Company Overview: AAA was originally founded in 1902, as the American Automobile Association, in response to a lack of automobile-friendly roads and highways. At the time, there were 1,000 charter members who were mostly auto enthusiasts. To this day, the membership base of AAA is comprised of many local and regional motor clubs, which joined forces to direct change.
Over the years, AAA’s scope has progressed from lobbying for better roads. In 1905, they printed their first road maps, and in 1917 they added hotel guides to their offerd publications. Three years later they began their School Safety Patrol program, and in the decades following that, they instituted many driver safety programs, eventually forming the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 1947.
Until 1956, AAA was a sanctioning organization for American auto racing, including races like the Indianapolis 500, but a disaster in 1955 forced them to admit that racing was a distraction, and the United States Automobile Club was formed to take it over.
While most modern drivers think of AAA primarily for its emergency road services (which include everything from tire changing, getting people back in cars after being locked out, and towing) which are handled by private companies contracted to the state AAA club, although in some major metropolitan areas, AAA itself operates a small fleet of tow trucks and service vehicles, including a car battery program. As well, many of the local AAA offices sell auto insurance (generally liability only), and travel insurance, as well as provide travel information.
Regional and state clubs may offer a number of uinque insurance services.. Texas AAA offers car insurance, travel insurance, “instant” insurance for Mexican travel, and home and life insurance as well, while the Northern California/Utah/Nevada region offers only auto, home and life insurance.
Website Overview: Because each regional club has its own site, doing a comprehensive overview of AAA’s website isn’t possible. The main URL is just a landing page, where consumers must input their zip code. They are then redirected to the site specific to their region.
Site designs differ widely. Texas’s site is in full color with a lot of red and bright blue, while the Northern California site is in soft blue and white, and seems very plain. As noted above, services also vary from region to region, though all offer some kind of breakdown protection, and general membership information, as well as local driving directions, and links to the local magazine.