Flat tires, dead batteries, blow outs, jacks that won’t work … stuff happens.The most popular roadside assistance service programs are Good Sam, AAA and Coach-Net, but there are many others available.
Safety is a number one priority on the road, and the right emergency roadside assistance service can be a lifesaver for full-time RV’ers. Choosing a service, however, can be like so many other decisions related to the RV life. How do you know which one is right for you?
Many insurance companies, such as Progressive, also offer roadside assistance, and some RV manufacturers, like Jayco, offer a one- or two-year service plan as a perk to customers when they buy their RV.
Here are some key things to know before you choose an emergency roadside assistance service for your RV:
- Size of rig. Some plan prices are tiered according to how big your RV is. Of course, the bigger the RV the more the cost (usually.)
- Coverage for your vehicle. If you don’t already have an emergency roadside assistance plan for your tow vehicle, or the vehicle you use for towing, you might want a plan that will cover all of your vehicles while you are on the road. Also, if you tow a vehicle, you’ll want to make sure the tow trailer or dolly is also covered. Remember, those can get flat tires, too!
- Geographical limits. Make sure your plan covers you in all 50 states, even if you are not sure you will be traveling to any of them right now. There’s nothing worse than confidently calling the roadside emergency assistance number only to find out your outside of your coverage zone. And of course, if you plan to travel to Canada or Mexico, check that you are covered there, too.
- Service call limits. Most plans impose some sort of limit on the number of service calls allowed per year. This typically ranges from four to six. Some “premium” plans are available with unlimited calls, and while they cost more they could be a worth it for those who are on the road a lot.
- Towing distance limits. Just like with service calls, most plans have a limit as to how far they will tow your RV or vehicle. Consider whether you will be traveling through remote areas where a service center might be 100 or more miles away, especially if your RV warranty requires you to go to certain repair shops only.
- Fuel delivery, locksmith and battery charging. Those are some of the most common issues for RV’ers on the road. A good emergency roadside assistance plan should include all of those for no extra charge.
- Spouse coverage. Does the plan cover only a specified driver, or a spouse or adult child who might be driving also?
- Hotline assistance. A hotline number to help troubleshoot any problems can prevent unnecessary service calls. Some plans offer this and some don’t.
- Contents. Some plans will cover replacement of personal belongings or repair of things such as appliances and other add-ons. You might already be paying for this through your insurance or an extended warranty plan, so be careful not to pay extra for duplicate coverage that you don’t need.
- Reimbursement for emergency expenses. Some plans offer discounts or even total reimbursement (up to a certain amount) for expenses incurred when your RV or vehicle breaks down. Those expenses can include a rental car, hotel room or even meals. Again, you might already be covered by this through your insurance or other plans, so check to make sure you really need this coverage.
- Mechanic dispatch. Some services will send a mechanic out to try and diagnose or temporarily fix your problem before they tow you. This can help make sure you go to the right service center and get you jump-started on any necessary repairs. It might even help you make it all the way back home without having to be towed.
- Response time. This one is a little more subjective, and is best researched by googling the company you are interested in and reading consumer and customer reviews.
- Of course, the bottom line is always cost. It’s hard to put a price tag on peace of mind, so this is another one of those subjective areas. Basic RV roadside assistance plans start at around $70 a year and go up to $150 or more. How much you are willing to pay depends on how much you travel, the areas where you travel and the potential expense of any unexpected problems.