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Old 06-19-2015, 05:56 AM   #1
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Best Roadside Assist

G'day,

Please advise what you suggest is the best roadside assist for (yours, what you use), my 2008 Ford e350 EB50 6.0 diesel 4x4, please?

Good Sam, AAA or other?

Cheers, Doug
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:57 AM   #2
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

I don't have any add on roadside assist, I just rely on my insurance (Farmers), that includes a lot of the same services minus the extra discount perks. Many here use AAA Plus and have posted up their positive experience using them. Standard membership gets you 7 mile tow range, Plus members get 100 mile tow service and free fuel delivery, Premier adds on top of that a one time 200 mile tow and a few other perks. The big question is if non-residents can become AAA members, from just looking quickly, I don't think so. Check with your current insurance company for coverage on your rig in the states. Good Sam might be different, good luck!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

I have Good Sam Insurance and roadside assistance on my The Yeti. They were far the best price on insurance and the road side assistance was not much extra.

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Old 06-19-2015, 10:29 AM   #4
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Disclaimer: I was a AAA provider for a couple years....


That said... I will never be without AAA. Same with my family members. The biggest reason is their dispatching, at least in the OR/ID region (I here that other regions aren't as perfect). There dispatching is so efficient, they often have a truck at your before you hang up the phone. They know real time where its provider trucks are, and what its capabilities are, and if a provider doesn't have the proper equipment, the call-out is re-routed to the next closest provider.

Most other roadside programs have a calling tree, or worse a faxing tree. They don't have equipment info, and so often many providers will pick up the call-out hoping they can get it done, which could mean they attempt service with under-sized equipment. Sometimes dangerously so. AAA's payment system actually has some incentives for sending larger-than-needed equipment, so most SMB owners would probably see an least an F650 show up for their van. And if its not big enough, AAA well pay the operator to send an even bigger truck!


So, into the bad.... AAA does have some restrictions. The biggest one being that they don't cover off-road travel if you leave the pavement intentionally. (you swerve for deer, and end up in a field, you're covered. If you drove into said field to have a picnic and got stuck, you would not be covered). Even in that case however, at least you'll get good service quickly, and probably at a better rate than if you flagged-down Jim-Bob in his 1977 gear-driven wrecker, who you saw parked at last county bar.

Also, I strongly recommend RV+ coverage for an SMB. The normal plans cover vans up to 10,000 pound or "serviceable with standard automative equipment". This could result in extra charges if the operator need a bigger truck. And... it will help ensure a big truck shows up in the first place.


For my van, I've supplemented AAA+ with State Farm Roadside assistance. They don't have an road-road exclusion, and will cover some specialty recoveries that AAA would charge extra for. Its cheap to add-on, but they don't have any dispatching whatsoever, and only cover tows to the nearest town with service, so that's why I maintain AAA as my primary roadside assistance.


As for the others.... Good Sam has excellent coverages with hardly any exclusions, but their "unlimited" towing is still only to the nearest town with service. They still have archaic dispatching which could take hours to even find a proper tow-truck. Customer Service is otherwise excellent, as long as you're not in a hurry.

Coach Net might even have better service that Good Sam. This is the service that comes with your new Ford van. Again, dispatching can be slow. I'm pretty sure they'll tow you Ford dealer, regardless of milage, even if there is an independent shop closer.


The others.... avoid Allstate roadside assistance like the plague. They undercut pricing big-time, and have a history of not paying providers, so the only providers that work with them are bottom-of-the-barrel guys with beer-stained shirts who can't get any other work. Anything serviced by Cross Country is only slightly better. This includes many other "Roadside Assistance" names including On-Star, Verizon, Farmers, and many others.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:53 AM   #5
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Going back a while here but I had a car badly damaged by a AAA tow vehicle after a breakdown. It was a BMW sedan that had been lifted by the back wheels and towed that way. When my mechanic got to it on Monday morning, he found the gas tank dented, cracked and leaking, the radiator cracked and leaking, the front sub-frame bent and the front shocks completely destroyed. Getting AAA to take responsibility proved impossible.

After weeks of letters and phone calls they finally brought the same tow truck back out to the garage where my car had been dropped off originally and hooked it up. Lo, for it was seen that the knuckles on the tow dolly did lineth up exactly with the damage on the gas tank... but even so they would not admit that they had anything to do with the front end damage. I eventually gave up and accepted about 1/4 of the actual costs of repairing the vehicle.

Not sure how typical this is but needless to say AAA is not a company I can or would recommend to anyone.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:55 AM   #6
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Here is a good thread:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11227

I will say AAA has sent me a couple of undersized trucks in the past even though I was specific about the weight. But they always got me to where I wanted to go. [edit] I've got the max towing package AAA has (Premier) mainly because I pull a trailer at times and only the premier card covers RV's in California.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:43 PM   #7
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

The few times we've needed to use AAA, it's been well worth the annual fee. The most recent was when the vacuum assist failed on The Van. I was about 92 miles from home, and was flatbedded to the Ford Dealer in Seattle for repair. I have the RV Plus coverage.

AAA has always been very responsive, no complaints from me!
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Old 06-22-2015, 12:22 AM   #8
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Also, I strongly recommend RV+ coverage for an SMB. The normal plans cover vans up to 10,000 pound or "serviceable with standard automative equipment". This could result in extra charges if the operator need a bigger truck. And... it will help ensure a big truck shows up in the first place.
+100 I also have RV+ with AAA.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:30 AM   #9
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Be careful about AAA.

What I didn't realize is that each regional AAA is different and has very different policies and features. For example, the Northern CA AAA doesn't do RVs, which my van is, obviously. Southern CA DOES do RVs. It's super difficult to suss this out, especially since their idiot web sites will keep spitting you to your local branch instead of the one you want. I was a NorCal member for years, but this exclusion for RVs, and ditto on their insurance on my van, caused me to bail on them. Fortunately, there's a nice guy from SoCal AAA who hangs on the rv.net boards who got me hooked up with a SoCal membership.

And SoCal has better maps (yeah, there are differences there too).

TL;DR: avoid NorCal AAA. It's all in the posts cited above, and apparently still applies.

And note differences between policies that run with the subscriber person and with the vehicle.

I find it hilarious that my friends with Class A's sometimes pay less for ERS than I do. Sigh.

Oh, I'm still waiting for the ERS that has evolved beyond 1999 and allows you to contact them via text messaging, which works better in poor reception areas, rather than voice. And so you could use it with a Delorme InReach, eg.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:53 AM   #10
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Re: Best Roadside Assist

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_gendreau
Be careful about AAA.

What I didn't realize is that each regional AAA is different and has very different policies and features. For example, the Northern CA AAA doesn't do RVs, which my van is, obviously. Southern CA DOES do RVs. I
This is just a membership thing and selling RV+, right?

If you have RV+ from another area and break down in NorCal -- will they help you?
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