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Insurance, Vehicle & Towing, Taxes, and Lifestyle Costs Owning a Blue Bird isn't cheap. Questions or suggestions on how to handle these costs are discussed in this forum.

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  #1  
Old 06-09-2008
'just wanderin?'s Avatar
'just wanderin? 'just wanderin? is offline
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Default Best Towing Membership Program

I was just wonderin', what is the best towing/service insurance program out there? We will be traveling primarily in the western states with a 90 SP36. No toad, but a motorcycle lift on the back.


Thanks,

Fred Bellows
Phx, AZ
1990 SP36
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2008
guysmalley guysmalley is offline
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I have had very good service with FMCA, coach - net what I like is they will tow you to the nearest authorized service place like DD-allison no matter the distance, also you first talk to a tech who helps pinpoint the problem I have used them 3 times and all outstanding service. my 2 cents
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2008
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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I've had the Good Sam ERS -- and I've had two service calls (both on the same day -- long story). The service was reasonably prompt and the technicians quickly solved the problems. On the second call, the fix was so quick, that the technician didn't charge me saying that the fee from GS was sufficient. (GS and I believe FMCA/Coach Net pays for the portal-to-portal fee, but you must pay for time on the scene to make the repair.)

Both services contract with independent RV services around the country and (apparently) both have reasonably good coverage. Of course, the quality of the service depends almost entirely on the quality of the actual service provider. GS follows up each service call with a 'check' to see that service arrived within the estimated wait period and requests you to answer a survey via your cell phone. -- I don't mind the call-back, but I found the survey frustrating and neither time was I able to compete it. -- However, the survey is how they track the performance of their sub-contractors.

I know that my local branch of AAA also offers an "RV extension" for their road service, but from what I've heard, the extended AAA isn't as comprehensive as the ERS through GS or FMCA/CN.

Most vehicle insurance companies also offer "road service" coverage (usually with a fairly nominal charge) -- however, those plans require you to obtain your own service, pay for it, then apply for reimbursement.

I note that many road service providers do not accept checks or credit cards -- so it's wise to tuck a few bucks in your safe to have on hand for unexpected cash-required services. (I note that one of the two GS service providers was reported by GS to accept credit cards, but on scene, would accept cash only.)

There are many who have a certain bias against Good Sam -- and that's a semi-political position that I'll not get into except to note that it exists. From all I've heard, the FMCA/Coach-Net service is considered superior to Good Sam ERS -- but that's only based on anecdotal remarks I've read on various RV-related forums. (My experience with GS was good and I've renewed my coverage.)

I note that both ERS programs also cover all vehicles owned by the subscriber -- so your toad is covered as well as your RV. This is a good thing, as my first service call occurred when the coach wouldn't start (loose ground strap) after I discovered that my toad's battery was dead. I got a "two for one" service (fortunately, I was near a Sears store where a new battery was obtained for the toad).
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2008
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Rob Robinson Rob Robinson is offline
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I believe there are only two contenders when it comes to towing services, FMCA Coach Net and Good Sam. Having said that I recently changed from Good Sam to Coach Net after receiving a form letter from Good Sam. The letter stated that "they" were not a repair service and that my record of use of their service indicated that my rig was possible not being kept in good mechanical repair. As I said this was a form letter and was probably sent out automatically to anyone having a certain number of service calls in a particular time period. As it was, I had four service calls in 30 months and all were for flat tires due to three nails and one failed valve stem. The nails could not be construed as lack of maintenance and the broken valve problem was cured with Alcoa rubber grommets in each hole the inner dually valve stems protruded through. I'm guessing here but I think whichever service you choose will have some sort of limit on use before they start looking at you as a liability. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to switch and give Good Sam a rest for a while. I may go back sometime in the future (probably after three or four service calls to Coach Net). In closing I would like advise that whatever you do, do not go with AAA. They are not a good choice for big rig owners or as some have said....'anyone traveling extensively'.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2008
mrkane mrkane is offline
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It is not necessary to be a member of FMCA to purchase service from Coach-Net, as might be inferred from the previous messages. Lance provided coverage from Coach-Net for the warranty period, included in the purchase price of my slide-in truck camper. Prices and packages vary somewhat if you purchase a contract through a club or manufacturer's program.

Reportedly GS does not cover utility trailers, but C-N does.

Coach-Net has responded to two tire failures for me on the PT40 in the last two years. I'm satisfied.

--M.R.Kane
'85 PT40
currently Sanger, TX
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2008
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Rob Robinson Rob Robinson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkane View Post
It is not necessary to be a member of FMCA to purchase service from Coach-Net, as might be inferred from the previous messages. Lance provided coverage from Coach-Net for the warranty period, included in the purchase price of my slide-in truck camper. Prices and packages vary somewhat if you purchase a contract through a club or manufacturer's program.

Reportedly GS does not cover utility trailers, but C-N does.

Coach-Net has responded to two tire failures for me on the PT40 in the last two years. I'm satisfied.

--M.R.Kane
'85 PT40
currently Sanger, TX
Yes you do not need to purchase Coach Net through FMCA. However, the numerous examples through the years of FMCA going to bat for the RV community deserves consideration. The most recent example being FMCA's protection of Flying J Loyalty members benefits while others without FMCA backing were not.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2008
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What I learned recently is that the contractor service provided through Good Sam may be lacking in certain parts of the country. You may have to find the service provider or mechanic yourself but always have the service provider consult with Good Sam or Coach Net BEFORE the work is performed. Both providers will usually honor/pay for the service but only if there is an agreement first between the provider and the service contractor. Good Sam could not find a hauler for my bird when I broke down 50 miles from home, but I was able to find one through our local AAA service, Good Sam agreed to pay the $1500 haul to the Louisille Peterbilt shop. It took me about 8 hours to find the hauler, Good Sam did a great job on followup & contact with us during the ordeal. I was disapointed that they did not have a contractor in our area, BUT I was extremely happy they PAID the haul bill.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2008
Jim Magowan Jim Magowan is offline
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We have had GS practically since we bought the SP in 02. We have used it several times. In 03 our brakes (air lines) froze up outside of Cache Ck B.C. on the way home from RIV. We had to be towed to the CAT dealer in Kamloops (70 miles). The truck had to come out from Kamloops and haul us back. It was a night call and we were broken down on a dangerous curve on a hill. Temperatures were a few degrees below 0f. GS did well. In 04 we visited friends in OH on the way to RIV. When we tried to turn around in their driveway we discovered, to our dismay, that recent heavy rains has the water table up to the roof and we sank down to the rear axle in mud. GS couldn't find anyone to help pull us out and basically told us that if we could find anyone we should submit a bill for reimbursement. We did hte job ourselves with a lot of jacking and filling with wood.

In 06 our transmission quit 9 miles out of Seward. GS sent a lowboy out from Anchorage and we were hauled back to Anchorage. At first they wanted to take it to Seward, but, finally realized there was no place in Seward that could do anything for us.

We also had a problem when a switch failed on our Trooper (clutch interlock which disabled starter) and it had to be towed to the dealer for repairs. GS handled it with no problem.

We also had a problem when I discovered that the inside outer edge of a front tire had worn to the threads. We were camped 115 miles out on the Glenn Highway. We couldn't get the wheel off so called GS. GS sent a truck out from Anchorage. After telling Eleanor how he could get any wheel off, he couldn't get the wheel off either and left, unhappy because she didn't tip him.
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2008
Kurt Achenbach Kurt Achenbach is offline
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Have had Good Sam ERS For the past 9 Yrs. and had satisfactory experiences. They do not cover tow dollys if this is the way you tow your Toad.
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2008
'just wanderin?'s Avatar
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Thanks for all the great input/ideas. I also received an offer from KOA about their ers program thru Allstate that seems to offer all the same benefits as Coach Net and Good Sam, for about the same price (~$80/yr.). I called my insurance agent and found that I have a basic road service benefit included in my RV ins of up to $750/incident. It covers most of the same stuff like tires, fuel, lock out, small repairs, and towing, but only up to the $750/incident, and not "unlimited" like the other, RV specific, high profile policies above. Also no Trip Interruption benefit, and other value-added stuff. But I think I'll just take this first, 1500 mile trip with just the basic service that is included with my ins. and hope for the best. We'll probably go with one of the better plans in the near future when we will know more about this new hobby. This is our first coach and with the great help of this forum, are learning an awful lot, day by day, before we even take our first trip in July! John Finn's post about knowing your weights and tow techniques/requirements was very informative. Thanks everyone!
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