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AAA Auto Insurance Review 2021

AAA auto insurance is generally only available to members, but the perks and discounts might make joining worth it.
May 21, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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  • Available insurance products depend on your state or region.
  • Financial strength is “excellent” or better for groups we looked at.
  • Generally requires AAA club membership, which comes with perks.

AAA auto insurance comes from separate, regional insurance companies that operate under similar names and logos. AAA club membership works the same way, and you would likely need to become a member of your regional club to get the auto insurance. That comes with a fee, but the resulting discount on your auto insurance may just make it worth it.

AAA auto insurance

NerdWallet looked at the three largest AAA auto insurance companies by market share in the U.S.

AAA Auto insurerNerdWallet rating
Auto Club of SoCal
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Automobile Club Group
4.0 NerdWallet rating
CSAA Insurance Group
3.5 NerdWallet rating

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account pricing and discounts, ease of filing a claim, website transparency, financial strength, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and more.

Largest AAA auto insurance companies availability

AAA Auto insurer
Availability*
*Insurer may not cover all counties in each state.
Auto Club of SoCal
AL, AR, CA, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MS, MO, NH, NM, OH, PA, TX, VA, VT, WV
Automobile Club Group 
FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, NC, ND, NE, SC, TN, WI
CSAA Insurance Group
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, ID, IN, KS, KY, MD, MT, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, UT, VA, WV, WY

To see specific counties in California served by CSAA Insurance Group and Auto Club of SoCal, see our Best Cheap Auto Insurance in California page. If there’s no AAA insurer serving your area, but you’re a member, your local club has a partner that can provide coverage.

Common types of car insurance coverage

When you’re shopping for car insurance, it’s important to understand what car insurance coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. Most states require car insurance to drive a vehicle, although minimum coverage requirements vary from state to state. This generally includes liability insurance and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

If you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Full coverage isn’t a specific policy you can buy, but rather a combination of coverage types like liability, collision and comprehensive insurance.

Check out the most common types of car insurance coverage below to see how they work:

Coverage typeWhat it pays forRequired?
Bodily injury and property damage liabilityCosts for injuries, deaths or property damage from an accident you caused.Typically required.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverageMedical and property damage costs after an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance or none at all.Often required.
Collision coverageRepair expenses from traffic-related accidents, regardless of who's at fault.A car loan or lease may require it.
Comprehensive coverageRepair costs from events outside your control — including weather events, hitting an animal while driving, theft and vandalism.A car loan or lease may require it.

AAA auto insurance coverage options and discounts

Since AAA insurance comes from separate companies operating in many states, coverage options will depend on where you live. All insurers are required to offer state-mandated coverage where they operate. Most, including the three AAA affiliates we reviewed, also offer uninsured motorist protection, medical payments coverage, rental car reimbursement, comprehensive coverage and collision coverage.

Also ask about the following coverages, which at least some AAA companies offer:

  • Gap insurance, which pays the difference between your car’s value and the balance of your loan or lease if the car is totaled or stolen
  • OEM exterior repair coverage, which pays for original equipment manufacturer parts for covered external body repairs.
  • New car replacement, which pays for a vehicle one to two years newer if your own car is totaled.
  • Rideshare insurance, which covers you during the period between rides, so you’re always covered during your rideshare job. Typical insurance from ridesharing companies only covers the period between accepting a ride and dropping off a customer.
  • Custom equipment coverage, which pays to repair items installed after purchase, like stereos, cameras or rims, if you’re in a covered crash.

AAA’s auto insurance discounts:

Most customers with AAA auto insurance receive a discount for being a member of the motor club. Some AAA insurers also offer typical discounts that include:

  • Education or occupation discount.
  • Anti-theft device discount on comprehensive coverage for approved theft prevention devices.
  • Loyalty discount.
  • Safe driver discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • New young driver discount.
  • Student away from home discount.
  • Discount for completing a driver training course.
  • Multiple-car discount.
  • Multiple-policy discount.
  • Discount for paying premium in full.
  • Discount for paying electronically and having automatic payments.

» MORE: Discount car insurance: Your guide to getting the best price

AAAdrive is a feature on the AAA app that looks at driving factors like speed, mobile phone distraction, time of day you drive and fatigue. Members receive a discount based on their driving habits in addition to a discount for signing up.

Like most insurers, AAA’s insurance companies offer many discounts, but they differ by state and company, so check with your local AAA club to see which are available to you.

» MORE: Car insurance quotes: What you need to know

AAA auto insurance complaints and customer satisfaction

NerdWallet looked at consumer complaint data for the three AAA auto insurance companies listed above and their subsidiaries.

Of the three AAA insurance companies we analyzed, Automobile Club Group had the fewest complaints to state regulators relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Auto Club of SoCal also had fewer complaints than the expected for auto insurance, while CSAA Insurance Group had close to the expected.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, Auto Club of SoCal was rated below average, while Auto Club Group and CSAA Insurance Group were rated above average.

In J.D. Power’s most recent Auto Insurance Claims Study, Auto Club of SoCal, CSAA Insurance Group and Auto Club Group were rated below average for claims satisfaction.

More about AAA auto insurance

In addition to auto insurance, these AAA insurers offer life, home and renters insurance, and other AAA partner insurers may, too.

» MORE: AAA life insurance review

Website: When you go to AAA.com, you’re prompted to enter your ZIP code and redirected to your local chapter’s website. At that point, you can learn more about membership and insurance products, or you can find contact information for a local agent or representative to answer your questions.

Mobile apps: The Auto Club of SoCal insurance group and Automobile Club Group have an app you can use to manage your policy and AAA membership in one place — as long as you belong to a club served by that AAA insurer. The Automobile Club Group app is available in all states insurance is provided except for North and South Carolina, which has a simplified version of the app (full integration to happen later this year).  Otherwise, AAA’s apps are restricted to membership needs like paying bills or summoning roadside assistance and include AAAdrive.

Auto insurance buying guide

Before you compare car insurance companies, you’ll need to collect basic information, such as the driving history of everyone on the policy and facts about your car, including safety features and annual mileage driven. You’ll also want to understand which types of coverage you need. For example, do you want only the bare minimum insurance that your state requires, or do you need more extensive coverage, such as gap insurance or rideshare coverage? Check that each company you’re considering has the options you want.

When comparing rates among insurers, make sure each is offering the same coverage limits and deductibles. You may not want to decide based on price alone. Look at how many consumer complaints each company has, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service you might receive.

Depending on which company you choose, you may be able to buy insurance online, over the phone or through an agent. For more guidance, see how to get car insurance.

Recap: AAA Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Generally receive an auto insurance discount for being a member of AAAInsurance products differ depending on where you live
Multiple insurance products offeredRequires AAA membership
Insurance company may not transfer if you move states

Auto insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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