How To Choose An RV Roadside Assistance Plan
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Perfect, you’ve read up in my other blogs on how to pick the best type of RV for you, learned what you need to pack to make your vacation better, purchased all the extras you’ll need in case a lightbulb blows or you need air in a tire, and told everyone – as the bumper sticker says, Sit Down, Shut Up & Hold On.
Your fire up the engine, don your new fancy sunglasses, check to make sure everyone buckled in, and take off.
We have a tradition of singing (badly) “On the Road Again”, as we drive off into the sunrise. In case I have not said this before, inexperienced RV’ers really should plan to only drive during sunlight. You don’t want to blast off at midnight and have your rear tire end up in the gutter 5 minutes down the road.
I know you did your homework on just about every topic pertaining to RVs but did it occur to you to ask your emergency roadside assistance company if your plan would cover your home away from home RV? No? Well, no fear – I’m here to help you!
Listen up, most auto roadside assistance companies will not cover your travel trailer, RV, or motorhome, horsetrailer or flatbed trailer. Make the call and find out. A few minutes of your time chatting with your provider can save you a world of headaches if you break down on a lonely road at mid-night.
RV’ing is becoming more and more popular and with more rigs on the road, there is assuredly more rigs breaking down.
As you can imagine, there are many roadside assistance companies around these days. Every one has a slightly different menu of services.
Before you start reading and comparing, take a moment to think about your needs. Do you need, can you afford, or can you afford not to get a membership in any of the companies listed below.
If you’ve purchased a new, fancy rig you probably would want to pick a policy that in addition to providing towing services, they would cover tire and wheel, paint and interior upholstery coverage and more.
If you’re like me and have never owned anything with an engine that’s less than 10 years old, your main concern is towing your rig to the nearest qualified repair shop. You won’t be bothered if the paint gets a ding from a pebble kicked up by the truck in front of you.
OK, armed with your list of services you’d like the emergency roadside assistance company to provide you – read on!
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Roadside RV Assistance
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is member owned association of motor coach enthusiasts. You must be a member of FMCA in order to purchase their emergency assistance membership. Membership costs for 2018 are $60 membership in the FMCA club and an additional for the RV Roadside Rescue which is an emergency roadside assistance plan.
You must be a FMCA member to purchase the FMCA Roadside Rescue plan. It’s a small price to pay to have the peace of mind that you won’t be stranded roadside with no one that will tow you to a reputable and qualified repair center
Other perks of this service include free lockout assistance (you still should hide some spare keys), fluid delivery to your rig (water, gas, etc.), tire service (ugh, I hate flats), winch-out service (I’m proud to say I’ve never had to be yanked out of anywhere), trip routing assistance (verrrry handy if you don’t have GPS), and more.
A huge perk to this is you can add your cars to the plan at no extra charge!
This same plan used to cost $109 but SafeRide RV Motor Club (FMCA’s roadside assistance partner) has lowered the rate to $69 this year. You can renew at that ridiculously low rate for 1, 2, or 3 years. You must also renew your FMCA membership for that number of years too.
This plan is available to FMCA members in the US and Canada.
FMCA surveyed members and found that 85% have some sort of roadside assistance plan and decided to offer members a reduced rate for their plan.
Coach-Net roadside assistance has been around since 1987. The company started offering the plan to help RV’ers travel without having to worry about break-downs, flat tires and more.
Coach-Net has researched and learned what RV’ers pain points are. What they need when they are on the road, in their home away from home.
Although they offer a menu of services with their roadside assistance plan called Coach-Net Protect, they remain steadfast in providing RV’ers peace of mind and safety when traveling.
Their roadside assistance covers you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here’s a quick run-down of what this emergency coverage plan offers.
The cost to cover a motorhome in 2018 $249 for the first year and $169 to renew. The policy to cover a towable trailer is $99. These are the rates the customer service rep quoted me on the phone. They appear different on their website. Go figure – ask them to sharpen their pencil when you call to purchase.
Here’s a description of what your hard-earned money will get you.
- Towing services in USA, Mexico, and Canada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to a qualified RV repair shop – unlimited miles. She said that they would not tow you to a shop that didn’t know which end of the motorhome was up. Haha, I hope not!
- Got a flat? No problem, they will fix it.
- Need some radiator fluid, or any fluid? They will deliver it to you.
- Bad battery? Need a jump? They will rescue you.
- Didn’t hide a key and cannot find the one that was in your pocketbook? No problem. They will get you into your rig.
- Need someone to come to your rig and make repairs at your campsite? They will find you a mobile service.
- 24/7 Technical Assistance Hotline. They are there for you if you need some techy assistance with your motorhome.
- Global Emergency Services – Traveling on the road can be a scary place to need medical or other types of assistance. Coach-Net offers emergency medical evacuation, hospital admission assistance,return of a vehicle, pet assistance and more.
- They refer to trip planning and concierge services while you’re on the road. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what the difference was. I phoned a very nice customer service rep who straightened me out. OK, trip planning is done weeks in advance. They give you a map and turn by turn directions. Concierge service sounds like something I’d like in my life – not just my camping life!! Her words exactly, it’s a personal secretary that is available 7 AM to 6 PM that will find you a dump station (Don’t know what that is? Read my other blogs), hotel, campground or cheap fuel. I want one in my real life that will pay bills, wash bathrooms and cook for me. Yeah, that’s what I want. HA!
- Discounts on; hotels, motels, vehicle rentals, camping, RV insurance, vehicle buying services, and online shopping discounts
- I asked about the wait time until the membership benefits can be used and the wonderful customer service rep said that she hoped I didn’t need them, but I could use them starting at midnight tonight! Now THAT is great news!
AAA Basic RV, Plus RV & Premier RV
Egads, AAA is the most confusing of all the different RV roadside emergency assistance companies. They have coverage for RV’s and as I understand it, if you add your RV they will prorate what your AAA membership fee increase will be to add RV coverage to your auto AAA policy.
Obviously, AAA Premier RV has the most perks for your membership dollars. The most important item on the list is towing. That emergency roadside assistance Premier membership level will get you one 200-mile tow per household and 100 mile tows on the rest of the calls. The Plus package is 1 tow for up to 100 miles. The Basic package only allows 3 miles of free towing
The kicker is you must add RV Emergency Roadside Assistance onto your current membership 7 days prior to starting your journey.
I called the customer service line to get information for this blog and decided that I was going to increase my AAA Premiere Membership by adding RV coverage. NOPE. I’m leaving in 3 days for a 3-day journey. You must add the membership 7 days prior to leaving to be able to use the benefits. That stinks AAA.
Good Sam Club
Good Sam Club’s roadside emergency assistance plans range in price from $99 to $239 for a year. Heck, they even insure helicopters on the highest level of membership!
I’ve described other companies roadside assistance plans ad nauseum in this blog so all I’ll say is that Good Sam Club’s Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan has about the same tiers and services they offer.
The big difference to me is that you get a good discount on any items you buy from Camping World and hopefully, that’s where they will tow you because all Camping Worlds have service centers that repair ONLY RV’s and trailers.
This product is a MUST if you are traveling with horses in a stock, enclosed, lq, slant, straight load or any other horse carrying trailer!
I have been a member for several years and have thankfully, never had to use it. I do know many folks that have said that US Rider has saved their (and their horses) butts!
Can you imagine heading on a 4 hour journey to go horse camping and your fuel pump goes on your trusty truck? It’s never happened to me towing horses but it DID happen to me driving a Class A motorhome across New Mexico. Let me just say that the mechanic yelled at me because I had just filled the gas tank and they had to drop the tank to get to the fuel pump. But I digress…
Don’t balk at the price, don’t try to find a discount coupon online (I did and there’s none), just call and sign up and then beg and plead for them to wave the “activation fee” for your first year’s membership. Beg, it works and will save you 49 bucks.
The policy includes all the usual stuff for you and your vehicle:
- Towing for your vehicles and horse trailers
- Battery assistance
- Flat tire repair and change
- Help if you lock yourself out – shouldn’t be a problem because you’ve read my blog on things you must do before your first trip, right?
- Fuel, water, and oil delivery
- Winners circle membership – benefits and discounts
The policy also includes these benefits for your horse:
- Veterinary Services for Emergency Trip Interruption
- Emergency Lodging/Stabling Arrangements – PRICELESS!!!
- Veterinarian Referral Services
- Farrier Referral Services
OK, I’ll say it. If you don’t invest in this policy from US Rider, you are reckless. Now, I can be reckless when I’m on the back of a horse but NOT when I’m hauling.
Imagine driving to meet your cowgirl friends for a weekend of riding, drinking, laughing, and mucking. BAM, your brakes fail on your trailer. This policy will allow for your truck to be towed somewhere to be fixed and your horses safely hauled to a layover spot until you can get under way again.
I am the cheapest cowgirl on the planet and I would NEVER haul any distance without this policy.
I tried my best to not show favorites but I’m sure my words in bold and italics gave you a hint or two.
When I started RV’ing in the late 80’s, I didn’t know there were companies that would provide me with this type of service.
Pick one, start the membership early enough that it’ll be active when you leave, and then you can relax. Expensive mistakes taught me that the universal trick with any kind of insurance, whether for your RV in the US or your car in Australia, is to do your research. No matter where you are or what you’re planning on using your vehicle for, having cover that counts when you need it is critical. Because not having it, or having the wrong cover, really sucks.
I recently had to use my US Rider service plan.
I will not recount my ordeal. Because initially, it wasn’t good. It was finally fixed.
Mark (the editor/publisher of the website) has his own tips if this happens:
- If the person you are talking to is not being helpful, ask to be transferred to another agent
- If the next agent doesn’t help, then ask for a supervisor
- If the supervisor cannot help, ask for their supervisor