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Old 06-05-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
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Emergency roadside service

Having been with a friend who had an extremely frustrating experience with getting a tow via ERS, I checked with AAA and found I am NOT covered for my van.

I am thinking of going with Good Sam, which I had before and let lapse (can't remember quite why, which left me for a while with basically nothing since I had AAA).

My friend had State Farm, who seems to contract with the same Miami firm as Good Sam, but he got much better service through Good Sam. Ultimately he used AAA, which towed his supercab dualie (they are specifically INCLUDED in AAA's policy).

Anyone know of another good provider? It's awful hard to choose since they promise anything until the wrecker shows up (you'd never know a SMB would be excluded by reading anything on AAA's website, and it's even unclear that their "RV" coverage is only for UT). Thank goodness with Google I no longer need their maps.

Rob
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Emergency roadside service

Do you have a 4x4 SMB? Is that why it's not covered? Hoping my 2WD SMB is OK with them. Let us know why you aren't covered.

I just ordered a bunch of AAA maps and books for my upcoming trip, and was surprised that the campground directories are now really nice and complete, as they are done in conjunction with Woodalls for 2013. They are published in several volumes, too, which is nice because you don't need to lug around the entire USA if you are traveling in just one region.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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Re: Emergency roadside service

I believe you need to upgrade to the RV version of AAA to have your SMB covered. It has worked great for us on two different occasions with no problems on the towing aspect at all.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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Re: Emergency roadside service

There are some older posts here about someone's adventures with AAA and towing that don't reflect well on AAA, but I can't find them now.

I asked, giving them the info they wanted (this is California AAA), which was weight (8900 lbs), make and model (Ford E250). It is a 4x4, but they never asked about that (the previous posts noted they objected to a height over 14' or so of combined van and flatbed, so 4x4 might matter. But again, she didn't ask). They did inquire about a fridge (she was obviously going back and forth with a supervisor); I explained it had one, but NOT propane (2-way). They said nope, no tow.

If you happened to get a good contractor they might tow you without blinking...but per AAA they'd be able to refuse you. Ironically, they refused to insure my van as a RV but now they won't tow it because it's an RV (the lack of an installed toilet did me in on that one).

Needless to say you might get by. Or you might be paying for an illusory promise. Here's what they say online:

Quote:
Automobiles, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans, minivans and light-utility motor vehicles (including rented and commercial passenger vehicles, but excluding taxicabs, limousines, shuttles and other vehicles-for-hire) are eligible for those services which can be safely performed with equipment available from the independent service provider, including slings, wheel-lift devices, car carriers (flatbeds) and dolly wheels .
Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are eligible for service with the exception of towing, extrication/winching and tire change service . Towing, extrication/ winching and tire change service for RVs is available with Optional RV and Motorcycle Roadside Assistance . RVs include motor homes, camper vans and cab-over campers, and recreational trailers including camping trailers, fifth-wheel trailers and empty horse trailers . Boat trailers, personal watercraft trailers and ATV trailers must be either empty or transporting recreational vehicles or equipment . Utility trailers must be carrying recreational equipment (for non-commercial use) . Commercial trailers are excluded . Service does not include transportation of horses .
Note "van." But RVs ("camper vans") are excluded from towing (and now AAA says Im an RV, although their insurance people say I'm not; depends on whether you're trying to get the benefit you paid for).

And as I previously noted, they said optional RV coverage isn't available to me as a resident of CA but was available in UT. Dunno why that is, I think SoCal AAA offers it (Im in NorCal).

So I'd say your SMB is NOT COVERED for towing unless you are in an area that gives RV Plus or Premiere and the RV towing coverage. Check. But you still get free maps....
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: Emergency roadside service

Got SOOO jealous that SDwindandsea (San Diego, yah?) gets it and I don't that I contacted the "Automobile Club of Southern California" by deleting all the cookies I had that kept steering me to calstate.aaa.com, which is "AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah." Aha, they seem to be separate entities.

I call SoCal and they said it's OK to join them instead of NorCal, although it's "best" to join your local club because I may not be able to get services in NorCal if Im a SoCal member (but I have always gotten SoCal maps from their offices since I actually like SoCal's maps better, although most of the big state ones are the same. So maybe the DMV services won't work for me if I join in SoCal, but the towing is SO much more important. So the solution might be to go with LaLaLand's offering.

Another thing to note: careful reading of the AAA policies seems to indicate they base the services on the MEMBER, while Good Sam bases it on the vehicles. Hence my friend got a tow via his passenger's AAA. Good Sam, however, can give your friend a tow if he's driving your vehicle but you aren't even there. Both have advantages I guess.

Rob
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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Re: Emergency roadside service

Very interesting. I'm a 'plus' member and have always assumed my van would be covered. I'm kind of afraid to call now in fear that they might charge me more. Also, mine is a homebuild conversion, so I'm wondering if that would just be considered a van. Being 2wd, it doesn't look any different than a regular church van with a fiberglass top except for the furnace vent on the side.

hmmmmmm
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:00 PM   #7
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Re: Emergency roadside service

Basically, if the van needs more than "standard automotive towing equipment" which AAA defines as a 19' Roll-back with a 10k deck, than you need RV+ coverage. It's about $3 more a month. Many camper vans are either too long, tall, or heavy for a standard roll-back.

Scotty, depending you you are loaded you may be able to get by with regular coverage, but I would recommend RV+ anyways, because if it turns out a bigger truck is needed, RV+ covers it, even if they end up sending out a 6-axle Peterbilt wrecker or a Landoll. RV+ also covers motorcycles too FWIW, and AAA actually required contractors to have motorcycle equipment in order to be dispatched a motorcycle tow (I've seen other services send out a flat-bed, and strap the bike down on the kick-stand which is no-bueno).
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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Re: Emergency roadside service

I have both regular AAA (SoCal) and Good Sam. Between regular vehicles, tow rigs, and two different trailers, I think it's money well spent to be covered in all circumstances.

Keep in mind that I no longer have an SMB.

If nothing else, the AAA fee is worth for nothing more than DMV services. I don't think I've ever waited more than 10 minutes there. Not all DMV services are offered, but more than enough to make it worthwhile.


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Old 06-05-2013, 06:37 PM   #9
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Re: Emergency roadside service

I may go BroncoHauler's route.

Coupla other tidbits to consider. The standard coverage of many policies, if they even agree to tow you, gets you to nearest repair facility (or 7 miles, 100 miles, or 200 miles with AAA; I think to nearest shop or 100 miles with Good Sam's Platinum+). We were in Mammoth, and my buddy blew a tranny. The little shops in Mammoth and Bishop basically were gonna be lost with it; calls to them revealed they'd only once worked on an Allison and weren't familiar with the details of the code it threw. And BTW, not all of these have lifts that can take a big SMB. My friend wanted Gardnerville, since there's a good transmission shop there, but couldn't convince State Farm. Replacing that tranny is about $5k, so it matters.

With the RV+ of AAA, he get's 100 free miles, which almost got him there; it was $7/mi for about 8 more miles. That shop may end up doing the work without just throwing up their hands and saying he needs a rebuilt one. So the extra you spend on RV+ or the equivalent at Good Sam may be money well spent. Dunno about the East, but here in the west it can be a LONG way to a proper shop. And if one shop can't do it, the lower level benefit won't give you another tow on the same incident, while the upper levels might.

And here again the nature of the SMB can sometimes hurt us. My other friend, with a ginormous Class A, has no problem with standard Good Sam since he needs a special truck and the facilities that can repair it are basically truck stops. But with a van? they look it up as "Ford E350" and just send you to the nearest auto repair place, which may or may not be any good. Ironically we may have to pay more even for the tow to a better mechanic that the other RVers get for less. Grr.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:45 PM   #10
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Re: Emergency roadside service

FWIW - I also carry State Farm towing coverage. State Farm only tows to the nearest city with a repair shop, but they cover things AAA doesn't. AAA won't cover extraction if you intentionally leave the roadway, but State Farm will. But AAA covers trailers if you have RV+.
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