Do you have roadside assistance for your RV? If so what kind? Maybe it is included in your RV insurance or you have a separate contract with a company that provides RV roadside assistance? There are several options from very cheap to more expensive. It also depends on what you expect from the provider and what kind of RV you have. When you have a travel trailer and run a flat tire, it is easy to replace it yourself with a spare you carry compared to a big tire on a Motorhome that will require roadside assistance to replace for sure. Most motorhomes do not have a spare tire as they are too big and too heavy to carry.
The question is do you need roadside assistance?
The question is do you need roadside assistance? Listening to roadside assistance service providers (Tow truck/repair truck) they say NO you do not, call us directly and we will be there when you pay out of pocket and could later be reimbursed by the roadside assistance provider (AAA, FMCA, COACH-NET, etc.) Some of the motor clubs (AAA for example) will not reimburse the individual for the service call unless it was done by their own contracted (AAA) provider. However, do they charge a fair price that your roadside assistance provider will pay you back? How do you know? Do they even accept reimbursement? Find out before you sign up!
your roadside assistant provider will pay less than you would pay
The reality is that your roadside assistant provider will pay less than you would pay for the same service as they call around and offer a low ball price. You will get calls from the call center that keeps your mind occupied and maybe even a lot of untrue arguments that it will “take a bit longer” than anticipated. All the waiting time is used to find the lowest price your provider can find, they all do the same routine so switching around who you pay will not change anything. It’s a money game, that’s all I can say about it.
On the other hand, you might come out break-even or above what you have paid for roadside assistance when they need to tow your RV to a service center 100 miles on a flatbed. Just to name an expensive option, even if you had to wait 8 hours, you got value for your money.
First, some naming conventions used in this post;
Roadside assistance provider, Motor Club, or call center: The company you pay to provide you the service you need
Roadside service provider: The tow truck company that sends out the repair truck or tow truck.
Service Call: The needed action performed by the roadside Service Provider, ie Tow, Tire repair/mount etcetera
How Much Does a Camper, RV, or Big Rig Cost To Tow?
The cost to tow a camper, RV, or big rig typically ranges from $4 to $7 per mile. For example, an 80-mile tow of an RV will cost between $450 and $600
Photo Courtesy – OwnLessDoMore.us
By choosing a roadside assistance provider you need to look at what they pay for and what they cover. When it comes to it, different roadside assistance companies will send the same (contracted) roadside service provider out to your RV! Most roadside service providers contract with multiple organizations.
The answer to what is the best roadside assistance provider is not easy to answer.
Even an RV only roadside assistance provider has no tow trucks or personnel that it would send out to your location. They all are just the intermediary between you and the tow truck company. This means you deal with at the minimum two different service providers, the call center and the assisting company (Tow truck and/or technician) The service call will be paid for by the Roadside assistance company but the tire that will be replaced needs to be paid for by you to the company that shows up with the tire. It depends on the coverage who will pay for the service time and mileage. Tire replacement if and only if you pick the right RV provider plan, the price of the tire you may have to pay out of pocket. Depending on the tire size can make the wait time longer for the Call Center to find a provider that can replace the tire on the rim. Most providers will not change out a tire on the rim but will instead tow you to a repair facility or tire center.
So there are a few things that you have to consider when choosing a plan;
1 . CALL CENTER (Roadside assistance provider)
Does the call center contact person understand what kind of RV you have and understand what kind of assistance they have to send you to solve your problem? Call centers dedicated to RVs have knowledgeable people that understand RV lingo and know what you are talking about! It is important that they know if you have a single axle, dual axle, A travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome. Without that information, you may end up with a tow truck that cannot tow you. Also, check with the service provider (tow truck/service truck) if they have the information they need to send the right equipment.
2. THE SERVICE PROVIDER (tow truck/Service truck)
Various roadside assistance providers have contracts with a network of tow companies and private tow drivers all around the country, I call them the roadside service providers. The call center company pays the service providers in most cases. When you have a travel trailer they can send a small tow truck or flatbed to haul it off. But a motorhome needs more heavy equipment. There are more tow trucks for small RV than heavy tow trucks or flatbeds for a 40-foot motorhome. That is why service for a motorhome takes longer to show up as they have to find the right service that is harder to find.
A great service from some providers is the hot-line to talk to a certified RV-technician when something does not work, for example, the water heater. They will work with you to troubleshoot the problem.
Where are you? On a secondary road far from the cities? Or on a highway? The farther you are from cities the more it increases your service-time and the cost to the call center. When you are off the beaten path it could be difficult to get the service you need.
Download an app to your phone that will tell you the GPS location (longitude/latitude) Call the service provider with that location because the call center may not include that information when your location is passed on to the Service Provider.
3. THE PROBLEM
You might be just out of fuel or have a flat. It is your task to provide the right information to the call center so they can send you the right service!
Also know how your slide-out works, where the fuses, is the slide-out hydraulic or electric. Find out what to do when the Slide will not work to slide back in. Before it happens.
Depending on your contract with the call center company you can be towed a limited distance or unlimited distance to an authorized repair facility. The last option is the best otherwise you might have to pay part of the tow cost out of your own pocket and that can get expensive! Some roadside assistance companies do limit the covered miles.
A $10 a month add-on to your RV insurance will not provide you with great service or cost coverage. You might have to fork over money after x miles. Some Call Center companies have no RV specific knowledge and might send you a roadside mechanic that knows cars but has no clue about a diesel or when you need a flatbed they just send a tow truck, did you mention what kind of engine you have? Gas, Diesel? It makes a difference in what you need.
As we all know when people have a problem with roadside assistance they complain all over the internet and blame the company they got a roadside assistance contract with. For example that it took 5 hours before a tow truck showed up. Yes, 5 hours is a long time to wait. But how did that happen when on another occasion it only took 30 minutes. Let’s go run a scenario here that explains the issue;
You drive a motorhome and have a flat tire and call the road assistance call center for help, explaining you have a flat tire, mentioned the size, and told them your location. The person in the call center gets out the list of service providers they have a contract with and starts calling them to assist you with the problem. A service provider can decline the service because their driver/technician is sick or they are on a job miles away on the highway in opposite direction. The service provider might not get you the tire you need because they do not have that tire in stock or the tire shop is closed so towing it to the tire shop and wait there until they open could be the only option. Depending on your location there might be only two service providers available and they both could be busy. Next, the person that is showing up to help you needs to have the right skills to do the job without causing more damage. So a lot of things have to be in your favor to get service to satisfaction and in a timely matter. It also depends on the roadside assistance call center how much attention and dedication they have to help you. Would you think a $10 add on to your insurance would give you top-notch and RV oriented service? Please be patient and stay civilized when you need help!
Another thing to keep in mind that roadside assistance will not provide complete repairs, they will get you back on the road, maybe with temporary fixes so you can move to a repair facility that will complete the repair of what was broken. Some people think they just stop on the side of the road, call it in, and get a repair for free.
Be aware that when you call on multiple occasions for the same issue, in a short time, for example, a battery boost they might kick you out of the plan because you did not maintain your equipment after several calls, even when the contract said “Unlimited battery boost” they rightfully say you are misusing the system.
A lot of service providers (towing companies) are members of multiple service networks where they bid on service calls and have to compete with each other. Depending on your roadside assistance provider they will post a service call thru those networks and offer a fixed amount of money to do the service. This can be a disadvantage for you when the offer is too low. It is very difficult to find out which call-center offers the best price to the service provider network. This means that “the more you pay the better the service” is not always true. You will get the best service with a company that pays the best offers. Giving the driver/technician a cash tip will help offset the cost for them and is highly recommended.
Depending on your need and risk of being stranded on the road choose wisely and select a company that has the offerings you might need.
Roadside Assistance Comparison Chart
(Limited to just a few companies)
|Name and link:||ESCAPEES ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||FMCA ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||GOOD SAM PLATINUM||COACH-NET||AARP (ALLSTATE)||AAA PREMIER RV|
|Annual Membership Cost||$158
($74 +$85 Membership)
or $179 towable
|24 hour/7 day per Week Service||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Towing To The Nearest Qualified Repair Center||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Up to 100 miles||Up to 100 miles|
|Tire Change (Using spare tire)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile RV Tire Repair||Yes||Yes||No – must buy Tire Protection Plan add $189/yr||No – must buy Tire Protection Plan add $180/yr||No||No|
|RV Tech Assistance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|RV Mobile Mechanics||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Locksmith Service||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$150 per incident|
|Jump Start/Battery Boost||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Winching and Extraction||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|RV & Additional Vehicles||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Charges for Additional Driver||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Service Call Limits per Year||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||6 per year||4 per member/year|
|Trip Interruption||Up to $1,200||Up to $1,500||Up to $1,500||Up to $2,000||Up to $1,500||Up to $1,500|
|Global Emergency Services||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Trip Planning Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
We have a 40-foot motorhome, a diesel pusher. we choose coach-net as our provider because of the complete coverage we need for our peace of mind. The cost in 2020 is $249 for a motorhome or $179 for a towable (Pricing per year)
However, in 2021 we probably switch to Escapees Roadside Assistance that has the same coverage for a better price of $109 per year + membership $49.95 a savings of almost $100 compared to coach net $249. They also have Mobile RV Tire Repair. Coach-net will only pay for replacing the flat tire with the spare. Most Class A motorhomes do not have a spare tire.
Remember the same service truck will show up no matter who your roadside assistance provider is!
Checks to make before getting on the road.
Make sure you have a tire pressure gauge that reads to 100 PSI or more when you have a motorhome.
A 5 ton Cylinder Jack. with a top that can be adjusted / with handle
24 Inch long breaker bar. that accept 1/2 drive sockets
A 1/2 drive Socket that will fit the lug nuts on your tires (for tires that are smaller then bus size tires)
Know where the fuse box is for the engine functions and what location they are at for example the fuse for the headlight is in position # 5.
Know where the fuses are for the functions inside the living area of the RV, and their position.
Spare fuses and make sure they are the right size and correct amps.
Emergency Triangles set (3 in a set) ALWAYS USE THEM WHEN YOU ARE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
A large block of wood may be needed to put the jack on.
Pack these things in a manner so they are not covered up with other luggage
1. Tire pressure check — (Always 5 lbs less than what is stamped on the tire as max tire pressure.)
2. Make sure you check the spare tire also. and the spare tire is not dry rotted.
3. Know your tire size, Make sure you notice that the size of the tires (Is it preceded by the letter LT, or do they say 10 ply?) if you are lucky to find a provider that can change the tire off the rim
4. Not all RVs have a spare tire. Some spare tires require a special tool to let the spare tire down from underneath the RV. Make sure you have that tool. Some tires are mounted in a special carry mount, these bolts can get rusty and difficult to remove. Check these out before leaving.
5. If you have an RV with Diesel, never- never run out of fuel. A vacuum seal is created sometimes in Diesel engines that require more effort to get fuel back to the engine.
PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!
September 23, 2022
Thanks for the tip about how tire pressure checks are also important to consider when dealing with a roadside emergency. I want to learn more about how to get roadside auto services because I want to go on more road trip with friends in the future. I think that seeing more of what outside my state will be great in the long run.