MCA vs. AAA: Roadside Assistance Services Compared

Short Answer: AAA and MCA offer similar roadside assistance for members, including lockout services, towing, fuel delivery, and tire changes. MCA members are limited to one service call per day but do not have an annual limit, whereas AAA members are limited to four service calls per year. Both companies offer discounts for members on things like retail, travel, and dining, though AAA has a larger discount selection. Continue below for details about these two companies and how the costs and services compare.

American Automobile Association (AAA) vs. Motor Club of America (MCA)

The American Automobile Association (AAA) and Motor Club of America (MCA)are two roadside service companies specializing in providing emergency assistance to members. The companies offer similar services like fuel delivery, tire changes, and towing. Their memberships are similarly priced, with a few differences. AAA provides a cheaper monthly membership and more discounts and insurance options, but if you expect you will need to make use of more roadside services, MCA offers inclusive pricing, while AAA charges extra for many of its services. We’ve researched AAA and MCA by visiting their websites, contacting their customer service departments, and checking each company’s profile with the Better Business Bureau.

Below, you’ll find a table that breaks down the services, costs, and discounts to help you decide which company is the better fit for your budget and needs. Click either company or scroll for more details and customer reviews.

Comparison Table: AAA vs. MCA

Roadside Service Company Cost per Month When Coverage Begins Services Roadside Assistance? Vehicles Covered Discounts Cancellation Policy Insurance
MCA $10 to $20 24 hours after signing up Towing, lockout, fuel delivery, tire change, battery recharging Yes; up to four calls per year Cars, RVs, motorcycles, boats, livestock trailers Hotels, rental cards, vision, dental, prescriptions Cancel anytime for free; full refund within 72 hours of signing up; partial refund within 30 days None
AAA $6 to $11 One to seven days after signing up Towing (limited mileage), fuel delivery (extra charge), locksmith (extra charge), tire change, emergency extraction Yes; up to one call per day Cars, RVs, motorcycles, motor homes, travel trailers (some with extra fees) Gas, groceries, hotels, online retailers, rental cars, event tickets, vision Cancel within 30 days for partial refund if no services used Home, renters, life, auto, pet (plus bundles)

AAA

  • Cost: Around $6 to $11 per month, depending on membership level.
  • When coverage begins: For most memberships, coverage begins immediately. However, RV and motorcycle coverage will be effective seven days after enrollment and do not cover pre-existing problems, such as previous breakdowns.
  • Services:
    • Towing (the number of miles is limited by membership level)
    • Fuel delivery (fuel may cost extra)
    • Locksmith services (may cost extra)
    • Tire change
    • Emergency extraction
  • Roadside Assistance? Included with your membership but limited to four service calls annually; the average wait time for a service call varies by location, per AAA customer service representatives. The AAA representative you speak with when you place your service call should be able to provide an estimated wait time. Members may receive roadside assistance in a vehicle that is not their own provided he or she has their member card available. Certain services may cost extra in addition to your regular membership fees.
  • Types of vehicles covered: Cars, RVs, motorcycles, motor homes, and travel trailers, though some of these vehicles may require additional membership or service fees.
  • Discounts and other services:
    • Discounts: Gas stations, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, online retailers, vision care, and rental cars plus tickets to concerts, sporting events, and theme parks.
    • Other services: Trip interruption protection (may require extra fees), maps, and guidebooks
    • Additional services (available for premier members only): One day free on car rentals, travel booking with no airline fees, annual CARFAX report
  • Cancellation policy: Memberships may be canceled within 30 days of purchase for a partial refund provided no services were used during your membership.
  • Insurance: In addition to roadside assistance memberships, AAA also sells insurance, including home, renters, life, auto, and pet insurance. You may be able to get a bundle discount if you purchase more than one policy.
  • Selling AAA: AAA does not have an affiliate program, but you can become a AAA agent and sell memberships and insurance. Insurance license requirements will vary based on your state.
  • Reviews: Since AAA has offices by region, we viewed multiple Better Business Bureau profiles for AAA including Texas, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. The average rating for all three profiles was low, about one to two out of 5 stars. It is worth noting, however, that most consumers only utilize the Better Business Bureau when experiencing difficulties or filing a complaint. Common consumer complaints listed include:
    • Difficulty getting a AAA representative on the phone
    • Long wait times for roadside service calls, inaccurate wait times, no-shows, and rude providers when assistance did arrive
    • Refund difficulties
    • Auto insurance prices that were not competitive
    • Homeowners insurance coverage issues, such as being denied or jumping through hoops to get the claim approved

MCA

  • Cost: An MCA membership costs around $10 to $20 per month. The first and last month payments are due at sign-up, so you can expect to pay a bit more initially than you will every month.
  • When coverage begins: Members are eligible to start using MCA’s services 24 hours after signing up.
  • Services:
    • Towing
    • Lockout
    • Fuel delivery
    • Tire change
    • Battery recharging
  • Roadside Assistance?¬†Available to MCA members regardless of what vehicle he or she is in; a member can call for service to any vehicle, provided he or she has their membership card available. Members are limited to one service call per day but do not have an annual limit on service calls. The average wait time for a service call is about 30 minutes, though certain circumstances like weather or traffic may require a longer wait, per MCA’s FAQs.
  • Types of vehicles covered: Multiple types of vehicles may be covered with an MCA membership, including cars, RVs, motorcycles, livestock trailers, and boats.
  • Discounts and other services:
    • Discounts: Hotels, car rentals, vision care, dental care, and prescriptions
    • Other services: Accident coverage for hospitalization, travel assistance reimbursement, arrest bonds, bail bonds, attorney fees, stolen vehicle reward, credit card protection, and accidental death benefit
  • Cancellation policy: You can cancel at any time without a cancellation fee. Full refunds are available within 72 hours of signing up and paying your membership fee, and partial refunds may be issued within 30 days of membership activation.
  • Insurance: MCA does not provide insurance.
  • Selling MCA: MCA has an affiliate company, TVC Marketing, which allows individuals to sign up as an affiliate to refer others to MCA and receive a commission if those referrals purchase a membership. An MCA membership is not required to become an affiliate, per TVC’s FAQs. The TVC FAQs also state that there is no cost associated with becoming an affiliate. However, if your state requires that you have a motor club agent license in order to sell memberships, you will need to pay the fees required to become licensed in your state, per a TVC Marketing customer service associate.
  • Reviews: The Better Business Bureau profile page for MCA has mixed reviews from consumers, but MCA’s average rating is four out of 5 stars. Common complaints include:
    • Being denied service when placing a service call with another vehicle, even though the member had his or her membership card available
    • Multiple claims that the unlimited towing advertised by MCA is false and that members found there were limitations to towing services
    • Difficulty getting refunds processed
    • Difficulty communicating with customer service to make changes to a member’s account, such as updating a¬†payment method
    • Multiple complaints regarding TVC Marketing in which many stated that they were charged fees to sign up to sell MCA memberships

In Summary

AAA and MCA offer similar roadside assistance services and discount programs, and each has had complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. They also have similar pricing, with MCA requiring more money during sign-up and AAA potentially requiring more money for additional services that are not included in the monthly membership price. MCA does not limit the number of service calls allowed annually, while AAA members can only use four service calls per year. Also, while AAA offers auto, home, renters, life, and pet insurance policies, MCA does not offer any insurance programs. Choosing which company you’d like a membership with largely depends on how often you think you will need the services, whether you’d prefer to pay more upfront or down the road, and if you’d like to have your auto service membership and auto insurance policy all in one place.

For more about AAA, check out our articles about the company’s tire and car rental discounts.