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Keeping out of trouble: A caravanner’s guide to roadside assistance

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When you’re cruising across Australia enjoying the sights, the last thing you want is a flat tyre or mechanical problem to stop you in your tracks. If something does happen, however, how will your insurance policy perform in the situation? Will caravan roadside assistance turn up when you’re in the middle of nowhere?

Check your cover

Normally your caravan or trailer is covered by your car insurance, unless its weight is in excess of the legal limit.

Some firms will insure caravans but not motorhomes, as they are considered too heavy, too high or even too long. This can cause problems if you call road service while unaware of the delineation.

What if you need towing?

Your car and caravan might be covered for trailer roadside assistance; however, if it needs towing, that can be a different matter. Very few basic subscriptions cover heavy vehicle and country towing, so you will probably need to take out premium membership.

Read the detail, because limited services might also apply for vehicles where the length, height or weight of the nominated vehicle exceeds a specified amount (such as between two and four tonnes GVM).

Road service associations

All state road service organisations are affiliated through the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) and will service each other’s financial members on a reciprocal basis. So if you’re with RACQ but travelling through WA you’re covered.

Generally, top cover will ensure that if you need towing out in the bush, both car and caravan or trailer will be taken to the nearest service depot. The standard distance for most associations is up to 200km.

Take a look at what’s covered by your state association here:

What other options are there?

Some manufacturers offer several years’ roadside assistance as part of the initial warranty, so check that if you’re buying a new vehicle.

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) offers insurance to its members; if you think you might be ‘oversized’ that’s one way to ensure you’ll get towed where and when you need it.

Motoring 24/7 offers national roadside assistance for caravans and trailers but doesn’t operate in Tasmania and specifies in the fine print that vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross will either be excluded or charged extra. It offers roadside cover for motorhomes but states that towing is at the owner’s expense.

Generally, your motoring organisation will do everything they can to help you out of a tight spot. You can tip that in your favour by having the best cover possible and reading the fine print.

Roadside assistance rarely covers you if you get bogged. Here’s how to deal with that yourself.

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