Motorhome insurance advice - the right breakdown cover
Getting your breakdown cover included with your motorhome’s insurance sounds like a great plan, but there are pitfalls to look out for. We get advice friom leading motorhome insurance provider, Comfort Insurance
If there’s one scenario that’ll have your blood pressure going through the roof, it’s being let down by your breakdown provider when you need it the most.
If you’ve scraped your motorhome, or it has failed to proceed, the last thing you need – especially when you’re far away from home – is somebody telling you that you’re stranded because you failed to check the small print, so your breakdown cover is invalid.
Some of the exclusions and restrictions that often apply include the number of breakdowns; a maximum of six in any 12-month period isn’t unusual.
Also, any breakdown often has to be at least a mile from home, unless you’ve got home start cover.
Most recovery policies have length, height, width and weight limits; there’s often an age cap, too.
You’re also restricted with where you can take your motorhome; suffer terminal engine failure in Kazakhstan and you’ll be disappointed if you’re hoping for a free ride back to the UK.
All policies come with extra benefits, either as standard or optional extras. Accommodation, a replacement vehicle, a hire car, lost keys – these are just some of the typical perks that come with your breakdown cover.
But all will come with their own terms and conditions, so don’t take anything for granted.
The thing is, because breakdown cover is an add-on for many policies (and even when it isn’t), any associated terms and conditions aren’t always spelled out in your policy documents, so don’t be afraid to probe – although it’s not always obvious what questions you need to ask. Whether your breakdown cover is an add-on or integral with your motorhome’s insurance, whoever provides it will have a set of terms and conditions and they should be available for you to peruse.
We spent some time trawling through a few of these documents, and suffice to say that we’ve found the perfect cure for insomnia, but an hour spent scrutinising this small print could save you a lot of hassle, grief and expense later on.
For example, even if your motorhome is insured for business use you might find that it isn’t covered by your recovery provider. If it is covered you’ll be able to get it taken to a single location, but if this proves unsuitable you’re on your own as it won’t be taken any further. And if you call for help within 24 hours of taking out cover you might find that you’re turned away.
What Motorhome magazine reader, John O’Callaghan, got in touch with an interesting observation. John told us, “I changed breakdown providers last year and had to call them out earlier this year, while in France. The call handler said she was checking with the DVLA that my vehicle was taxed and MoTd and if these were not valid, they would refuse assistance. I have never encountered this before, but it was buried in the general conditions sent to me; how many people read these? I have been abroad before now when the tax or MoT have expired, so it’s disturbing to think that I may not have been covered. Many motorhome owners could be setting off abroad without cover unknowingly”.
This condition isn’t unique to motorhome owners; it applies to car owners, too. Indeed, many breakdown terms and conditions are imposed on any vehicle and its owner and it’s not unknown for a motorhome owner to take out a regular breakdown policy on their vehicle, only to find motorhomes are specifically denied cover as it’s not uncommon for a ‘vehicle with living accommodation’ to be excluded.
This is why it’s worth getting your cover bundled in with your motorhome’s insurance.
But Ben Cue, Director of Operations at Comfort Insurance, comments, “Always be careful with breakdown policies that are given away with insurance cover. Often there will be more restrictions and, for most motorhomers who travel around Europe, they need a comprehensive policy. One area to look out for is the amount of repatriation cover. It can be very expensive to get a vehicle back to the UK after a breakdown in Europe. If the policy only has a £1,000 limit, that will not be enough to repatriate a 3-tonne vehicle. Our advice is firstly check the key facts. This should bring out the main points and will save scouring through the policy booklet only to find restrictions in the small print.”
Go it alone with your breakdown cover and you could end up having all sorts of fun and games if it all goes pear-shaped while you’re touring continental Europe. Or even when you’re in the UK, for that matter.
Every month, we will publish the next article in this series, which first appeared in the May 2017 issue of What Motorhome magazine.
For more advice on motorhome insurance, conatct Comfort Insurance on 0800 0304 206.