Roadside assistance when towing

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 19:49
ThreadID: 107411 Views:2594 Replies:12 FollowUps:12
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Just wondering if anyone has been let down by their roadside assistance package when towing their caravan?

I am looking at options for our caravan and have been astounded by some of the fine print like weight restrictions and size restrictions.


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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 19:52

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 19:52
I imagine the only ones that would be let down, would be those that don't adhere to the stated restrictions.

AnswerID: 531027

Follow Up By: Glenn Marshall - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 19:56

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 19:56
True Shaker, but the stated restrictions are not easily found, especially when looking online, that is why I was wondering if anyone had been caught out before.

FollowupID: 814052

Follow Up By: Peter W - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:22

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:22
Agree Glenn that they could be a little more obvious but they are there and I guess RACV and the like choose not to highlight restrictions as they are not good product "selling" points.
Disappointing if you have been caught out with the length of van restriction but in the past it has been pointed out to me that not many "agents" have the tray trucks to carry extended lengths.
Not sure what the answer is but ALWAYS necessary to go through all the fine and sometimes hidden print and ask the pertinent questions up front when buying.

FollowupID: 814058

Follow Up By: Member - Bentaxle - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 11:50

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 11:50
Shaker a friend of mine recently had an attempted break-in on his motor vehicle while he was at work, all they managed to do was to stuff up the drivers door lock. When he called the RACWA for roadside assistance to open the door, after explaining his problem he was told by the operator that it was not their concern as it was an attempted break -in it was therefore an insurance problem. After a prolonged discussion he asked to speak to a supervisor who reiterated what the operator had told him. When the person concerned got home, he sat down and read the glove box manual on road side assistance and came across a paragraph stating that roadside assistance will attend to solve the problem irrespective of the cause. He photocopied the relevant item and forwarded it of to RACWA with a covering letter asking for an explanation, as yet I believe he hasn't received a reply.
Sometimes it is not the fault of the company in question but rather with the person on the other end of the phone not being fully appraised of company policy.
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FollowupID: 814072

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 13:50

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 13:50
Gday Bentaxle,

Was the vehicle parked at his house, a caravan park or on the road somewhere?
Anywhere other than the "roadside" and needed help to get to their destination, I would tend to agree that its an insurance issue?
There aren't a mobile mechanic or maintenance company, just roadside assistance.........

FollowupID: 814079

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 16:15

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 16:15
We are also in the RAC WA.
The wife went to start the car while in our carport. It appeared that the battery was dead as no electrical power to anything. Called the RAC, they sent a van with a new battery, fitted and away she went.
I believe the assistance package is to get you going or get the vehicle towed. Whether it has been damaged or just stopped of it's own accord. I am not sure if the level of assistance cover has any bearing on how helpful they are though.

FollowupID: 814085

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:37

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:37
You'd imagine wrong Shaker. The guy on the ground seems to have a lot of discretion. One left me waiting for hours for a motorbike tow and then phoned to say he didn't have the gear. The guy in the neighbouring zone took pity and came out of his way. Later the RACV admitted that wasn't consistent with the contract and offered an extended tow for free but that wasn't much use days after the event.
FollowupID: 814103

Reply By: Member - KBAD - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:51

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:51
Helped an elderly couple out on the Nullarbor couple years ago on Xmas day their vehicle had split a rad hose and had a melt down they were QLD RAC members we drove into Mundrabilla RH to call the QLD RAC for them thought we would be driving on but after asking us for the members credit card in case there were extra charges (started to lose faith in them then) we gave them ours so at least they would try and dispatch help straight away. Left our camper trailer at the roadhouse the staff there were all bleep so no help, drove back patched their vehicle enough so they could limp into the Road house and we towed their van in passed the recovery truck just before the Road house all ended up ok.
Cut a long story short check any extra costs the company may want, and check on the coverage. I am happy with the RAC they have recovered us once when a motor blew and did a sterling job with a mate who wrote off his van and vehicle. Not all are that good and the service may vary when you leave the state they are in. If you do check on what they cover make sure you get it in writing. As for restrictions on the size and weight for recovery if it is that far out insurance won't be coughing up either, for a recovery process though if it is the vehicle they will tray it and tow the van. If the van is so damaged it can't be towed it will be recovered to the nearest town or roadhouse and trucked in later.
AnswerID: 531037

Reply By: Dave&Juls - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:55

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 22:55
RACV Total care was excellent after car broke down at kulgara NT, car on flat top with van hitched to back of tow truck and into Alice springs. No mention of length of van or weight.
AnswerID: 531038

Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 00:34

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 00:34
As the motoring organisations have reciprocal arrangements to use agents of their counterpart in other states, check you fine print and it will most likely say that the service maybe limited in some areas. Depending on what the agent has, he may not be able to tow larger vans, but in areas where the agent can, you should still get a service even if above the specified size at the discretion of the agent.

A higher level of cover may have an additional dollar amount to be used according to your needs to the limit of the amount, be it on hire car, accommodation or additional costs from the tow.


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AnswerID: 531042

Follow Up By: Member - Peter M (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 07:03

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 07:03
Good morning all
I have had to use the RACQ twice while towing our 20'6" Windsor (inside measurement). Once 50km outside Hughenden on the way to Richmond and last week near Townsville.
I have RACQ Ultimate cover and that increases the free towing distance.
In both cass they put the Patrol (with our 2 dogs inside) on the back of the tilt tray and towed our van, they had all the right electrical connections and all was good.
When we got back to Hughenden the RACQ bloke put the van into a van site at the caravan park for us and then took the Patrol to a service place.
My opinion of the RACQ and the affilliated services is very high.
PeterM (Qld)
FollowupID: 814063

Reply By: pepper2 - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 08:31

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 08:31
When i owned a landrover discovery,it broke down in north sydney when i was towing a lightweight camper.
Called landrover assist they sent a tilt truck to recover the disco but refused to allow the camper to be towed,advised me to leave it on the roadside...
AnswerID: 531049

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 09:13

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 09:13
I would think that with "road side assist" as provided by some vehicle manufacturers this is a bit different to that supplied by the motoring organisations in that the manufacturer has only agreed to recover the car not the van. Maybe the truck or whatever that is sent may or may not have the capacity to tow a van, camper or whatever.
Having said that, "money talks and bulls--t walks" as "they" say. Maybe a few shekels offered to the driver could overcome that obstacle if he actually is capable of doing the recovery.

FollowupID: 814069

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 14:08

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 14:08
I would have left the Land Rover on the side of the road!

Do you pay extra for roadside assistance owning a Land Rover?

FollowupID: 814080

Reply By: Rustynails59 - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 08:56

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 08:56
Hi, I have just gone through this
I'm with racv total care but for a van, their size limit is 22 feet all up- tow hitch to rear of van. They stated this is because if the van is to be towed on a flat tray, they aren't allowed to have any part of the van extending beyond the tray
I have a 23 foot van plus a frame so racv wasn't going to help me
I then found motoring 24/7
From what I can see, they won't cover vehicles over 20 years old or 3.5 ton but nothing mentioned about length
There are charges though for outback areas, and also if your vehicle is damaged in a collision - other insurance should apply here
Hope this helps
AnswerID: 531052

Follow Up By: Glenn Marshall - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:51

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:51
Thanks Rusty, and 22 feet isn't that long either?
FollowupID: 814107

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 14:05

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 14:05
Gday Glenn,

Cant you just email them the specs of your set up and ask if they cover it?
AnswerID: 531065

Follow Up By: Glenn Marshall - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:53

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:53
Haha, that would be too easy Hairy
FollowupID: 814109

Reply By: - Johny boy (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 15:54

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 15:54
Hi all,
Unfortunately I'm able to tell a story also and this one is very recent, I live in Penrith ,SYD and we were 8 hours south near the boarder ,just leaving camp with the van hitched on the back on Saturday (yes EASTER Saturday ) we had a bad shake on the cruiser and pulled into the first town we came across it was unable to be fixed so we called the NRMA, the NRMA worked hard to find us a truck that was a duel cab so it could load my car on the tray and hook the van on the back with me in the front seat and my wife ,15 and 11 yr old sons and Diesel our English staffy sat in the back, because it took so long to organize we limped to a close by van park and took off 1st thing Sunday morning, the driver was absolutely brilliant and we had a great trip back, we had top level cover called premium care and I had to pay the difference which was $500 as it was a $3500 tow but hey I would of used $200 diesel and I expected to pay an excess, all I can say is don't even think of travelling without this cover because anyone's car or van can breakdown.

Regards John.
AnswerID: 531074

Follow Up By: Glenn Marshall - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:56

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 20:56
Thanks John, that "excess" is the big worry, especially if we need to use roadside care when outback. Hard to budget for.
FollowupID: 814110

Reply By: evaredy - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 18:21

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 18:21
I currently have the second highest cover with RAC, but need to move up to the the highest.

When trying to sort through the fine print online, I did notice that it stated that for other areas outside the metro area, it was up to the agent what was towed. I guess this is because depending where you are, they may not have anything big enough.

Although If I am paying top dollar, I would expect that my camper be towed as well as the Dmax. Even if it meant they had to go back to get it, depending on distance of course.
AnswerID: 531081

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 22:59

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 22:59
Remember these roadside assistance groups are structured arround joe average in the family station waggon.....everything they do and everything they think about is in the light of that.

If you have something large or out of the ordinary, you may have a problem.

A friend of mine gave up on RACQ, because at one time he was driving an "exotic european car"..he had a minor problem, but the roadside mechanic was simply not interested in doing anything but towing the vehicle.

If you are towing a large fifth wheeler with a chevy silverado.....that is going to be beyond what the road side assistance groups are interested in or equipped to deal with.

I can understand them drawing the line at a 22 foot van.

most medium rigid tilt trays will just fit a 20 foot container on the tray and only be able to carry it empty.

Quite a lot of "normal" tilt tray tow trucks will not accomodate a fully loaded landcruser.

By the time you build a tilt tray on a medium rigid truck, particularly a duel cab you would be pushing to put 3 tonnes on the tray legally.

The other old chestnut, is the tow driver, only being prepared to recover the vehicle and the driver.....Single cab truck with one pasenger seat........that leaves the pasengers in an interesting position.

all worth thinkimng about and in advance.

AnswerID: 531098

Reply By: evaredy - Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 08:21

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 08:21
If you are out in the country and break down, with the top line of cover the RAC will arrange transport of driver and up to 4 passengers.
when more than 100k's from home you are entitled to $1260 for car hire and or accommodation.

You are also allowed 2 tows per incident, so I am wondering if those that have large vans can use both to have there vehicle towed and then have there van towed.

I have asked the RAC to send me either a PDS or the Terms and Conditions for their Roadside Assist, so I can get a better idea of what the limitations are.
AnswerID: 531104

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 19:49

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 19:49
I was pondering this a couple of years ago and settled for the RACQ top cover which will cover my vehicle up to 4.5 tonnes and the van. The interesting part for me is that should the vehicle need the tray then its length and weight are constraining factors and I was informed when I was at Roper Bar yacking with the store owner that the guy servicing that area has/had three different size vehicles and I would need to make it clear that I have larger vehicle to make sure the right vehicle is sent.

Fortunately it was not needed but the time to worry is when you at home nice a comfortable and not when broken down.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 531131

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