so much easier!
    They have been there for my brother in the middle of nowhere(literally) when he didn’t even have his own membership!

    I stumbled upon this feed and it made me think back to the original statement made by CC I think that you have highlighted all the bad very precisley but have failed to weigh the true value of the membership!


    64 dollars- 10 KMS…plus 2.25 for any additional KMS
    90 dollars- 200 KMS …….HELLO!! It’s not CAA’s fault that some people are sticklers!!



    I’m a “premier” member and I get 2 days free car rental and my membership card is a free long distance card!!!!

    I’m keeping mine!

  14. I have a 1998 Ford car with 210,oookm on it.
    When I bought this second hand car with under $4,000, I immidiatly joined CAA with payment of $78 or $87(can’t remember).

    The first year and a half, nothing happened. Then my car towed last month.

    I believe that the whole investment theroy and practice is to balance risk and return.

    Now we can understand why CAA/AAA is good for people who own older cars – risk and balance.

    You can’t save money by risk your money.

    Good night everyone.

  15. hi

    i have a ’86 volvo and my husband has a ’96 yukon … we have premier membership and with the saving from going to Husko/Mohawk it costs only about a hundred a year. Between maps when we go out of town … a gaurantee of 2 or 3 tows a year with rental car for 2 days each time … and my husband is a movie buff we have been reinbursed for our membership over and over again. When ever we decide to get 2 new cars, is when I may think about dropping our membership, but I will probubly just down grade it 🙂

  16. I am a gold member with Canadian Tire Roadside Assisatnce and I feel it is well worth the cost. Its 99.95 for the year but it gives you 5 calls per year and up to 250 kms of towing! Most tow companies charge $50 for a hook up and $3 per km of towing so if you use it once its well worth it. Plus you get a coupon for a free oil changes and four for about $10 off.. which is a $70 savings! Their customer service is far superior to any other I have dealt with. Whenever I called CAA i felt as if i were bothering them but with Canadian Tire its like I am being treated as a loved one! It is some of the best money I have ever spent.

  17. I agree with McLovin.. not sure if its his real name, but I have had the plan for a few years now since switching from CAA and the difference is like night and day. I love the oil change coupons and the service is always fast and friendly. A friend of mine once broke down on the highway with no coverage and had to pay $250 for a 30 minute tow. I would say this… “Can you afford no to have Canadian Tire Roadside?”

  18. CAA Plus is a scam!

    CAA wouldn’t tow my car because it has an expiring inspection sticker, ( still valid till the end of the month but expiring) I have a 91 honda Accord, doesn’t look new but what they pulled is ridiculous then they tried to pull the show me id nonsense, after giving them two pieces of id they told me they only dealt with “road worthy” vehicles personally CAA and AAA is a scam. They keep sending me renewal forms I never renew personally your better off just getting insurance from your insurance company its usually less sticky on many of these concerns especially since they are your primary insurer.

  19. CAA / AAA Plus huge scam,

    Just like to add CAA will not tow any vehicle at their discretion its designed to be low risk on their end for payout of claims especially when 3rd parties and the lack of flat bed trucks are involved. Whats funny is with the majority of people getting CAA or AAA memberships because of older or aging cars the truth is CAA / AAA doesn’t want you. Risk assessment department at CAA don’t want older cars that pose higher call rate and failure potential.
    I have been a member for about 10 years and when they did let me down I just never EVER trust them again. Btw I tried getting a refund for my membership after the two refusal it feel on deaf ears and their customer service department has been outsourced to a fax machine. They really remind me of air canada they are really that bad in customer service department also don’t forget the membership is only valid for you, your spouse gf or family member cant do didly without a separate card. Many road side assistant plans from various other people follow the car instead of the person which is a much better choice.

    CAA / AAA if you still feel you need them read the fine print, you will be surprised.

  20. CAA Memberships

    Basic – Includes 10 km. $3.00 for each additional km.
    Plus – Includes 200 km per tow. $3.00 for each additional km.
    Premium – Includes 200 km per tow with 1 tow being up to a maximum of 320 km. If you use the 320 km tow because you break down in the 200 km + area then you use up the one time 320 km tow. After that each tow is up to 200 km. $3.00 for each additional km.

    Prices known as of Jan 2009

  21. I’m in the same predicament right now, my membership is up for renewal in the next 2 weeks..its $100 and I’m not sure if I should renew..I got it last year after my car left me stranded and because I still have the same 13 year old car I am considering renewing it, as I have no plans to buy another car for 2-3 years. oh what to do!

  22. I have used BCAA twice in one day, once for flat tire and then 4 hours later, locked my keys in the car (Blonde what can I say. I have used discount services on accomodations and shoes. Above all, I have used my BCAA when people have locked their keys in the car. I look at BCAA as a knight is shining armor. A friend of mine pays for his 2 daughters who have older cars memberships. Both of the daughters have used the services. BCAA gives a person piece of mind, and can you put a dollar value on that.

  23. Some of you folks make me laugh. They make money = it’s a scam. The fact is, it is insurance. You can like it, or don’t like it – it’s up to you. It is not a matter of right and wrong.
    I have personally considered dropping the membership a few times myself, but here are some reasons I have not. It is not just about the car services.
    I had booked a series of flights to London, schedualed for Sept 13, 2001. I am sure you know what happened after that. The airlines were not returning money to tickets for flights that were cnacelled. I had booked a short flight for this trip through AMA, and the longer portion through a discount company. I couldn’t get ahold of the discount people, and pretty much had written off these expensive overseas flights. The girl at AMA was able to refund me the short flights, and deal witht the other compnay to get me my money back, even though I hadn’t bought those tickets through AMA. That was worth 15 to 20 years of AMA memerships. 🙂
    I also live in a community where the line up for any sort of registy is crazy, but as an AMA member, the line is small. I also get very cheap passport photos for myself and my family. Combine that with the other perks (if you are willing to look for them) and I feel the membership is well worth it. Go in as a member to ask about planning a trip. You don’t have to book through them, but the information you get will be the best you can find.

    I am looking at buying out my leased vehicle – AMA has a service that gets me all the black book prices. It goes on and on.

    If you don’t travel, have no money, and don’t want to put the time in to research – get rid of the membership. If you are okay with doing a bit of research, want to save money, and have some added convenience, the membership is a deal.

    Again, some of you folks have to stop thinking that whatever is good for you, must be the best choice for everybody. I know what the membership costs, and I am comfortable with the benefit I get out of it. Might not be for you, and I would never make you feel that your dicision is bad. I like to research, always want the best deal, and for me, the membership is worth it. 🙂

  24. did you no that bcaa pays its tow truck companies less then min wage basic tow starts at $50.00 plus taxes .bcaa pays around $28.00 to$30.00 the only one geting rich is bcaa well the tow company makes nothing .think about it how can an auto club who charges $80.00 to $100.00 per year afford to pay tow companies fair money bcaa thanks you people for making them rich and making the tow company poor

  25. I work for a company that contracts to CAA. I drive what is known as a Battery Assist truck, so I don’t do towing I do Battery boosts, Battery installs (In your driveway), unlock your car and will change a tire for you if you get a flat. Those are my main jobs, next to that I get a variety of different calls the most popular being. A door won’t close or the key won’t turn in the ignition. As a battery assist driver I’m allowed to try and fix anything within my capabilities. I once tore half an engine compartment apart to find a transmission oil leak for a member. I saved that member probably $200+ that day.

    As for towing. As other have said the basic tow is 10 free kms to the shop of your choice. If you have roadside from a dealer your tow is to the nearest dealer not your dealer of choice.
    If you have no roadside at all your looking at $55 for the tow to show up and $65 for a flatbed. Some companies charge $25-$35 if the driver has to use dollies (Wheel Lifts) and then you got the $2.50-$3.00 per km charge on top of that.

    If you don’t normally leave your city a basic membership is what you should get. If you travel out of your city regularly then go with a Plus membership. If your tow a trailer or drive a motorhome go with the RV. If your towing a utility trailer a basic or plus membership will not cover a tow or tire change of the trailer.

    No CAA membership will cover a car with invalid plates without special clearance from a CAA operator. CAA also will not tow a car to a scrap yard. Most of this is due to insurance.

    The CAA driver has the right to refuse any car or service he deems as unsafe or unfit. The main reason for this is as a CAA driver we are responsible for any damage to the vehicle. Also if your impaired and lock your keys in your car we are not to open the car as we are now liable in case you get in an accident.

  26. Todd

    I’m not sure how BCAA work but I can tell you that here in Ontario almost all CAA work is contracted out. Most companies do not pay by the hour but by commission. In my line of work for CAA I average $10 per call. Tow trucks would be $12. At times your comment above could be correct, but over the course of a year we are paid well above minimum wage.

    This has been a slow year so far for us here in Ontario and I’m only averaging $2000-2500 a month so far. But with the snow and cold days still to come I can expect anywhere from $3000 to $6000 a month.

    Just in the last few weeks my daily income has gone from $60-$100 to over $200 a day. My best ever take home pay for 2 weeks was $4100 the worse was $800 and change. This is more a lifestyle then a job and you have to work long hours to make good cash.

    But going from what I see and hear from other drivers it’s not all about the money. For most of us drivers it’s the satisfaction we get when we get a members car going.
    I can also tell you that if you have a flat on the side of the road not many tow trucks will stop to help unless they get paid. A CAA driver is more likely to stop and help free of charge

  27. I agree with Joe. My partner and I own a small business and he travels alot by car. We look at as a necessary expense to avoid a large, unexpected tow bill which happened to us once. Not all independent TT operators are honest. We do drive a 2007 Toyota in very good condition but we both know from experience “life happens” and we’d rather be prepared. We have claimed this expense under our business without question for a few years. We also made sure to have car rental coverage on our auto insurance policy to ensure minimal interruption to our business if something happened along with an emergency roadside kit in the trunk and well rated winter radials. To CC: I do believe everyone needs to do what works for them so happy motoring.

  28. I had a Canadian Tire membership for 4 years in a row, and will get it again, just haven’t yet. I have compared it to CAA and I find the Canadian Tire is cheaper, allows you longer tows, half price oil changes, (that in itself pays for almost 75% of the cost of the membership over the year), and best of all, UNLIMITED tows to any Canadian Tire store within 250 km!! I used my past membership 6 times in one year for an old lemon I was driving that just kept having problems. I lived exactly 230 km from where I wanted to have the car towed down to my father, who is a mechanic and I knew could fix it for me. Canadian Tire sent a truck promptly and towed me the entire way, I rode with the tow truck driver. Awesome service. I will get it again because I drive an older car and one can never anticpate when something will go wrong. I go to the drivein movies quite frequently in the summer and you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have boosted people driving newer vehicles. lol, so don’t think that just because you drive a new car you wont break down. Mine is a 93 Mercury 🙂

  29. One thing to consider is the relative response in the area you live. I started with Cdn Tire auto service when i was in Ont. where they have a lot of contracted drivers. When I moved back to BC I mistakenly brought my car back and it broke down a number of times. The coverage in Vancouver was terrible it took them 2 hours to respond to my request. Also don’t forget that the oil change is @ Crappy Tire…They stripped my oil plug and the location that I tried to get service would not work on it and the previous place would not admit to doing it.
    So why bother if you can’t trust the “free service?”

    It is all about risk management, I decided to go with BCAA because it lowered my house insurance and they provide battery boost. As I also got my car broken into and 80 dollar cables were stolen….ICBC would not replace it because it they told me that it didn’t really belong in the car!

    Another option is to go get oil changes from walmart and get the (additional $$ now??) temp auto coverage.

  30. I am an older woman, and I live far away from any family or friends, so i rely on roadside assistance programs once in a while for help with flat tires, or to start my battery for me. My husband used to have a Canadian Tire membership and when he passed away about five years ago I decided to keep it in my name as the car we drove was old and although i could afford it i couldnt’ bear to get rid of it for a new one for sentimental reasons. I have called for help about 3 times over the past 5 years and i must say that the service has always been friendly, and the time it took for them to arrive did vary, but it was always reasonable considering the circumstances. I had a dead battery at home in a terrible storm last year and the operator told me it would be about three hours for them to get to my rural location, and because i was safe at home and others on the road took priority. I think whenever theres bad weather, no matter who you are with, you may have to wait longer, the one thing that i truly like is their commitment to the customer, not too many companies seem to have that anymore. The people that answer the phone when i call for help are always firendly and seem to really show concern for my situation, which truly does offer so much comfort when you are stranded on the side of the road knowing the person at the end of the other line doesnt just look at you as customer number 1001.

  31. Not worth the hassle to get a tow from CAA. I purchased the “Gold” Membership as my family has a 5 year and a 6 year old car.
    My first call was 2 weeks after the purchase. I had a flat tire and the car would not start. The CAA rep (arrived after 45mins, thats ok) said that if he would help me boost and inflate the tire it would be 2 service calls (even if both were unsucessful) or I could have it towed to a dealer for 1 service call. That was the first experience. Ok, I had it towed.
    My second call was because I got a flat half hour from home. I was told that I needed to get the vehicle towed as no service could be provided on the busy road.
    My bumper was damaged by the tow truck as the representative did not take the time to properly hook up our vehicle. I had followed behind him in another vehicle and tried to get him to pull over as I watched my car angled down toward the right. When we arrived at the dealership, we were all able to see that a long pin from the tow was on the bumper as opposed to being in the wheel well. This caused a crack in the bumper and the paint to be scratched off. The driver of the tow admitted to the damage (as we could all see the pin on the bumper ). He told us not to call CAA as he only gets paid 11$ for the tow. He added that he should have left us at the side of the road for the trouble we will cause when we said that we will call and that we don’t understand why he would have to pay, wouldn’t CAA take the necessary claim. He said he will have to pay for it out of his pocket. I do not understand this. He said the tow truck drivers are contract, they are not CAA. He admitted to the damage yet here I am having all this trouble. CAA forced me to go back and forth with the tow company to make an agreement for them to pay for the bumper replacement. Which turned out to be ridiculous as the guy was going to just paint it with whatever paint. So fast forward a bit and CAA agreed to pay for the repair as long as I provided them with 2 comparing estimates. I did. Then they told me to get an estimate from their garage, I did. Then they thought the price was too high, so they told me that they would only pay for an aftermarket bumper. My car has never been damaged and it has Original parts on it. But they insisted so I thought that to speed up the process, I’ll agree. CAA then tells me to book the appointment for the replacement because the only cost difference would be the bumper, which is true. So I went to the same places and got new quotes. I booked it and now CAA only wants to pay for half the repair. Again, here I am with CAA changing the agreement after the fact. This has turned out to be a very frustrating and difficult situation.
    I have been dealing directly with CAA for 3 months, with communication at least 4 times per week and still no resolution. No apology on behalf of the tow nor the CAA either. I can not understand why they wouldn’t want to close this case. they are trying to swindle me obviously and I have been falling for it. I am not being treated as a valuable customer. Its a large cooperation and I regret ever purchasing membership.
    I was told by the CAA rep in the complaints department that tow trucks regularly damage the vehicles.
    On another note, I travel regularly and the discounted CAA rate is NOT a better rate, I have found the same hotels and shows and restaurants have other promos all the time and are ALWAYS better.
    I thought I would like getting the travel books, because my parents and in laws always did (but they never required the roadside assistance part), but what I find is that google, the library, the tourism board (free and detailed) and then of course once at the destination (like the hotel you stay at) provide much better, precise maps and tourist information.
    The customer service from the tow driver and all the CAA representatives I have had to call has been very terrible. It has been unhelpful even trying to just get a manager’s name and telephone number is impossible without relaying the whole story and then they just transfer me back to the small department of 4 who has been handling the damages. I’m in a vicious circle. The lady who sold me the membership was pleasant and the lady trying to get me to book a vacation was also (though her deal was not good). Everyday I know that they will try to get out of their responsibility to me, a paying customer. Because that has been what is happening. If the tow driver was more diligent (if he cared about the $11) I would not need to be dealing with this miserable company, who does not support the customer. They do not care about me or you or your car. They don’t care about the money you invested to support them nor the service they are paid to provide. Save your time and aggravation and don’t deal with them.

  32. i was recently travellin from florida back to ontario i had 2 sepperate blow outs each waiting times where about 45 minutes beleive it or not if i would had to pay for someone to come and change these tires on the motor home my cost would have been 175$ each time since they happenned in the middle of nowhere on the side of the i75 i stood there while these guys changed these tires and you know what no thanks you would not catch me laying on the side of the highways while other drivers dont really care how close they get to you so in short yes well worth it i have probably covered the next four years money wise on what it cost for the membership



  35. Disappointment

    First of all I don’t think the service provided to you was an accurate example of how CAA operates.
    #1. In my area a member is allowed up to 4 different services on one call. That only counts as 1 call towards your membership. So if you needed a boost and a tire change or just air then that should only be classed as one call.
    Just wondering if the tow truck that showed up was the standard CAA blue & white truck? or was it some other colour with just a CAA sticker?

    #2. damage does happen when towing or doing the work that I do. In 4 years I have 3 damage bills. two were for broken windshields while unlocking Jeep TJ’s. The tool I used slipped and chipped the winshield. The last bill was for a broken lock nut (Special nut to keep people from stealing your tires)
    The windshields were my fault and I had no problem paying the bill. I also had the member sit in my truck with me while I sent a message through to CAA explaining how to go about the damage claim just to put the member at ease before I drove off.
    As for the lock nut bill. I’m 100% sure I didn’t break it but I ended up paying the bill. As a driver the burden is on me to prove I didn’t cause the damage. In the eyes of CAA the member is right and the driver is wrong unless as a driver we can prove it.

    I won’t deny there are bad drivers but there are also bad members. Members who say the driver caused damage but know all along the damage was done prior to us arriving. The reasoning behind it i.By saying the driver caused the damage the member may not have to pay the bill himself.

  36. I bought a membership last year before driving to NFLD. Yes, I got a free map. I also got discounts at two hotels along the way. I have an older van that has required two tows in the last 6 months. That alone paid for the membership. I wish I had had a membership ealier last year as I locked my keys in my car and that was a $50 charge. Also, there is a life insurance policy built into the package. If your car is newer, then a Canadian Tire basic package is proabably enough, but for those of us with older vehicles, CAA is a must.

  37. We purchased a gold membership last August. In September I used 2 tows in 2 days, with 2 different vehicles. CAA did not give me any problems. Both times a tow truck operator arrived within 45 minutes, both times at rush hour. Several months later I had problems again and needed to use another 2 tows. I was concerned that now our tows were used up. I was advised that I had used my 4 available tows for the year, but my husband was still entitled to his 4. That gives us 8 tows in a year. Well worth the cost of the membership and we will definitely renew. Not sure they want us back though!

  38. I was reading all these replies and frustrations.
    Every year I get the welcome package from CAA giving 1 month free membership, I did read all thier fine print policies and conditions.
    CAA is not worth buying , they have 1 – 3 calls a year.
    I aplied for TD Elite Gold visa with an annual fee of $100
    UNLIMITED roadside assistance calls, 200 km towing
    AND for evry dollar you spent on the card they will give you 2% cash back. So in effect you spend $ 5000 a year ( whitch anybody will do) you will get that annual fee back.
    The best part of their service is if your car broke and you find any tow truck you can hire them and TD will reimburse you.
    My advice to all NEVER EVER BUY the CAA

    • Canadian Capitalist

      @Andrea: Actually, I have the TD Elite Gold Visa now as well. I believe the cash back is 1%.

  39. I had CAA for years, but for me to add my two kids on my car was a little pricey. I signed on with Access roadside assistance, they cover me in Canada and the U.S. The package that I bought covers me ( the member, like CAA) as well as my car. So for less than $100 , I have me, my car, even when my kids are driving, and my motorcycle, so when my 17 year old daughter is out causing me grey hairs with my car, if something happens with the car I know she’ll be ok. What I like about this memberships is the different tow options. 2 tows up to 140 km or 1 tow of 280 km. Plus all the usuall stuff, flat lockout…. plus it covers my motorcycle, as well when I borrow my brothers pick up it’s covered. I think they cover up to 1 ton pick up. So I figure $ 100 divided by 12 months = $8 for sence of security for 3people, 3 vehicles. Let’s me sleep better. I don’t mind paying, as long as I get good service.
    I’ve used them once, had a flat tire on my way to work, in the pouring rain, Tow showed up in15 minutes. I felt sorry for the guy having to change a flat in crappy weather. I told him just tow me to work, I’m only 5 min away, and I’ll change it later when the weather clears. He told me don’t worry about it, it’s what you called me for. Kudo’s to the driver! I called Access back up when he was done and told them about the great job that he did. They told me he would of made more money from the tow.
    So far I’m impressed, unless I just got lucky. I think I’m staying with Access for a while.

  40. I came across this thread by accident and I find it interesting that with all of these responses no one (unless I missed it) has pointed out that if you actually use your CAA roadside assistance they will charge you more for your membership fees. This year I noticed they were charging us more than the stated prices on their website so I called and asked about it and they said that since we had used $400 in services in the given time period they look at (I can’t remember how long – 3 years maybe?), then we had to pay more to renew. Note that all of those services we used were well within the limits of what we were paying for with our Plus membership (for 2 people), and we paid over $100 more in fees than what we apparently cost them in services for the given time frame. I understand they need to make money, but if they say you get X service for Y amount in membership fees, then shouldn’t you actually get that without being penalized for it? Like I said, we didn’t hit our limits (not even close) for any of these services in each given year we used them. I won’t be renewing just on principle, even if I have to pay the same thing for a membership elsewhere.

    I have had CAA for over 14 years and never used their roadside assistance until this year. A CAA truck attended to my home and was to tow my vehicle 28 kilometres to the dealership for a battery change. I followed my vehicle to the dealership, half way to the destination, my Grand Cherokee, began to rock. The metal shoes that he attached to the vehicle, flew off and hit my F150 Truck which was following behind the vehicle. My Jeep Grand Cherokee flipped in the air slamming on his frame and crushing the frame. To my horror the driver of the tow truck dragged my now totalled vehicle over a kilometre before noticing what had occured. The driver of the tow truck had brought his wife and child to work, and appeared annoyed with the occurance. He stated that he guessed “he would not charge me for the tow, seeing as we did not make to our destination.” I would strongly not recommend paying for a service that is very rude, and unprofessional at best.

    • I was a contractor for CAA they are not at all what they tell you. They are the biggest crookedest place you could ever do Business with.they charge your company both ways are highly trips and only give the contractor a quarter of what’s worth.if they run behind its because there trying to feed there fleet and after waiting a long period of time he send contractor and then hey blame it on him and the dispatcher tells the bosses upstairs that it’s the contractors falt so they keep there jobs and screw the contractor. What you do when you need a tow truck you: you pay the bill then you send the bill in the CAA and have them pay the contractor and the money they’re supposed to pay them. That’s how you get your money back Allstate is one of the best road side company that’s out there

  42. Last year I had a battery charged, replaced, tire changed, and car towed (3 different cars). The only issue I had was when my battery needed to be charged it was during a massive storm and it took them 3 hours. The people on the phone were kind of rude too. But all the other times it took less than 30 minutes and the service people were friendly.

    People complain that it’s a waste of money because they don’t use it. Well it’s basically insurance. It’s just incase. I don’t think it costs too much. If you’re a penny pincher, ditch the car!

  43. I managed to lock the house while the car keys were locked inside the car, with the car running. For some reason I had my cell phone on my belt. I spent 90 minutes yesterday standing outside in shoes and no coat waiting for CAA’s person to come and unlock my car. I told them the first time I called I was locked OUTSIDE and it was cold. I called after 45 minutes (they told me they’d be there in 20) and was told it would be another half hour. I again said, “It’s really getting COLD and I am locked out of my house and car and none of the neighbors are home.”

    I’m seriously thinking about switching to something else when renewal time comes. If it hadn’t been a -6C day I, I could have died waiting for their ’20 minutes’. If I’d known it would be almost two hours I’d have gone a few blocks over to the library. When the lock and key person came he was astonished I had been waiting outside in the cold wearing what I was wearing – and said their company had no idea of the situation.

  44. PS My purse and coat were in the locked car while I waited outside, so calling a taxi to go someplace warm was out, and thinking it was only “20 minutes” made me not call a regular locksmith and see if they could come faster.

  45. I just had a terrible experience with CAA, first time my mother needed emergency roadside assistance.

    My mother (a senior citizen, single, in her 60’s … the absolute ideal client for CAA) called CAA because she locked her keys in her car. She was at a community meeting lodge at a private farm residence in the suburbs. She realized she had locked her keys in her car. It was dark, and raining, and she was soon to be alone. She called CAA, who after learning of her location, determined they would not send anyone from CAA to assist her because the “lane” or long private driveway to the meeting lodge that she was located on was not a government maintained road. They offered to send a “fee for service” towing company to assist.

    Her call for assistance was quickly dismissed as “not covered” by CAA. How much else can be determined as “not covered by CAA” by various circumstances, and how well are these known?? What the heck does she pay for, and what’s with the issue around this private driveway???

  46. Wow, sorry for people who had bad experiences, I had nothing but great experiences, I had cars towed 5 times this year , one was towed far, would have cost a bundle, ran out of gas after gas meter malfunctioned, never had a problem with them, they are always fast, 15- 30 mins tops response time. I have CAA PLUS, and for $200 in 2 years, they saved me hundreds, all thoses services I used would have cost at least $750.00. I f you have an older car IT IS WORTH every penny! P.S. Only once has a driver asked to see my ID or CAA card.

  47. Francois, I’d be curious to know if the rate you pay to CAA goes up next time you renew. I too was always happy with their service until they raised our annual rate because we actually used the services we were paying for. Details above at Sept 17 post.

  48. I am surprised they charged you more (sparkyd), this is my third year in a row with them, I never renewed before, and after the first year they wanted a certain price, but the internet promotion was better price , so I canceled my membership and renewed online for less. This last year they automatically renewed it at the same price because I did get the discount for automatic renewal. But if they raise my price I will just cancel and renew online again at the current promotional price. My membership is up FEB 15, 2011. I will let you all know what happens!

  49. Most of the time, roadside assistance calls from others, who do you think does it ?

    CAA !

  50. In response to the gentleman who said Canadian Tire wrecks cars during thier oil changes, I did have one incident happen where something went wrong with the oil change. The store took complete blame, paid for all the damages, repaired the problem free of charge and did another oil change. Im happy with thier services 🙂

  51. If I could share my experience with one Canadian Tire shop. I had brought my car in for a repair to a brake cylinder that I had already found leaking. I called the shop to see if it could be done and how much. The rep on the on the phone told me the price and told me to bring it in as they could take care of it right away. I left my phone number and to call me when it was done as it would be an hour for the repair. We left on foot and went for dinner at a near by restaurant. We returned an hour later ( on our own. no phone call ) to find out that the repair was not done. We were told that they did not have the part but still had the nerve to charge me $49.99 plus tax. I questioned what am I being charged for? Well. . . the mechanic had to diagnose the problem. I told the NO ,I FOUND THE PROBLEM. ! I called you to see if you could fix it. YOUR rep said yes. He told me dosen’t matter you still have to pay for the mechanics time. I WILL NEVER EVER TAKE MY CAR THEIR AGAIN ! ! ! ! ! ! That was the second time they ripped me off. And the only thing head office said to me was. Next time you’re in we’ll give you a free oil change.
    Thanks, but No thanks ! !
    It’s called CRAPPY TIRE for a reason ! ! !

  52. TD Gold Elite Visa (2 cards) with Auto Club and 1% cashback is cheaper than CAA (2 members) and the benefits are more generous as well. Haven’t used TD Auto Club yet, but expect the service to be the same.(fingers crossed…)

  53. I have a little used AMA membership that I have thought about dropping.. I travel a lot in the USA and have looked at it as some insurance on the road. However I think I’ll look a little harder at options.

    I kind of object to the advocacy role that the ” high priced suits” at AMA have carved out for themselves. They would like to see seniors tested frequently and that’s OK but what about the inexperienced who are not being properly trained (should also include some “experienced”) . I don’t want to be paying for this ineffective lobby by high priced people.

    Guess that’s my other reason for looking around.

  54. @sparkyd: Very interesting point you make here. I revisited this topic after many years and it looks like you are right. Here’s the quote from their brochure:


    “CAA membership dues are adjusted annually and take into account the cost of providing emergency roadside assistance and other CAA services including TourBooks, maps and TripTiks utilized by the
    member. After all, CAA membership dues pay for all of the CAA’s services.”

    This leads me to conclude that almost everyone will be better off to self-insure rather than pay CAA. Since you are the only one who has even brought this up, it leads me to conclude that most people do not use up the services they are paying for.

  55. I decided not to renew CAA membership due to gradual price increases and the useless magazine. Was just about to join Canadian Tire auto club when I noticed that a Premium Visa card $99./year comes with auto club service. I discovered that; they don’t cover only one vehicle like Can tire, but cover two vehicles. they don’t just cover one driver but cover you and your spouse. the number of tows per year (up to 200 k.m). is unlimited. On top of that you earn 1% of every purchase back, you’re covered for vacation interuption when traveling and your purchases are covered for 90 days if lost or stolen and warranties on purchases are doubled in length. With all these benefits, I signed up for the Visa gold elite card.

  56. Lande and Josephinia

    Yesterday- just past the Banff National Park (pay) Gate, we ran out of gas. We ALWAYS check the gas before we go- except this time:)….and we never ever ever thought WE would be the “losers” who run out of gas.

    Well……we did….and 30 minutes later we were back on our way, because Alberta Motor Association (with our RV Plus Premium membership card) came via Standish Towing in Banff (bless them…) came to our rescue.

    Please note- NO ONE, NOT A ONE stopped to ask if we needed help- and about 100 cars had just come whizzing through the Banff National Park Gate 1 km ago. We were lucky we were not in a out of the way place.

    AMA came through. Also, we have gotten maps and trip planners, airline tickets, hotel reservations, discounted movie tickets, and PLEASANT SERVICE FROM THE ANNUAL CAR REGISTRATION & PASSPORT PHOTOS DESKS (as opposed to contracted out “for hire” individuals taking our personal information ….if you get our drift…).

    And when we are on holidays, it does feel comforting to know a reputable travel agency is actually behind us.

    So, if one does not need these types of thing, don’t bother. But that’s the trouble with life, you never really do know when you will run out of gas on the side of the road :)….:)….;)……..

    We use the membership

  57. Its funny, and an old article i know, but my wife and i keep our membership active. Not because of the car service, but because of the extra perks.

    We save 5% on groceries at the local shop we go to. Thats abotu 200 a year. Not to mention the Irving’s near use give you 0.02/litre in “caa bucks” (not that it’s a lot, but we have bought movie tickets with that too).

    the caa membership is less than the grocery savings, so if anything ever happens to the car (flat etc) its an added bonus.

    i would advise anyone who is a member to look at the benefits brochure.. we were SHOCKED at some places with discounts.

  58. Any membership (like most things in life) is what you make of it.

    My husband and I are longtime CAA members, including coverage for our camper van most recently. We get stacks of excellent road maps for the many states and provinces we’ve driven to and through, about every couple of years. Tourbooks and Campbooks for those same states and provinces and occasionally Triptiks to help plan our road trips and avoid or at least know about highway construction and detours.

    We’ve bought packages of discount movie tickets numerous times, as well as for the ROM in Toronto and discount admission to Universal Studios in California. Our travel insurance is provided by them every time we travel, and yes, over the years we’ve received some boosts, help with a locked car, a tow or two and their new battery replacement service. We’ve used their master mechanic assessments on more than one used car. And yes, CAA rates at hotels when it’s late and we’re too tired to haggle or shop around.

    We happily take advantage of making purchases that earn us “CAA dollars” to reduce the cost of our membership further. Oh, and did you know they also advocate on car and driver-related issues? If you’re not going to actually use the benefits of membership then don’t buy it. But if you do buy it, and actually increase your use of its benefits, you’re unlikely to feel you’ve wasted your money.

  59. We recently had a terrible experience with CAA. This was the first time we have ever used our membership but our car wouldnt start and we were in a small city close to our home. After the initial call, some arrived about 1 hr later and tried to get it started but with no success and so the driver phoned dispatch and requested a tow truck (something which I had suggested in the first place).
    1hr and 45 minutes later, I called back to see what was happening. They assured me that a tow truck was on its way and would arrive in approx 10 minutes. Another 1hr and 15min, I called back again and was told they did not know when someone would arrive. 30 minutes later, I called and was told that a truck was defintely on its way and it would be there in 40min. 50 minues later, I called back only to be told that a truck would not be there for another 1.5 hours. By this time, we had been waiting in the heat for 5 hours! We said forget and called a regular company which arrived in 20 minutes and everything was taken care of.

    The message there is that unless you are at home or office and can afford to wait around for hours, it is best not to get this service as it is unreliable and the phone operators actually have no idea what is going on. The contracted operators simply do what they want. If you are not in a convenient place for them to make the most money that they can, then they ignore you.

  60. AAA, CAA, BCAA is an insurance based system which is in business to make money…period. I don’t know if they are better or worse (or somewhere in the middle) than other company’s offering similar service. I have them mostly to give my wife comfort. When I’m away and she has car issues, there’s a number to call. But as mentioned by others, you better have lots of time available for a response. They offer other insurances as well and while somewhat competitive, I’ve recently had an ugly home insurance issue dealing with them and will go elsewhere next year. I would recommend everyone stay away from them. My 2 cents for what it’s worth.

  61. I can see no good reason to use CAA. Google maps and a GPS today provide much better info. Travellers cheques are difficult to use and having travelled extensively (14 countries in last 5 years) I have never used them. Most places won’t even accept them and those that do might even charge up to 10% (Australian hotel last year).
    As you say, if you need a boost (I carry cables) others will too and the wait is annoying.
    I cancelled CAA over 30 years ago and needed a boost once in that time. My cables did the trick with a friend’s car in 10 minutes.

  62. This post keeps chugging along so I’ll add my recent experience. Wife took the kids to her parents’ home and once there discovered a hissing sound from a tire. I told her to call the service provided with our TD gold elite visa. They estimated 45 min to arrive and got there in 30 min. In under an hour, she had a spare tire on. It was in Richmond, BC so I’m sure if it was not a large populated area it would’ve taken longer. We have never used it before in the 5 years we’ve had the service but its part of our visa so we don’t feel like we’re paying for it unless you count the opportunity cost on the money we need to keep in our chq account to get the visa fee waived.

  63. So, has anyone else been with Access Roadside? what has your experience been like? They’re way cheaper than CAA and I see the value in having some sort of roadside plan, so I’m thinking of joining them.

  64. I’m fortunate that I haven’t had any recent vehicle breakdowns recently except for one, but I still believe that CAA or AMA is a waste of money for the most part. As stated earlier, the card holder would have to be there with the disabled car and have identification unless other arrangements can be made. For me, I would like to be entitled to 5 service calls no matter if it is for my car or a friend or girlfriend etc., but the car clubs also know that it is to their advantage when all of the service calls are not used. Although a disabled car is an inconvenience, I would most likely wait for the car to get disabled and then call to to get a membership. After you get the membership, call the following day to get your car towed or repaired so that you know that the membership will be paying for itself. The reason I would say make a service call the following day is because they don’t seem to allow a service call the same day that a membership is activated, but if you call the following day, they have the burden of proving that your vehicle was disabled when you purchased the membership.

    In the meantime, save your money for looking after the maintenance of your vehicle and possibly buy (for $100 – $150) and keep a powerpack charged up so that you can use that in the case that you or someone you know ends up having a drained or dead battery.

  65. I liked having CAA when I had my 18 year old car & stayed & traveled to ski resorts a 100 plus kilimeters to the closest service station in the middle of winter.

  66. Definitely worth it. When you need it the most its there. Maybe it happens once every two years but it pays for itself. But if you are paying for it I would say your paying too much. Just by filling up at Husky/Mohawk gas stations this year I paid for a premiere RV membership essentially for free. The card saved my bacon twice in two years. Transmission failure last year, deer collision this year. Looking at the savings I had in hotel, rental car and towing between the two incidents the card would have paid for itself twice or more.

    What I really want to know is if claims on the auto insurance are less hassle than ICBC? If not less at least not more hassle?

  67. As a Tow truck driver in Alberta, I see a lot of people in need. I’ve serviced AMA members that haven’t used the roadside portion of their membership before. I wonder how much money they have spent on membership dues over the years, only to require a simple lockout or boost. The big problem is that when it gets cold out- AMA goes into “code red” and the member waits for h o u r s for service-what a joke. When you need them-they are busy.

  68. I have had CAA for now 15yrs never had to use then other than discounts Hotels,Airport Parking Maps,etc. I feel that it is worthwhile Insurance at least makes me feel at ease while teaveling.

  69. I’m planning on getting a membership with CAA but just to make clear of everything, The road service they give you is up to 4 calls for towing services for that certain amount of km, but for all the other road side services say if your battery dies & you used up all 4 calls for the year they can’t reject their service because the call limit is only for towing right?

  70. @ Mike,

    they told me it was 4 Calls, not 4 tows, no matter what they come out for, it’s 1 call each time they come

    I had CAA for a long time, but no longer need it as I got another service with an extended warranty

  71. but you know on their website where they give you the plans for each. beside the towing services it’s in brackets (up to 4 calls)
    but other listed road side assistance they don’t state a limitation for them such as battery assist, flat-tire etc. so i’m just wondering if it’s in total that you can only call them 4 times/year or if that’s just specifically for towing services

  72. Mike

    As an ex CAA driver I can tell you it’s 4 call total no matter why you called

    I can also tell you if you need more then 1 service at the same time the driver can’t charge you more then 1 call.

    So lets say you locked your keys in the car with the lights on and the battery dies. The driver will unlock your car and give you a boost on one service call.

    If the driver refuses call CAA and put in a complaint and demand you only get charged once or not at all due to treatment

  73. I have used them many times in NS and have always got great service. My wife hit the curb and broke the windshield washer tank, she did not know what the fluid was so she called CAA. The driver was on time and told her she could drive the car since it was washer fluid, she refused and he politely towed her as she wished. Next the transmission cooler line started leaking one month later, again CAA was on time, no questions asks. After the car was out of the shop for the transmission line, it seems the mechanic broke a hose clamp on the radiator and the next day we had to be towed again. No questions asked. My co-worker has issues with a random stall in his new truck, he got towed 4 times until the issue was fixed. Another friend had issues with his new Accord quiting randomly, he got towed three times in a month, no questions asked. New or old, you never know what can happen. Funny though, my dad had a 1981 Malibu with a 4.4 L V8, 375,000 km and never had to be towed ..!!!!

  74. I think most people buy membership because of fear, they don’t know who to call for help and they may get rip of by some tow truck driver. i cancelled my membership since i know this roadside assistant company that can get me help fast at a very good rate anywhere in Ontario. CAA don’t pay their driver like we do, because they get volume discount from the towing companies. This company i think is called NearestTowtTruck.com, they dispatch the nearest tow truck to us base on GPS coordinate among hundreds of tow trucks. I think NearestTowTruck get a cut from the towing company for the call but their rate is still better than calling the towing company directly. The driver were telling me when he get call from NearestTowtruck they don’t need to travel far and can provide the service for less. You get the best rate and the truck come very quick. They have a funny phone number and i can’t forget it is 1888 90TOWME.

  75. I have found CAA people to be very courtious and helpful BUT as a senior I get the same discounts for hotels and travel as CAA provides including movies and meals and cannot combine the discounts with caa and the seniors – therefore I am also contemplating not renewing my membership. I’ve never used roadside and keep a cell phone handy so – $75 – 100 a year membership(after a year or two) will certainly pay for a tow down the “road” – like the pun? We’ll see what the future brings – probably less income and higher membership cost.
    Graham C

  76. Feb 15th 2012.
    I have used BCAA for years, and now AMA (Alberta). While living in BC I always had used cars, and with the break downs, running out of gas, locking my keys in my car or friends car, the membership more than paid for itself. Now in Alberta, having purchased my first new car, didn’t need the memebership until year 6 (of my car) when I had two flat tires on different occassions. Had the tires fixed for free at Kal-Tire (yes they do it free), I felt the CAA membership as a whole, gave me peace of mind, and I can’t put a price on that.
    I have the Premiere Card, which is now $143 a year (2012), and it gives me a few extra nice features above the Plus card. Now, will I use that much in services? Perhaps not, but you never know since my new car is now a used car! I might need it when I’m driving my car, or a rental, or a friend’s car, but in the back of my mind, I have peace of mind. As a side note, I also use other services like cheaper movie tickets and so forth. In closing, that is why I will always have CAA for as long as I am privileged to have a driver’s license.

  77. I am a Canadian and used to be a member of CAA for years and found the service unsatisfactory. The tows were always in km (far less that their US counterpart), the wait times were far too long, and a lot of the attitude at the CAA stores was bad. I got browbeat several times for getting maps for trips that I already had for different trips. For instance, I got a triptik for Florida with all the maps and books. My next request 6 months later) for a triptik to St Louis required I get several of the same books (which I no longer had). The CAA rep suggested I go home and find them as she would not give them to me. I called corporate to complain and they had no choice and gave them to me with no apology. CAA will no longer do free passport photos!!! How cheap is that?
    A couple years ago, I transferred my CAA Plus to AAA Premium in Florida. AAA Premium gives way more that CAA Plus and costs less!!! Never had any issues with triptiks, books, or passport photos (they are free). Just like a lot of Canadian business, CAA has turned into a second rate offshoot of its American counterpart, and the employees have anger & entitlement issues. It’s not a wonder that a lot of Canadians are now using AAA instead of CAA.

  78. We’ve had CAA for years. I always found it reassuring to have – it’s like insurance. However our last couple of experiences have not been so good. A couple of years ago my battery died so I called CAA to replace it. The guy who replaced it ended up doing some other damage that required more work by my mechanic.

    Our most recent call was Friday when my husbands car lost power on the 401 (Ontario). The tow arrived 30 minutes after the call and brought him to the dealer. The repair was under warranty so we should have been clear – except when we took the car home we noticed the tires didn’t feel right. Sure enough the tow driver did not secure the car properly and ruined our two back tires. $400 it cost to replace!

    So far CAA has been defensive and not helpful. They are coming out to inspect the tires but I am doubtful they will compensate.

  79. I have Access Roadside. I’ll never get them again…I called at 9:48 to get my truck towed, the basic plan only covers 7 km (perfect if you break down close to a shop), and it’s now 12:16 and still no tow.

    I’ll be getting BCAA next time.

  80. We have been CAA members for over 20 years but will probably cancel – why? Times have changed – what we needed before like maps are no longer necessary due to the many GPS, or internet or other great maps -passport photos – used to be free but are no longer, but the biggest two problems are the increase in costs – almost $150 for CAA Plus RV whereas Good Sam is $112 after the first year of $80 and they tow unlimited distances not only 200 km, or Coach-Net which is $100 for the same unlimited towing plus one gets technical advise, etc.

    Some of the other minor ‘perks’ with CAA like discounts are only worthwhile if you actually use them and if you are a senior they really do not mean much.

    Yes, most of us – especially those with RVs who travel a lot really need roadside assistance, but at a decent price and with more than 200 km towing.

  81. We bought CAA RV Plus when we bought our trailer, but this year we are switching to Good Sam Roadside Assistance for the following reasons:

    If you ever tow anything, Good Sam covers all your vehicles (including trailers) plus every member of your family without additional charge; you don’t have to pay any fees up front; there is no limit on the towing distance; and it costs less than CAA’s RV Plus.

    It is also worth mentioning that a Good Sam membership gets you preferred hotel rates which are usually the same as the CAA rate, and if you do any camping, you get discounted rates at many private campgrounds.

    FYI, if Good Sam is not for you, check with your auto insurance company: many now offer roadside assistance as part of your coverage at no additional charge.

  82. I have stopped my CAA membership. I used it primarily for boosts: BUT CAA started sending out little trucks with battery powered chargers that didn’t have enough oomph to boost my battery and get me started. I had to tell the CAA operator each time not to bother with the little guys and send out a tow truck.

    It wasn’t worth it. I bought a battery charger with a special boost setting that lets me start up my engine if I have drained the battery by leaving my lights on etc. I keep it in my car, with a VERY VERY long extension cord. The battery charger cost me $49.00 at Canadian Tire.

    The one time I actually needed a long distance tow, the CCA service a) had signed off for 2 hours over dinner (on a long weekend) and b) was three hours late arriving (probably had to let the beer wear off).

    Then a bought a car and the extended warranty provided a roadside service with $20 of free gas.

    So, no CAA for me.

  83. Can you get tickets for Marineland for reduced prices if you are a CAA member and if so how much cheaper are they?

  84. For seniors, a very good deal is the AARP (Am Association of Retired Persons) Roadside Assistance program operated by Allstate. It operates throughout Canada and the USA. Because I live in rural Ontario, if I need a tow, I need a long tow back home, not to the nearest repair facility. The Premier service costs $81 per year for a couple, covers any vehicle, including a vehicle not owned by you, in which you are a passenger or driver. You must be a member of the AARP but that is only $17 p.a. and has lots of other benefits. The last time I used the Roadside Assistance, my pickup was carried 90 km back to my local garage and we were taken home. Waiting time was very short.

  85. If you have a new car that normally comes with roadside assistance you won’t get good value from a CAA membership. Since I always buy used cars that will obviously break down more than new cars I have made use of many roadside service calls. Some have just been for dead batteries and a few times needed a tow for breakdowns on the road. Recently had an incident where keys got locked in the trunk of a rental convertible – with no way to open the trunk without a key. Had the car towed 200km to the nearest rental car office by CAA, in total it took the tow driver six hours to get to where the car was, load it and drive it back to the rental car office. I shudder to think how much that tow would have cost out of pocket. Last year I upgraded to CAA plus so I can get free tows up to 200km – and I rarely driver further from home than that distance – so I like knowing that even if my car breaks down a long way from home I can get towed back to a garage close to home without worrying about the cost. If I add up all my CAA membership payments over the years it is possible I may have only broken even from what my out of pocket expenses would have been for the same services, but I think the membership is worth it for the peace of mind. If you are broken down beside a busy highway you may not have the presence of mind to be able to shop around or bargain with the tow truck driver on the scene to make sure you are not going to be ripped off.

  86. We have been CAA associates for over 20 decades but will probably terminate – why? Periods have modified – what we required before like charts will necessary due to the many GPS, or online or other excellent charts -passport images – used to be no cost but will, but the greatest two issues are the improve in expenses – almost $150 for CAA Plus RV whereas Excellent Sam is $112 after the first season of $80 and they tow endless ranges not only 200 km, or Coach-Net which is $100 for the same endless hauling plus one gets specialized recommend, etc.

  87. how is rating for caa, my car is 9 years old but very low km, what shall I join CAa

  88. Ivebeen a gold member for 30 years. i got notification that because i had been with them for 30 years they wanted to gove me a free gift. i called and said what gift i wanted. did this on dec 15, 2012; its jan 11th! m make

  89. I see people here are paying way, whereas here in Edmonton AMA charge me $150 to renew for year and $110 for first year to new members. I guess next year I will look for plus membership of credit cards with roadside assistance.

  90. Well a year or more ago I said I was seriously considering canceling CAA after about 20 years. Things have changed. I received a CAA offer for an vehicle insurance quote and took it – plus a $25 free gift card. WOW what a change. I had been with State Farm for about 30 years and was paying $1,500 (no claims) and CAA for exactly the same coverage (including a $50 fee for first at fault accident forgiveness no increase in premiums) was about $850. Even my State Farm agent said I should switch given they had suffered huge losses the last few years. I also switched our home insurance (not much of a difference in either rates) as it also reduced our vehicle insurance by $50.

  91. I have been purchasing BCAA RV insurance for the past 3 years and while taking a trip to Idaho my 40′ motor home’s alternator died on the side of the highway. I can tell you that if I would have had to pay towing fees for my motor home and 20′ car hauler trailer I would have had to cut my travels short on what it would have cost me to get my rig towed to a service facility. The insurance is for when the big things happen like with me. It can also pay if you have an older unreliable vehicle and need boosts a few times a year. You always take a chance on whether your insurance is a good investment. I would rather pay a few dollars for nothing than a lot of dollars for something I could have had insurance to cover.

  92. We have been members for over 30 years and currently paying $163 as husband and wife to be a member and associate one being the Plus coverage and the other basic. For the first time we need a tow truck to tow a 6 month old vehicle that wont start to the dealership. Because of the heavy demand in Calgary due to weather we are being told the best they can do is up to 72 hours!. We are seriously considering cancelling our membership because that’s awful response. That and the fact that passport photos are cheaper at Costco and that some of the maps now are either no longer available or at cost have us wondering what services help us! At 25 years service we go a nice decal for our car but that’s it for being a long time member and now when we need a tow truck it would be quicker to push it the 20 kms to the dealership!!! Hard to give it up because you think its like insurance but if you cant actually use the service when you need it because of demand what’s the point….
    My only other tip is be careful thinking that the manufacturer emergency coverage will be any better . In the case of Volkswagen when you call you are actually getting the same AMA system. I believe all they do in contract the service to them (in Alberta at least).

  93. I have been a long term CAA customer but after ongoing poor customer service and not getting a reasonable response time enough is enough. This past winter calls took days and the call centre’s did not know how to manage true emergencies. Truly a nightmare-there are many options for roadside assistance and CAA does not offer the best nor the most economical service. Beware consumers as CAA has begun a campaign to give us all discounts through a telephone campaign as they loss more and more customers after being unable to provide necessary services during the winter months. They cannot provide the service they are selling and should be investigated for this fraudulent offering.

  94. its totally depend on situation . if we stuck in bad situation then we can understand . tow is really expensive .
    I have Canadian tire road side assistance since 2010
    Canadian tire is really worth full. every year I use coupon for oil change 3 to 4 times .then I have peace of mind regarding tow ,one free oil change 4 discount coupon , locked service , oil service and battery boost .
    if we calculate oil change price its worth full .

  95. I’ve bought BCAA coverage for 40 yrs on a variety of vehicles. I dont believe I ever got through one year without SOME use of the service. The drivers have been uniformly excellent and have gone beyond the call of duty more than once. HOWEVER….

    Yesterday I had to call for a battery boost cuz my truck has been sitting in the driveway for 4 months with its 5 yr old battreries finally refusing to turn the diesel over
    Things seem to have changed at BCAA.
    1/ I didnt get a BCAA truck I got a Payless towing truck who had another car on his hook. He did boost me, but didnt check the batteries, as they should, to see if they can sell you new ones. I DO need new ones but that wasnt offered.
    The dispatch at BCAA ( in Vancouver ) used to be really fast. You never waited on the dispatcher at all and the truck usually arrived within 40 minutes.

    Yesterday it took a good 15 minutes to get through the phone system to a dispatcher, and then at least an hour for the truck to arrive and boost me.

    There is one other point to notice if you dirve a dually. Your basic membership will not get a flat dually changed out.
    I have a truck camper, and I carry the RV version of BCAA.. THat does get a dually changed, but as I found in Drumheller, ALberta, the contractor may tell you they wont change a dually. YOu have to insist thta tyou have the correct coverage. In the end, they did change the dually, but the contractor(Kal Tire) who did it had to drive 45 minutes from another town. I am very glad I didnt have to pay THAT bill. 1.5 hrs travel time. Plus he had to take a crowbar to the wheels as each half of the dually wheels were rusted together. I truly couldnt have changed it myself.

    I renewed.

  96. I generally have had a CAA membership for years and this time it came to an end.

    One of my Volvos needed a new battery so I purchased it through CAA at a cost of $175. A couple of years later it did not keep a charge any more. I was to drop off my grand child to the daycare so I had a temporary battery installed by my mechanic. When I called CAA to come and check the battery, which was on the sidewalk< they would not honour the battery any more as they deemed it to be tampered with.

    The technician tried to charge the battery but it was below the charging capability.

    I was totally teed off after having this Company "service: me for years. No more CAA. My membership dues for me and my son were $294 per year and the retail cost of the battery only #175. You do the math.

    I'm in business for myself as as the adage goes: it;s always harder to get a new client as opposed to servicing your existing client.

    They lost me.

  97. I stopped subscribing to CAA when they switched over to small portable battery chargers and sending out salespeople who were not in tow trucks (Toronto GTA). The small battery chargers wouldn’t charge my car. I would have to wait and wait until a tow truck with proper charging was sent. The salespeople who were sent knew nothing about cars. I was very disappointed. I bought a battery charger with a quick charge for my garage. Roadside assistance is non-existant outside Toronto. I had to wait over 5 hours (with two kids and two dogs) in a farm while the local CAA person finished supper or whatever. One of my car manufacturers had their own road assistance that included 5 gallons of free gas. CAA no longer offers the most basic simple services.

  98. Best thing I ever had. Wish I could afford to renew. I had an older car and used all five free service calls within about 3 months for flat tires, dead battery and towing. When you don’t have much money, you can’t afford to pay for service calls if something happens to your car.

  99. I like the peace of mind. I’m rather prepared in general but when you need it its usually something you’re not prepared for. aside from locking keys in car every couple of years ive used it a few times for dead batteries. one time it died right after my friend finished stuffing her entire life’s possessions into it. (i was moving her) At times like that the convenience is worth every penny. Another time my car broke down in the Mangamuka gorge in new zealand. It was dark, i had very little cell reception, and it was late. the road service in new zealand worked really hard to find me (i was deep in these ranges) but they did and when i was towed to kaitia the driver tried to help me find a place to stay. Everything was closed so he made sure i was locked safely in my car by the service shop. I was very pleased to find out that the tow was covered by my BCAA membership.

  100. We maintain the basic service. We live about 25 minutes away from the city where we work in and where our children go to school. While I know how to change a flat tire I find that the bolts are often power bolted on by our mechanic and loosening them all is very difficult. I have used the CAA service each of the 3 years we have had it. Also used it to get hotel discounts and some other perks.

  101. I am a Plus Member, recently called CAA for a battery replacement, and was refused because it was too cold.
    Battery Assist only boosting vehicles today.
    The one day I need CAA they refuse me. What BS!

  102. Definitely not worth it! I purchased a CAA membership so that I would have roadside assistance when I needed it. When my battery died on a Sunday, I called CAA and they told me that they couldn’t help me because I didn’t live in the city. They only do battery delivery in the city. I asked if the people in the city pay more than people in rural areas, and they said “no”. When I said that if I paid the same fee then I should get the same benefits, I was basically told “that’s just the way it is … it wouldn’t be practical to provide this service to rural areas”. So, my poor husband who has had two hip replacements, appendicitis and knee surgery all within the past two years, had to come rescue me, take me to work, go pick up a new battery, and install it, out in the cold. I purchased CAA so my poor husband wouldn’t have to do all this while recovering from all these surgeries! Will I be renewing my CAA membership? What do you think?

  103. I had my membership for the last 20 years or so, having had one in AB and then in BC. I’ve noticed the quality of services decline (at least in BC) as well as the waits, either in person or over the phone. The quality of customer service in BC is deplorable, on the phone or in person, while the service in Alberta is excellent. While I was recently with my mom there (who has a 30+ membership) the service was so exemplary that I even wrote the branch manager to commend those we delt with. It seems you are a burden on them when you call in here in BC, and they even said they would not cancel my membership when I recently called in. I was dumbfounded when they explained they wouldn’t cancel a membership that has used their services in the past year. After pressing, they finally (FINALLY) explained they will not partially REFUND any membership that has used their services in the past year. It was my fault that I wasn’t aware of that. I’m done with their arrogance and can find my assistance elsewhere happily. They can keep whatever $ they took from me and I will chalk it up to a life lesson.

  104. The membership fee is 100% worth it.
    AMA has the best Customer Service I’ve ever received. Worth every single penny and always will be!

  105. CAA has the worst costumer service system i have ever had the displeasure of dealing with. I had my son removed from my insurance and they canceled my complete coverage and did not inform me.Then trying to get my policy back was a nightmare. The wait times to even speak to a person is insane! Let alone the endless menu’s you have to go through to be put on endless hold. Worst service EVER! I have since changed all polices to a local firm for better rates and amazing customer service. Run as fast as you can from CAA. Loyalty does not mean a thing to this company.

  106. my 75 year old dad who is on a pension had to buy a new car because his car died. He had just renewed mid-June. He had to by a car at the end of July which came with a 3 year road side assistance. My dad has been a loyal customer since 1989 and barely used their services. Think about it, he pays approx $100 a year for 16 years and maybe had assistance 3 times. Do you know they would not offer him a partial refund? Instead insisting how much better their services are than the manufacturer’s Road side assistance!? He was past the cancellation period by two weeks. He would have gladly signed up again after the 3 year period!!! This is very poor customer relations! Guess who will be losing a 16 year customer?!? If you spend $1600 and only use about $300 of service, I guess it’s not really a useful service… Too bad they had to make us angry and make us analyze how valuable this membership really is!