Thursday, January 24, 2013

Choices, Choices--Roadside Assistance Programs for RVers

Sarasota, FL     High:  71    Low:   47

A little side blog from the daily doings of which we haven't been doing too much other than Sparky has been swimming, spin cycling, making pine needle baskets, and figuring out more activities to join and  try!

WARNING: Today's blog might be a little boring, OK, REALLY boring for those of you who already know this stuff, but coming forthwith is a handy dandy little guide to roadside assistance for some who might want to know....roadside assistance is SEPARATE from your vehicle insurance. It's for emergencies of all types of problems you might occur on the road OR while sitting at your site.....If you still own a home, then your homeowner's insurance might cover you while traveling. We don't have a home, so we need more coverage as the RV IS our home. We learned the hard way not to be underinsured on the contents of our motorhome when our first one was vandalized and burglarized the first year we had it. But that's another issue---liability and theft coverages on a motorhome insurance policy. You need roadside assistance when driving a large motorhome as opposed to driving a car because anything that happens with an RV is going to be a lot bigger and a lot more expensive if something happen while driving.

We've been on the road almost three years and we wouldn't be out on the road if we didn't have a roadside assistance program. Many major RV companies offer a one year roadside assistance package when you purchase a new RV. After the first year, you need to find your own. We wanted ours to be tailored to our RV lifestyle and travel mode...Every RVer needs SOME kind of specific roadside assistance to deal with the travails of having a honkin' big motorhome if you have one, or a fifth wheel. And believe us, stuff is gonna happen. We pulled into a site our first year, and the cable broke on one of our slides. We had another instance another time when Eldo went to fill up a low tire, the valve stem pulled out and the tire went flat in 10 seconds! Those are just a couple of examples of things we've run into.

So what program do you pick and how do you know WHICH one is the best one?  It's hard to say! You have to just delve in and do your homework, try one, and if you don't like it, sign up for a different one the next year!  You can use your regular car insurance company, but we feel that's risky. We want a qualified EXPERT tow service sent out that knows what the requirements are for towing the many different types of RV's. We want a service that can advise some technical assistance to possible problems inside the coach before we panic and call an RV repair service.

Sparky will do her best to describe them but the little tiny details of what they cover and what they don't are hard to find between the lines of small print. We suggest reading forums on RV roadside assistance. We learn things all the time from those forums, and from personal blogger experience. Today we learned that Coach Net will come and help only if you are less than 100 feet from a maintained road, according to the Good Luck Ducks who boondock a lot. We didn't know that little fact!  Sparky has read a lot of forums and done a little bit of homework, not a lot. Sparky doesn't like doing homework, having been a former teacher and done plenty of it herself over the years. Every RVer has a slightly different situation depending on what insurance company they have for their coverage, and what and how they want to be covered. Here's what's out there, what we have, and what Sparky has read. Note: the links are usually to comparison charts so you know what different price plans offer for each service.

Coach Net: We had this program our first year and used it at least four times. We were VERY satisfied with it. We had three separate issues with our tires, and one time it was a problem with our slide out.  Each time Coach Net (comparison chart on this link) was very professional on the phone, service always came very promptly, the technicians that they had come out were terrific and we had ZERO problems with the service. Coach Net offers a one year plan for $139.50. If you own a fifth wheel, a pop up, a trailer, or don't have a vehicle you are towing, Coach Net offers a slightly cheaper plan called Coach Net Gold. Here's what you get for the motorhome plan (Platinum Plus) with a tow car:

$139.50*

$368.50*
Coverage includes Member, spouse and dependent children ages 24 and under,
for one RV and all other personal vehicles owned, rented, borrowed or leased.
Staffed with certified technicians and factory trained reps, available 24/7, who
help troubleshoot technical and operational matters and resolve any issues quickly.



Good Sam's: There are three different plans if you go with Good Sam's...The cost ranges from a basic roadside assistance for 79.95 for first time buyers, mid plan (Platinum) for  112.95, and Platinum Plus for 159.95. All 3 plans cover your RV and tow, unlimited distance and dollar towing to the NEAREST  SERVICE CENTER, protection in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Mexico, vehicle locksmith service, battery jumpstart and service, flat tire service, emergency fluids and fuel delivery, and roadside RV mechanical repairs.  The basic plan does NOT cover sport utility trailers, protection for leased, rented, or borrowed vehicles, coverage for member owned vehicles loaned to family members, and you don't get to pick where you want your vehicle towed. The most expensive plan gives you free towing up to 100 miles from disablement and help arranging transportation for pets (dogs and cats) and covers you if you loan your vehicle to a family member. All three plans offer emergency medical referral service, trip interruption assistance, RV concierge, and AAMCO disounts. the mid price and the most expensive plan offer theft reward, home locksmith service, lodging and rental discounts. If you are not a Good Sam member, you pay an additional 10.00. We currently have Good Sam's as we signed up for cheaper insurance last year at a rally, and decided to go with their roadside assistance plan as well. We haven't had any claims on it, so we can't speak as to any problems......If you aren't happy with them, you can cancel any time during your membership and a refund is prorated.

Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA): FMCA partners with Coach Net to offer a roadside assistance program. Here is a comparison chart for the FMCA offerings. Under the FMCA banner, you can get Coach Net GOLD for 99.50, or Coach Net PLATINUM PLUS for 119.50. The chart lists very basic services--both plans offer emergency roadside assistance, RV technical assistance hotline, RV service appointment service, emergency trip interruption, nationwide trip routing, nationwide tire delivery service, and only the Platinum plan covers utility trailers and tow dollies, worldwide travel assistance, emergency medical assistance, and emergency travel assistance.  Now what exactly constitutes "emergency roadside assistance" is spelled out in membership brochures, I'm sure. The website says "special pricing for FMCA Members" but it doesn't say how much.

There are other programs out there as well... AAA Motorclub has some kind of assistance for RVers, but we couldn't track down any single place to read about it. You have to sign up in your state for AAA and then go from there. Not all regions for AAA offer RV coverage.

We have not heard of this company, but they offer RV roadside assistance...RV Rhino, $16.95 a month....This is an RVing group that has put together five basic packages that they think RVers need and bundled them together at an affordable price. One service they offer that the others don't is a computer support benefit...They will assist you with computer and connectivity issues....Nice touch...

If you are interested in finding out more about RV roadside assistance programs, you can check out the following forums.....links are provided.....
Escapees.....roadside assistance program suggestions....
RVnet forum....type in roadside assistance in the search line and a lot comes up about Good Sam's but we're sure there's more discussions to be found...

If you have anything to add about your personal experiences, we'd love for you to comment!

This has been a public service announcement...Back to our regularly scheduled programming and activities tomorrow.....  :-)

7 comments:

  1. Lots of options out there and we have them all checked out, thanks for the review. For our RV we have a "Fulltimer" insurance policy that covers our coach as if it were a house. For roadside we have tried a few and are presently using one available thru our membership program with R.O.D.

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  2. Thank you for the information. We have only a minimal benefit through our RV insurance plan and has a limit of 750.00 Luckily, we have managed well along with the use of RVServiceReviews.com for mobile RV tech's

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  3. Really helpful post Jeannie. Wonder if Good Sam has the same 100' thing. I take it that you switched from Coachnet because Good Sam was cheaper.

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  4. Great job! We us Coach Net and have been extremely satisfied.

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  6. We have Foremost Insurance on our RV which includes towing for $40.00 per year. We have been towed twice and both times were very happy with the service.

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  7. I can imagine that roadside assistance might be a bit expensive for an RV. They would be harder to fix, I think. It's good to know that you can get coverage for that kind of thing.

    Nora Moore | http://www.bestroadsideservice.com/emergency-roadside-assistance-plans/

    ReplyDelete