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What’s the best RV road service for you?

It’s a perennial question among RVers: Which emergency road service (ERS) is the best? If you Google the question, seems like everyone has an opinion. Trouble is, too many who bugle “such and such” a road service as the best have a stake in the game. Some get kickbacks if you click the link from their site and sign up. How can you get an objective look into what’s truly the best service for you?

You helped us answer the question of best road service

We’ve done our best to answer that question by asking it of our readers. Hundreds of RVTravel.com readers took our survey. We didn’t just ask, “Which one do you like best?” We dug for details. How easy was it to deal with the dispatcher? How long did you have to wait for the service truck to arrive? Did the service truck even arrive? These and other questions help you look past the hype and get down to the details you’ll need to make an informed choice. And yes, we asked just how likely (or unlikely) was it that you’d recommend a given emergency road service to a friend or family member.

In our survey, we offered options to report on various ERS providers. Readers could choose from AAA, Allstate, Coach Net, FMCA, and Good Sam. We also offered an “other provider” block for other services. Among the “other” providers, respondents often included the Escapees Club road service, and service by Progressive. There were a few others, but sadly, the number of responses made them statistically difficult to evaluate. Please know we appreciate your answers, even if the service you evaluated doesn’t appear in our results list.

Here are the number of participants by service provider: AAA = 252; Allstate = 14; Coach Net = 136; FMCA = 50; Good Sam = 262; Other = 38 (divided among several companies, and too few to factor into the percentages); Total = 752.

So, without further ado, let’s look at what you told us.

First contact with road service provider

After whatever evil has befallen your RV, the first step in getting road service help is contacting the dispatcher. When ERS plans first had their advent, contact by telephone was the only way to get help. Now most ERS plans offer “an app for that,” where folks with smartphones can simply punch a few buttons to request help. You told us about your experiences with both telephone and app contact. We’re including the results, but we should mention, an extremely small number of survey respondents use apps. Of the major ERS providers, only about 16% of our respondents have ever tried using the option.

All of the graphs in this article can be clicked on to expand.

So the question, If you’ve called for emergency road service by telephone, how easy was it to deal with the dispatcher?

bestWhile responses ran a scale from “very easy” to “I found it slightly frustrating” and “I had real problems with them,” we’re including the “top and bottom” results for ease of presentation. So here’s what many would call the best of the services.

bestHere are the responses on which ERS dispatchers were the most difficult to deal with. In this case, the ERS provider ranked with the most “problems” in dealing with the dispatcher fell to Allstate, while the fewest issues were reported with Coach Net.

We’ll deal similarly with experiences using an ERS app. If you’ve used an app for requesting emergency road service, how easy was it to get help using the app?

bestHere’s who ranked well among those who said, “No problems, every easy,” in using the app. Nobody reported having “no problems” in using the Allstate app, hence the 0%.

bestAnd here are responses marked, “I had real problems with it.” Here several providers had no responses to the question.

Waiting for the dispatcher

Another way to ferret out which ERS is best for you is wait time. Sitting beside the freeway with semi-trucks blasting by inches from your motorhome isn’t the easiest stress-reducer. You want help quickly. But before the tow-truck rolls your way, the dispatcher has to get one out to you. We asked, If you’ve called for road service by phone, how long did you wait for confirmation that arrangements had been made for service? This was NOT a measure of time you had to wait for the truck, ONLY the time waiting to hear from your ERS that they had found help.

In our response box, we allowed you to gauge the time in various intervals, for example, “Less than 10 minutes,” running up the scale in increments. To get an average response time we had to make some assumptions, but these were applied equally to all ERS providers. Here’s what we found.

bestWe think this is a pretty good measure of an ERS provider’s efficiency. It could indicate how many dispatchers the outfit has. Too few, one dispatcher will be working multiple cases at once, and you’re just “one cog in the works.” There’s a big difference of waiting around a half-hour to hear that help is coming, to nearly an hour of agony.

bestIn the bleakest area, here are the results of those who told us they’d asked for help, but the dispatcher couldn’t find help for them. Results show the percentage of time that a given ERS user couldn’t get help, out of all calls made.

Waiting for the truck for road service

But just having dispatch tell you that help is on the way doesn’t mean your troubles are over. Tapping your foot waiting for the driver to appear at your window is quite another matter. Of course, there are a lot of factors that can affect how long it takes help to arrive. Bad weather is notorious in making for long waits, as tow companies are stretched with tons of customers. And if you’re making that “bucket list” trip through Alaska, the truck yard may literally be hours from your location. But here’s the average response time across all providers, again with assumptions made, but equally applied.

Here are some “brass tacks” from the survey we couldn’t easily graph. Of all the time intervals reported on, here are the most frequently reported by percentage for each provider—that is, the most common wait time reported.

  • Waited more than a half-hour, but less than an hour: AAA and Allstate.
  • More than an hour, but less than two hours: Coach Net, Good Sam, and FMCA.
  • Waited more than two hours, but less than three hours: Progressive.
  • An equal number of respondents reported wait times for Escapees ERS to be more than two hours but less than three, and more than three hours but less than four—12.5% each response.

The worst case scenario is that your the tow truck never came. It happened to readers from all ERS providers. Here’s the graph:

bestCost of provided materials

Imagine being stranded beside the road with a flat tire—and no spare. Or a starting battery gives up the ghost in the middle of nowhere. ERS providers will bring you things like these—but, of course, you’ll likely pay for them. We’ve received reports from readers that sometimes it appears an ERS provider will “pad” the bill for those things. Here’s what you told us about that.

If your road service provider ever brought you a tire, a battery, or fuel, how would you rate the price you had to pay for the product? Responses in percentages.

Who would you recommend to your friends or family—or NOT?

Finally, we asked our respondents about just how likely they were to recommend a given ERS plan to a friend or family member. Four choices of response were given, and we’ve graphed the “Definitely likely,” and the “Not at all likely” responses.

best From this aspect, there’s not much to argue about who “takes the cake.”

bestDoes the road service plan offer what you need—for the right price?

That’s a lot of material to digest. But there’s more to picking the best ERS plan for your needs. Here’s a chart that shows which plan offers what benefits, and the annual cost of each plan. Note, some plans offer an enticing “first year rate,” and then jump higher at renewal time. We’re showing the renewal rate. You can click on the chart to enlarge it.

best

In evaluating what plan is best for you, ALWAYS check the fine print. Prices and services can change. We could goof and provide information that isn’t accurate. Read the offers closely and make sure they meet your needs. And for folks who’d like to see the fine print in our survey, you can click to read the specific results by the numbers, here.

##RVT1066

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Craig B
1 month ago

AAA RV assistance has let us down twice. Earlier this year they completely mismanaged our request and lost it and never responded. Had to change the tire ourselves in 87F heat and sun. Two days ago they mismanaged our call again. Trouble at 2pm on an interstate shoulder and was promised at 3pm but did not come until 5pm. We called back 3 times to get them to respond. They handle cars well. But when it is for a trailer or other RV, if the initial provider can’t handle the call it does not get forwarded to someone who can. I’ll use them for cars but never again for our trailer.

StudentB
1 month ago

Great survey! I have a related question about a long term RV breakdown (1-2 weeks) for someone traveling with dogs. I have been searching for insurance that would cover the cost of lodging for my 3 dogs if my motor home broke down. The motor home is our home. Does anyone know companies that cover emergency dog lodging?

Putnam Jack
1 month ago

I want to clarify my very positive response for AAA. I was in Alberta, about 120 mi. S of Calgary, when my turbocharger sheared its shaft, spread oil and metal shavings everywhere. Tried to move in limp mode but did not get far. Called AAA (I’m a member in WA) and they kept me appraised as they tried to get tow service. Finally able to get a truck from Calgary who came after the job he was working. Took the appropriate steps to tow me (separate the drive train), and towed me the 120 ml. to Calgary, stopping at their office in route for rest stop and provided coffee. He contacted the Mercedes dealer (Lone Star in Calgary) to which we were headed to advise them we would arrive after closing. When we arrived, the manager was there to greet us and arrange a spot to park the RV, (with us in it) for the night. Three days later, all repaired and on our way, covered by warranty, all verified by Progressive, our policyholder. Driver and dealer made a difficult situation tolerable.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Putnam Jack

Hi, Putnam Jack. Good to hear from you. Thanks for the great report. Sorry it took awhile to approve it. It was being held for moderation because you don’t have any approved comments under this name. (But I know who you are. 😀 ) Was fixing my dinner and came back to eat it while working, and here you were, waiting patiently. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

Judy Robinson
1 month ago

Last year I had a tire blow out. I forgot I had coverage. I look up tire company for the nearest city, I had just pasted. My first call said they did not carry that big of tire but told me to call another company with mobile service. I did and they sent out the truck. I waited about one half hour, and he was super nice. I am not sure I am going to renew my tire coverage. With cell you can look up people yourself. You could help your ERS service providers by giving them names to call. Judy

Ronmcclain
1 month ago

One caution about AAA. Each region is different about RV coverage. They may or may not have RV coverage and if they do they may discontinue! They did it to me twice!

Heather
1 month ago

Thank you so much RVtravel & everyone who took the poll! It really helps to know which RV Roadside Services actually come through & deliver. Good to see AAA is 2nd/3rd best, I’m happy with them for auto service, but as their RV coverage costs almost as much as Coach Net, might as well do Coach Net.

Lance Craig
1 month ago

Thank you for a really useful analysis of competing plans. I was preparing a comparison for our club chapter, but your effort and inclusion of survey results saves me a lot of time and effort. This type of article brings real value to the RV Travel newletter. Well done!

Heather
1 month ago
Reply to  Lance Craig

Hear, hear!

Pete Morris
1 month ago

How many people responded to the survey?

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete Morris

Hi, Pete, and others with the same question. The number of people responding to the surveys has been added to the report. I think Russ was so focused on the percentages and compiling this huge amount of information that he inadvertently left those numbers out. We apologize for the oversight. –Diane

Last edited 1 month ago by RV Staff
allen cunningham
19 days ago
Reply to  RV Staff

i was not asked to participate

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
19 days ago

Hi, Allen. The report was based on the results of a poll we ran in a newsletter in early August, so you must have missed it. Sorry. Have a good evening/night. 😀 –Diane

Tim Nolte
1 month ago

We recently broke down on our return trip home from a 2 week camping trip. Progressive was terrible going so far as to initially say that we would have to wait until the next day to get a tow. That was after being stranded for hours during the week when we broke down at 2pm in the afternoon not more than 15 miles from a major city. I will never recommend Progressive. I signed up for Good Sam that same day and was thankful I did as we ended up breaking down again the next day after a repair. And Good Sam did right by us.

I may consider Coach-Net after seeing these responses though I feel like it probably always makes a huge difference where you are actually broken down. I think it would be very beneficial to actually have the survey indicate the location services were needed. That may reveal a lot more about what service is best based on where you may end up travelling.

Mark
1 month ago

We were covered by CoachNet for the first year when bought a new class-C motorhome (included in the purchase price). We have stayed with them ever since. We have used their services twice with excellent service. We are very happy that our RV dealer chose to include a one year membership in CoachNet in the purchase.

cee
1 month ago

I’ve never had to use my service but after looking at the results I’m pleased I have Coach-Net.

Thank you for your efforts to compile this info.

Karen
1 month ago

Thank you so much for this analysis! As newbies we chose Good Sam and were very disappointed with our first interaction. This not only gives us an idea of what to really expect for responsiveness but other options to consider. Well done!

Spike
1 month ago

I have been renewing with Coach -Net Premiere for motorized and it’s $159 annual. The initial price is $249, then it drops $90 for renewal. The chart shows the initial price, not renewal.

Last edited 1 month ago by Spike
Heather
1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Thanks for letting us know, Spike.

John groom
1 month ago

The absolute best article on this critical insurance issue. I have the confidence that this study info was impartially gathered and results represent w gay really was determined. Yes, I’m moving my business.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  John groom

Hi, John. Thank you for your comment. I’m trying to figure out what “w gay” should be. If you let me know, and if you’re not able to edit it, I’ll do it. Thanks! Have a great day. 😀 –Diane

Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Agree with John. Good survey. Thanks

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Thanks, Steve. Russ and Tina did a fantastic and very thorough (and very time-consuming) job compiling the results. I’m sure it’ll help some of our readers when making a choice of which ERS provider to go with, based on their fellow RVers’ experiences. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane

Jim
1 month ago

This is nice but the number of respondents could skew results. What was minimum number before putting data in?
Progressive seems to have the most market share for rv insurance and I am curious how many responded with Progressive.
Almost all the folks I know with Diesel Pushers and Super C seem to gravitate to Coach-net.
I never had to use it so I don’t have data. My coverage is Progressive.

HappyCamper7424
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I agree, would be useful to know the number of respondents for each.

Dr4Film
1 month ago

I have been with the #1 Emergency Roadside Service for a Class A coach but also includes all of my other vehicles and trailers, Coach-Net. Been with them since May 2010 and will NOT change as they have been the BEST.

Donald Galey
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

I agree about Coach-Net being the best. Air lines melted from a pipe blowing off the back -side of the turbo. Coach-Net responded in a very short time and was going to tow me to the nearest freightliner dealer 40 miles away, but they couldn’t look at it for 2 weeks. That didn’t work for my travel schedule so Coach-Net offered to tow the motorhome an additional 130 miles to a freightliner dealer that could fix it the next day at NO charge to me. I’m wondering if any other road service would have done that. I doubt it.

Thomas D
1 month ago

After looking at wait times, I think buying a 20 ton bottle jack and a breaker arm extension was the right move. Changed my own tire along side the highway. 2 hours to wait and another hour to get confirmed. Doesn’t sound like fun . Course, everyone isn’t capable.

Richard Hughes
1 month ago

We recently had our fridge quit. Southern Idaho. All mobile repair services did not answer or return calls. On the Alcan we hit a rock and busted one of the dual tires. No cell service, rented coach, no spare. Luckily, we were helped by the family of a First Nation Chief. A new tire was installed and the rental company refunded the costs. Oh, no dealer service department in Idaho Falls would schedule us in before November. We are back in AZ and our local, independent shop got us right in for repairs on the fridge.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Lucky me, I have AAA and Good Sam.

Tom 2424
1 month ago

Super helpful… A great service to the RV community.

As an individual, it was difficult for me to get anything beyond anecdotal data. I had switched from Coach Net to Good Sam (since the latter seemed to offer more RV park discounts), but clearly I am going to be switching back.

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