It's a good idea to make sure you have some sort of travel insurance of some sort when travelling across the country by car right? We thought so too. We actually believe in having insurance no matter what the trip is away from home because you just never know.
When we ventured out on a family vacation from SW Ontario to Orlando Florida. All seven of us loaded in the Suburban and headed on down the Interstate, we didn't consider additional road side coverage because there were three CAA members in the vehicle travelling all together for this trip.
We wound up having a break down just before the Florida state border on day two of our trip. The transmission transfer case blew of course immobilizing the vehicle (just age and wear & tear). We coasted to safety at the shoulder of the road and called CAA/AAA. Of course we were concerned about the vehicle and the reality of a potentially big repair bill. Everything went as it should with arranging for the tow as far as CAA/AAA went, except for the 3 1/2 hour wait at the side of I-75 and the vehicle was towed to a AAA repair facility nearby. We attempted to get a rental car that day but all were had this weekend (Saturday afternoon). We wound up at a Hotel in south Georgia for the night (wound up being 2 nights). All is fine as we talk the fist night because two travelers in the car have "CAA Premier membership" that has a little extra coverage to help with the sting of having to rent a car and extra nights in a hotel, meals etc., they apparently have coverage for up to $2000 of incidentals.
Remember we didn't think we needed any additional coverage because CAA follows the member(s) and is not limited to a specific vehicle. So on Monday we carried on and rented a suitable vehicle for all 7 of us (including the CAA members) and carried on our way and completed our trip. We had to spend an extra three days because of delays with the repair shop so we decided to find a place in Orlando for three more days. We just didn't we the sense in returning to small town Georgina only to wait for three more days for the repair to be finished, besides staying at a nice resort type condo cost a little less than the 2 crappy motel rooms back in Georgia.
We picked up our repaired vehicle up on our return trip home and paid the mechanic, reasonable rate for the job, no complaints there. Returned the rental and carried on our journey back home.
After we got back home and the dust settled we tallied up our bills that were over and above our expected trip and due directly as a result of a mechanical breakdown...we were an extra $4500.
Armed with receipts and a detailed letter and a summary we took all bills and receipts to the local CAA office to be sent off CAA head office for remuneration. About a week later we receive a reply from CAA explaining what they will cover....to keep it short, they decided they weren't covering anything!. Yup, the excellent auto club of CAA returned a letter stating they weren't covering anything because the expenditures weren't in the card holders names. They didn't even consider that the reason they weren't in the card holders name was simply that the members do not have a credit card to make the hotel reservation or the car rental or even the repair of the vehicle (we know the repair wouldn't be covered anyway). To keep it simple everything was invoiced to my name and paid for on my credit card(s), except for the meals that weren't for anyone specifically... coincidentally CAA didn't even cover the card holders meals. CAA wouldn't even entertain the rationalization of there clearly being 2 rooms, one of which being for the two premier members. We would have gotten our own coverage if we had of known CAA doesn't actually follow the member like they lead their members to believe.
Our experience, I am sure doesn't happen too often where that you find yourself a thousand miles from home racking up big unexpected bills in clear continence that some of this would be covered. I am glad that I didn't pay for a CAA membership because clearly they aren't going to help you much when you're in a jam a thousand miles from home. I am sure the three members that we in the vehicle under the false impression they at would be covered are not going to renew. I can say with certainty that we will not consider CAA again and have since signed up with another auto club that even costs a little more. Thanks for nothing CAA!
Buyer beware, it seems CAA goes out of their way to deny any unfortunate claim that their premier members have already paid for. CAA markets their product in a way that it is supposed to follow the member, clearly that is not the case. Good luck to the current members of CAA including the three family members that are with CAA currently outlined in this case, I hope you never need CAA for more than a tow or a jump start. I can't seem to find a suitable, polite or tasteful word to describe how I feel about CAA right now.
Again thanks for nothing CAA!