Good Sam vs AAA: Which is Better for Your Needs?

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Like many other kinds of insurance, roadside assistance is something you hope you’ll never need, but when you do, it’s worth every penny you invested in it. Most people understand the value of roadside assistance, but many may not realize how much your roadside assistance needs can change when you hit the road in an RV compared to a regular car. The differences can be startling.

AAA (the American Automobile Association) has been a trusted household name for decades, so much so that many people use “AAA” and “roadside assistance” interchangeably. In reality, there are many different roadside assistance companies to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

RVers have different needs when they’re stuck on the side of the road, and it’s important to make sure your roadside assistance company is prepared to meet these needs. Many RVers choose Good Sam Roadside Assistance for precisely this reason.

If you’re choosing between Good Sam and AAA for your roadside assistance needs, read on to make sure you understand and consider all the factors before making a decision. 

Main Differences Between Good Sam and AAA

The main differences between Good Sam and AAA are:

  • Good Sam is a national organization, whereas AAA is a federation of more than 30 different local and regional clubs.
  • Good Sam’s services are targeted toward RVers, whereas AAA is designed for cars with optional RV add-ons.
  • AAA’s member benefits and discounts cover a variety of needs, whereas the benefits and discounts that Good Sam offers are generally RV-specific. 
  • AAA memberships include both roadside assistance and their discount club, whereas Good Sam has separate memberships for roadside assistance and RV-related discounts. 

Before choosing to join Good Sam or AAA, you should understand these important differences. 

A National Organization or a Federation of Regional Clubs?

Because Good Sam is a national organization, they have a standard policy and procedure regardless of where in the country you are from, and no matter where in the country you might travel. AAA has a regional club structure for its membership, united under the umbrella of the national organization. When you join AAA, you become a member of the local club where you live.

Everything, from the membership fee rates to the included benefits, can vary significantly between clubs. If you travel outside of your home region and call for service, there can be confusion about which roadside services are included in your membership. You may not have the coverage you think you do.

For those who rarely travel outside of their local region, however, the regional structure creates a localized, small-organization feeling that many people appreciate. AAA often has local offices where you can speak with someone in person as needed. 

RVs: Focus or Add-On?

It’s right there in the name: the American Automobile Association is primarily focused on cars. While some levels of membership allow you to add other kinds of vehicles, including RVs, their plans and services are not designed with RVers in focus.

In contrast, Good Sam’s target audience is RVers. They have created both their roadside assistance program and their member discount club to meet the needs and preferences of the RV community. They understand that traveling with an RV can create some unique roadside assistance situations and they are prepared to respond accordingly. 

Discounts and Benefits

Good Sam and AAA are both known for offering their members a variety of benefits and discounts. AAA members receive discounts at a wide variety of locations, including movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, car rental chains, and tourist attractions. Travel agent services are also available through AAA.

The discounts available through Good Sam are more RV specific, such as saving on campground fees, fuel, and Camping World or Gander Outdoors stores. Some Camping World locations offer free use of dump stations to Good Sam members. While Good Sam does not offer travel agent services, they do have a trip planning tool available online. 

Which one is better depends a lot on your preferences and travel habits. Often, RV owners prefer to vacation with their RVs, so discounts on hotels and car rentals aren’t very useful. Personally, I wouldn’t save any money with those. Typical travel agent services aren’t generally helpful for us either.

The Good Sam discount of 10% at participating campgrounds adds up quickly, as does saving 5 cents per gallon at specific gas station chains. For us, Good Sam is by far the better option, but many people prefer the wider variety of discounts available with AAA.

Discount Club: Included or Separate?

Joining AAA automatically entitles you to all the roadside services that are included at your level of membership, as well as all the discounts and services they offer. You only have one membership and you only pay one fee. In contrast, Good Sam’s discount membership and roadside assistance are two separate programs with separate subscriptions. An annual membership with Good Sam costs $29. 

This may or may not be an advantage depending on your perspective. Regardless of which company you choose for roadside assistance, you can join Good Sam and receive all the perks and discounts (excluding roadside services). If you are not interested in the discounts, you can pay a little less and never join the discount club.

Then again, having everything in a single membership, with one membership card and one bill to pay is much simpler and many people prefer AAA’s method. 

Side-by-Side Comparison: Good Sam vs. AAA 

Good Sam and AAA both offer three levels of membership. For AAA, they are called “Classic,” “Plus,” and “Premier.” Good Sam calls its levels “Standard,” “Platinum,” and “Platinum Complete.” Be aware that AAA Classic does not cover RVs of any kind, so it is not a viable option for RV owners.

Good Sam Standard vs. AAA Classic

Good Sam Standard

AAA Classic*

Types of RVs covered Travel Trailers only (No Motorized RVs or Fifth Wheels) NONE!
Towing Benefits
  • Unlimited distance to nearest provider in US & Canada
  • $1,000 towing/roadside service in Mexico, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands
  • 7 miles or unlimited to nearest service provider
Flat tire service

Included

Included

Fuel / Battery / Lockout

All included

  • Fuel delivery included, pay for fuel
  • Battery service/jumpstart included
  • $60 toward locksmith parts and labor
Other Services
  • RV Mobile Mechanic dispatch
  • $1,200 trip interruption service
  • Minor mechanical first aid
  • Extrication/winching (1 service vehicle)
  • Discounted rental car
Number of Annual Service Calls Included

No limits

4

Members of Household Included Member plus spouse/domestic partner and dependent children under 25 Member only. Additional fees to add associates.
Cost $64.95 / year ** $57 / year + $20 one-time new member fee

Good Sam Platinum vs. AAA Plus

Good Sam Platinum

AAA Plus*

Types of RVs covered

All

Multiple RVs covered

All

Towing Benefits
  • Unlimited distance to nearest provider in US & Canada
  • $1,500 towing/roadside service in Mexico, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands
  • Up to 100 miles (for non-RV vehicles)
  • RV tows and services limited to $500 per call / $1,000 per year per household)
Flat tire service

Included 

Included

Fuel / Battery / Lockout

All included

  • Fuel and delivery included
  • Battery service / jumpstart included
  • $100 toward locksmith parts and labor
Other Services
  • RV Mobile Mechanic dispatch
  • $1,500 trip interruption service
  • Operational and technical assistance from Certified RV technicians
  • Discounted rental car
  • Minor mechanical first aid
  • Extrication/winching (up to 2 service vehicles)
  • Discounted rental car
Number of Annual Service Calls Included

No limits

4

Members of Household Included Member plus spouse/domestic partner and dependent children under 25 Member only. Additional fees to add associates.
Cost $79.95 / year ** $91 / year + $20 one-time new member fee

Good Sam Platinum Complete vs. AAA Premier

Good Sam Platinum Complete

AAA Premier*

Types of RVs covered

All

Multiple RVs covered

All

Towing Benefits
  • Unlimited distance to nearest provider in US & Canada
  • $1,500 towing/roadside service in Mexico, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands
  • Up to 100 miles
    Once a year, up to 200 miles (for a vehicle, not an RV)
  • RV tows and services limited to $500 per call / $1,000 per year per household)
Tire service

Included

Included

Fuel / Battery / Lockout

All included

  • Fuel and delivery included
  • Battery service / jumpstart included
  • $150 toward locksmith parts and labor
Other Services
  • RV Mobile Mechanic dispatch
  • $1,500 trip interruption service
  • Tire and wheel road hazard replacement / repair coverage
  • Operational and technical assistance from Certified RV technicians
  • Discounted rental car
  • Emergency medical evacuation service
  • Minor mechanical first aid
  • Extrication/winching (up to 2 service vehicles)
  • One day midsize rental included
Number of Annual Service Calls Included

No limits

4

Members of Household Included Member plus spouse/domestic partner and dependent children under 25 Member only. Additional fees to add associates.
Cost $119.95 / year ** $117 / year + $20 one-time new member fee

 

* AAA prices and coverage vary among different regional clubs. This information was sourced from AAA Texas. Be sure to confirm essential details with your local club. 


** Good Sam prices include discounts for first-time subscribers and auto-renewal. See website for more information.

A Clear Choice for RVers: Good Sam 

After comparing all the information, choosing Good Sam over AAA was a clear choice for us as RVers. We were already members of the Good Sam discount club, so that was not much of a consideration, though we did note that there were few discounts available from AAA that we were likely to use. 

Getting the service you need in an emergency roadside situation is not just a matter of convenience, it is a matter of safety. We all hope we’ll never need our roadside coverage, but most of us will need help at one time or another. Stranded on the side of the highway is not the time to discover you don’t have access to the services that you thought you did. Roadside assistance services are supposed to offer you peace of mind, but instead the idea of AAA left us feeling insecure. 

Good Sam covers our travel trailer even if only our tow vehicle is damaged. In the event that our tow vehicle needs to be towed, they will also make arrangements to get our trailer safely to a campground. Other RVers have experienced that AAA will arrange service for the tow vehicle but leave the trailer stranded on the side of the highway. Arranging to get a travel trailer or fifth wheel towed from the side of the highway is complicated and very expensive. 

The reliability of Good Sam’s nationwide membership puts our minds at ease as we travel the country, knowing that the coverage we signed up for will apply in any state without regional confusion. Getting help quickly is a priority when you call roadside assistance, and I never want to waste time trying to sort out whether or not my situation is covered.

AAA’s limits on number of calls per year and the cost of RV-related incidents is a huge disadvantage for RVers. Getting a large RV towed, especially if a qualified RV technician is more than a few miles away, can quickly add up to much more than $500. A single service call can easily end up costing much more than many years’ worth of savings on roadside plans. 

And when it came to cost, Good Sam saved us money, even after the introductory offers ended. Because we have a travel trailer, we were able to sign up for Good Sam’s lowest level of coverage without sacrificing any of the services we need. Even if AAA was slightly cheaper on the surface, the extra costs of adding associates to the membership quickly eliminated any savings. 

When weighing factors, Good Sam was a better match for our needs in every way. I believe that this is true for most RVers, whether you travel in your RV full-time or just use it for weekends and vacations. Read AAA’s fine print regarding RVs in your local region and be aware of the limitations before you decide.

Other Roadside Assistance Options for RVers

The main advantage of Good Sam over AAA for the RVing community is that this roadside assistance program was designed specifically for the needs of RVers. But Good Sam is not the only RV-specific roadside company out there!


Another popular option is Coach-Net. Their plans and pricing are based on whether your RV is drivable or towable, so for some RV owners, the cost is comparable to Good Sam, but for others it is more expensive.

Both Good Sam and Coach-Net have great reputations in the RV community, and their coverage and options are very similar. Both companies understand the needs of RVers and offer excellent customer service when you need it most.

Satisfied Customers!

In nearly 5 years of full-time RV life, we have found ourselves on the side of the road on multiple occasions. When we needed them, Good Sam has come through every time.

The most dramatic occasion required towing both our travel trailer and our tow vehicle. Good Sam worked to find a service provider that was willing to work on both vehicles, even though that was not the closest service station.

Keeping our vehicles together made all the difference as we went through this difficult experience. We highly recommend their service to all RVers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does AAA cover my RV?

Answer: AAA offers some coverage for RVs depending on your level of membership. AAA Classic membership does not cover RVs at all. Plus and Premier memberships provide limited coverage for RVs, but this varies among local clubs. In some regions, RV coverage is an add-on to the Plus or Premier membership. Consult your local club for details but be aware that AAA is not primarily intended for the needs of RVers.

Question: Is Good Sam Roadside Assistance worth it?

Answer: Whether or not something is “worth it” is a matter of opinion, but many RVers are very happy Good Sam customers. My personal experience with Good Sam is that they went above and beyond to help in a moment of crisis. It’s hard to attach a price tag to peace of mind, but the number of loyal Good Sam customers would suggest that many people think it’s worth it.

Question: Is AAA better than Good Sam?

Answer: When it comes to the needs of RVers, AAA is definitely NOT better than Good Sam. It is important to weigh the factors that are most important to you when making a decision, but AAA has some significant limitations on their RV coverage that many members are not aware of until they find themselves stranded on the side of the road.

Question: What is the best roadside assistance for RV?

Answer: The best roadside assistance for RVs is provided by companies that have RVers and their needs in focus, rather than as an optional add-on option. Roadside assistance companies such as Good Sam and Coach-Net have years of experience and know-how when it comes to serving RVers, and their many satisfied customers can attest to the significance of this difference when you need it most. 

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