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You will already be familiar with companies like the AA, RAC and Green Flag – nationally-known names that provide comprehensive breakdown and recovery services for cars.
In many cases, these companies will cover vans and motorhomes, too – but do you know whether they will cover your motorhome?
There are two factors to consider:
Size & Weight
The problem with motorhomes – particularly coachbuilt models – is that they can be fairly large for their weight when compared to the vans on which they are based.
In some cases, they are simply too large to be covered by breakdown and recovery services that are designed for cars. I must stress that this doesn’t apply to all motorhomes – but the responsibility is yours to check that your vehicle meets the breakdown company’s requirements.
Here’s what you should consider:
Under 3,500kg, most standard breakdown services will accept your vehicle. The AA, RAC and Green Flag all have a 3,500kg weight limit* for their standard breakdown policies.
If your motorhome has a maximum permitted weight over 3,500kg, then you will need a specialist recovery service. This should probably be a service aimed at large motorhomes, but for the largest of motorhomes and RVs, a heavy recovery service aimed at buses and lorries might be required.
Size – Length, Width & Height
Here are the current size restrictions* for UK breakdown cover from the three best-known companies:
RAC: 5.5m long / 2.3m wide (get a quote for RAC European Breakdown here) (Ad⇒)
AA: 2.3m wide (get a quote for AA European Breakdown here) (Ad⇒)
Green Flag: 7m long / 2.25m wide / 3m high
Additional size restrictions can apply to European breakdown services – my AA European Breakdown service (Ad⇒) policy specified a maximum length of 7m and a maximum height of 3m, in addition to the 2.3m width limit that applies in the UK.
Don’t forget that your length measurement must include any tow bar or rear-mounted bike racks, luggage boxes, etc..
Don’t forget that your height measurement must include everything – air vents, roof racks, TV aerials, etc..
What If My Motorhome Is Bigger Than That?
If you have a panel van conversion, your motorhome will probably fit inside the size limits of the breakdown policies discussed above (although height might be a problem).
If you have a coachbuilt conversion, you may find that your motorhome is too wide, even if it is not too heavy or too long.
If your motorhome is a professional conversion by a recognised company, then you shouldn’t have too much problem finding breakdown cover. Companies such as Safeguard, Britannia Rescue and Saga offer policies that will cover larger coachbuilt motorhomes – but often specify that they must be a recognised make and model – i.e. not a DIY conversion.
If your motorhome is a self-build conversion and very large, you may have difficulties finding regular breakdown cover and may have to consider using a service aimed at commercial vehicles (buses and lorries). This could be expensive – if anyone has any experience of having to do this, I’d be very interested to hear from them.
*All information correct according to company websites at time of writing (08/07/2009). No responsibility can be taken for incorrect information – please check before you buy.