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Breakdown Insurance


DeeTee
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In the olden days, fifty or sixty years ago when I were a lad, if roadside assistance was required it was generally provided through membership of one of the two motoring organisations, the RAC and the AA. Both organisations employed uniformed patrols equipped to assist with minor repairs. Any complaints of poor service were dealt with through both Clubs’ disciplinary procedures.

 

Currently however, roadside and home start assistance appears to be accessed through taking out an insurance policy to cover the likelihood of requiring assistance. This in turn is carried out by agents, franchisees and contractors. Any complaints now appear to be handled through the provisions of the Financial Services Act. The only customer guarantee is that the initial assistance will be provided within a certain timeframe, failure to do so entitles the insured to token compensation of approx ten pounds .

 

In the early part of last month as I was about to return home solo after returning my caravan to its storage site the car’s management system indicated an alternator failure.

 

I contacted the Breakdown service in the early morning and clearly explained the fault to the operator who sent a franchisee in a breakdown insurance liveried van. The franchisee stopped at the start of the half mile drive to the site and probably made a call to base to indicate his arrival at the GPS location. He arrived at my car three minutes outside the one hour guarantee but I did not quibble as the log tied into the GPS location would have shown him arriving on time. The operator checked the alternator to confirm the management system diagnosis, though it had been logged as a would not start. It was clear that this was not a roadside repair and as my breakdown insurance policy covered the vehicle to be recovered to a repairer or to my home, I felt that recovering it to my home would be the best option as there was no guarantee that a local repairer would be able to carry out the replacement on a while you wait basis. The operator arranged for recovery to my home and left the site.

 

Four hours later, that is five hours after my first call, a contract recovery vehicle arrived and the car was loaded onto it and driven to a motorway services area approximately half way to my home. The driver left me in the vehicle for what I thought was fag break and on his return he off loaded me and my vehicle and left the scene for me to wait for another recovery vehicle from the same company to hopefully relay me and my car to my home now 60 miles away. The reason the driver gave for the off loading was that he had to return the vehicle he was driving to his depot 75 miles away in order for it to be available to the night driver who apparently would only drive that particular vehicle from that depot. Before he left the driver suggested that as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast eleven hours earlier I could have a coffee and a sandwich in the services while I was waiting for the next relay vehicle and send the receipt to the company for whom he worked for reimbursement.

 

After I had a coffee and sandwich I got call from another driver to say that he had arrived at the services and couldn’t see my vehicle. The reason he couldn’t see my vehicle in the car park was that he was on the Southbound services and me and my car were on the Northbound side. The driver arrived a few minutes later and on discovering that my car was an estate car he was unable to load it as he was licence restricted and the combined mass would exceed his licence. :rolleyes:

 

Shortly after number two operative’s departure a huge van with a moving floor arrived and my car was loaded onto it and taken to and off loaded at one of the contractor’s depots, passing the driver’s depot on the way. After a twenty minute wait for the night duty driver my vehicle was loaded onto another vehicle and we proceeded with the final leg of the recovery journey arriving home almost twelve hours from my first call to the breakdown insurers. My regular journey time solo for the 132 miles is three hours and towing three and a half hours.

 

Having read the T&Cs of the breakdown insurance I later wrote to both the insurers and the relay contractor, not complaining but expressing my disappointment at the service I had received and in the case of the relay contractor also asking for re-imbursement of my expenses. A couple of weeks later I got cheques from both companies which more than covered one year’s breakdown insurance.

 

As a footnote, I was able to drive my car to my regular service garage where they fitted a replacement alternator for £60 less than I was quoted by the repairer near to where I had discovered the alternator failure.

 

Has anyone else had their vehicle relayed when being recovered ?

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I'm not sure if its still the same but the AA used to be called AA Relay, and entailed being towed from one AA centre to another, being unloaded and reloaded several times if you were going a great distance.

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Indeed, I was working as a patrol for the AA when that service was introduced.

 

I must say the OP's experience is pretty dreadful. I'm now with Britannia and on the few occasions I have used them they have been excellent. The last time was when I was towing a motorcycle trailer and my car lost its transmission fluid on the M42. The Britannia driver brought me home to drop off the bike and trailer then took my car to a local garage of my choice then brought me homw again. Excellent service in my book.

Ian.
2013 Freelander 2 SD4 Auto / 2005 Bailey Pageant Vendée; 1952 Norton ES2

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No consolation but it could have been worse if you'd had the van in tow. In fact you might still be there.

Cruzer, aka Colin

Growing old is unavoidable, growing up is optional. .. Hyundai Santa Fe & Bailey Pegeant Bretagne.

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I'm with Mayday & had a drive belt go in Dunoon, Stuarts Garage who run the Mayday service for the Green Flag took us from Dunoon to a garage in Rotherham, stopping only for a break at Layburn services.

 

Also had an accelerator cable snap at Sleaford, they took us & caravan to a CL site near Cromer, as it was late he said to give them a ring in the morning & they would take the car to the Garage, however it was easier for me to fit the cable than to trouble them again.

 

One of the reasons I'm a Caravan Club member :)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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My previous experience of my breakdown insurance was when I was in south west London with a blown turbo charger. A Transit with dolly was sent from a local contractor to take the car 230 miles to my home, which was accomplished in 5 hours excluding a short break at an MSA near the half way point.

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Mayday also, a few examples of major works since joining. ........speedy response Scottish Bank Holiday,Sterling, when smoke appeared on dashboard. ......swapped vehicles and brought me home to North Yorkshire in hardly more time than if I had driven. Christmas Eve, engine on new Jeep blew up and took me to dealership 30 miles away after checking that they had a loan vehicle,they did for a month.

Lost wheel on caravan, 20 minutes later arrived and got very dirty jacking 'van back up, took back to own depot for safety until Insurers made arrangements. .........

 

Yep. .......I am very happy.

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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A point woth considering, some car insurance companies push roadside and recovery, but check if it needs recovered you have a choice of taken home or to a garage of your choice, being towed to a local garage may see you being fleezed after all they know its a one off repair, had a friend get soaked big time for a failed turbo.

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A point woth considering, some car insurance companies push roadside and recovery, but check if it needs recovered you have a choice of taken home or to a garage of your choice, being towed to a local garage may see you being fleezed after all they know its a one off repair, had a friend get soaked big time for a failed turbo.

 

Good post. .. nearly happened to me 2 years ago just before Christmas.

 

Drive belt went 2 miles from home.

 

Mayday (Boarhunt at the time) came out within minutes and towed me to their depot.

 

The driver then drove me back to my house.

 

On the way he was spouting how it was a real earner for him as he got a good slice of the repair fee as it was after 5:30pm and he'd got the car back to their depot so his bosses got the job!

 

I went to bed disconcerted and resolved to call first thing the next day and invoke Green Flag's onward recovery.

 

I had the car transported to my usual Independent Audi Specialist Garage 22 miles away and got the job done a lot cheaper!!

 

As per the OP. .. most Recovery is now provided by an overall provider who contract out the work.

 

It's the quality (or otherwise) of the contractor that determines how satisfied the customer is!!

 

G

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I remember when they used to salute a member when they passed them.

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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My alternator went in the Alps last year, and the RAC were rubbish, as was their agent whom they sent to me, an interesting element was that :
They INSISTED I used their agent to carry out the repair. ...when the agent did not carry out the repair as arranged, the RAC INSISTED that they bear no responsibility for the performance of their agent QED. So it's win/win for them then! I will never use the RAC again

. ..just as a few years ago the AA lied to me when I was awaiting a recovery. They told me the truck was on it's way (after over an hour), but didn't appreciate I was ACTUALLY IN SIGHT of the appointed garage. ....so they can get stuffed too!

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It's worth remembering that both AA and RAC are owned these days by private equity groups whose sole purpose is to maximise short term profits regardless of long term viability and with even less attention to customer satisfaction. They do this by asset stripping and cutting costs (principally staff) as far as possible.

 

Just one reason why I stick with mutually owned Britannia / LV=.

Ian.
2013 Freelander 2 SD4 Auto / 2005 Bailey Pageant Vendée; 1952 Norton ES2

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One very cold New Years morning at 0200 I couldn't start the car at a family home, on Teesside, and called the AA with whom the company had an account. ....." be with you within 30 minutes"...so went back into the house where everyone was going to bed. .........after an hour rang again " on his way about another 15 minutes", got the same message half an hour on. When patrolman arrived he apologised but he had been attending a call-out in Gateshead, Tyneside, some 40 miles North, and was the only one covering the North East until another came on at 0600. ............we didn't re-new.

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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  • 1 month later...

I had an experience with RAC. I had driven to a vets approximately 10 miles from where I live and on route the cars back end kept trying to slide to one side. On arrival at the vets, I discovered the near side rear wheel red hot to touch, the brake caliper appeared to have seized. Called the RAC. The guy turned up. I explained what had gone on. He never even looked at the wheel. He just said there was nothing he could do but take it to a local garage. On arrival at Kwikfit some 50 yards up the road, they said they couldn't look at it until the next day. I said there was no way I was leaving the car and I wanted it taking to my garage just near where I lived. The RAC guy refused saying all he had to do was to bring the vehicle to a local garage for repair. To which I replied to him that I was leaving with my car and that he couldn't stop me. I promptly drove off back home and had the car looked at by my garage who took the wheel off, adjusted it with one if their fine precision adjustment tools ( a hammer ), tested it and it worked just fine from then on. ... Oh and no charge.

What annoyed me was that the RAC guy never even took the wheel off to have a look, just gave me the impression he couldn't be bothered and what would Kwikfit have done, replaced the caliper? Who knows. Suffice to say I cancelled my membership immediately. It was the first time I had used RAC and won't again. Green flag Mayday for me.

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We're with the AA & have had some good experiences with them. ..

 

Several years ago I was involved in an accident on The M1 (was cut up by a guy in a Merc & I swerved to avoid an accident & ended up clipping the central reservation & spinning down the motorway) I was recovered to the nearest services (Wooley Edge) where another recovery truck came along & took me all the way home to Gillingham (Kent).

 

More recently, I had a fuel leak on the jeep (split fuel hose just above the pump) AA came out once the fire service had been & made the area safe (which involved them letting my daughter help them wash the area down, & giving her a guided tour of the appliance, bless them :) ) but I needed a flat bed recovery - they didn't have one, so they rang & I asked for a partner company to come out rather than wait a couple of hours, which they duly sent & I was back home within the hour. Unfortunately my car has an LPG conversion, & to get to the petrol tank, the LPG tank had to be removed. My local garage isn't insured to work on LPG, so I rang the AA, & explained that had the 1st chap they sent told me this, I would have been recovered to the local LPG company (it is clear that the LPG blocks the access to the petrol system) They were great & did a second recovery to the LPG garage FOC.

 

Our dealings with AA have always been good - unfortunately they don't offer a service similar to MayDay - wish they did !!

2005 Bessacarr Cameo 635 gl & 2005 Nissan Terrano II SVE Di 3. 0l

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I've used them all & must say i've never been let down. While with the RAC, blew a head gasket on the M25 a few years ago in a cavalier that i'd bought for about £200 to use as work car. Picked up within an hour & taken back to Bristol, where we were living then, in about same time as would have driven myself. Joined the AA after that as they were cheaper & they were always good too. Blew the torque converter in my Voyager while away with the van. Picked up by one of their relay trucks within an hour of phoning, took me, car & van to storage, helped me put van away & then took car to my house. Couldn't fault them.

Only left AA as i now get breakdown with my bank account. called them twice now - once clutch went in Voyager last summer on way back from Norfolk - picked up within an hour & a half & taken directly home. last week had to phone again as the card key in Mrs W's Megane convertible stopped working so she couldn't start it. Turned up within 20 minutes, got it started & then followed her to a petrol station as she was low on fuel & didn't trust that she could start it again after filling up. Couldn't fault the service which as its provided by a bank, is franchised.

We also now have breakdown on motorhome & Mrs W's car free with our insurance policies, so despite the AA phoning & sending me letters asking me to rejoin, its just not worth it.

In fact i had them phone me couple of weeks ago saying they would beat any quote for breakdown service, so i pointed out that as I got it free, technically, to beat it, they'd have to pay me to take out their service. The operator didn't quite know what to say.

I refer you to the Rt Hon Member for the 19th Century.....................pictured just to the left of your screen..................

 

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