Motorhome breakdown cover is not quite as simple to buy (or sell) as car breakdown cover, mostly because motorhomes can come in such a wide range of sizes and weights.
The word motorhome could be used to describe an 5 tonne, 8 metre, 3-axle coachbuilt that’s 2.3m wide – or it could describe a 2.8t, 5m long panel van conversion that’s under 2m wide. The latter could be towed or recovered by most car recovery vehicles – the former most definitely could not (and that’s without even considering American RVs, which are even bigger and heavier…)
The reality*, as far as I can tell, is that many car-focused services will also cover most standard panel vans up to 3,500kg. My AA UK cover, for example, covers cars, vans, minibuses and motorhomes, as long as they are:
- Under 2.3m in width
- Under 3,500kg in weight
The AA doesn’t seem to specify a maximum length or height – but the width specification pretty much rules out coachbuilt motorhomes meaning that standard panel vans are the largest vehicles that can be covered. In turn, this effectively means a maximum length of about 7m, which the AA can presumably handle comfortably. The RAC, on the other hand, have a length limit of 5.5m while Green Flag specify 7m and a slightly lower width of 2.25m.
You get the idea – car breakdown services aren’t suitable for coachbuilt motorhomes, but many panel van conversions can be covered, especially by the AA and Green Flag.
So Who Can Help?
Anyone who drives around the UK with their eyes open will have noticed that coachbuilt motorhomes far outnumber panel van conversions. Clearly, some of them breakdown, and equally obviously, they will have breakdown cover.
One of the most common solutions seems to be for UK and European breakdown cover to be included with motorhome insurance policies. Large motorhome insurers such as Saga (over 50s), Comfort and Safeguard all offer this service (I believe) and in most cases there are no concerns about size and weight restrictions; although these do still exist*, they are high enough to include most coachbuilt motorhomes. Most of these policies also require that the vehicle was professionally converted and registered as a motorhome from new.
In extreme cases – such as with American RVs or self-converted lorries that have been turned into motorhomes – it may be necessary to get either HGV or Coach-type recovery. Again, this might be available with insurance, but it might not, especially for DIY conversions.
Breakdown Cover For DIY Motorhome Conversions
I drive a self-built motorhome, but it’s a panel van conversion and is small enough to be covered by the AA’s standard UK and European Breakdown services. (Incidentally, I have used the European service and recommend it. Excellent, from start to finish).
To be honest, I’m not sure what the best breakdown cover solution would be for very large or heavy DIY motorhome conversions. I’d probably try getting van or truck cover – but I suspect it could be expensive. A ‘recovery only’ option would probably be cheapest – anyone out there who has done this and has some concrete information?
*All the information in this article is based on my non-exhaustive research and may not always be accurate or current. Please make sure that any breakdown cover you are purchasing will actually cover your motorhome – length, height, width and total weight are all factors that can affect cover. If you have a DIY conversion, make sure that your cover will include this, too – some policies insist that the vehicle was first registered as a motorhome and is a recognised professional conversion.