Remote Area Roadside Assistance/Towing

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 21:54
ThreadID: 143073 Views:1422 Replies:4 FollowUps:31
It is time for me to renew my roadside assistance for the 4by and offroad caravan.

So I've been searching. It seems that most companies will assist you in contacting and arranging towing assistance (and when you are in a more civilised area they'll look after you well) but you pay commercial rates to the operator from the closest sensible place eg Mt Dare, Birdsville, Alice etc.

Has anyone found a policy provider who will organise and pay for, say, towing car and van, or repairing car from a remote 4wd area, even if you you have to have insurance with them?

I'd imagine the premium would be high but it may be commercial for a roadside assistance organisation to provide such.
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Reply By: OzzieCruiser - Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 22:24

Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 22:24
As far as I am aware, only Club 4x4 offer offroad breakdown/recovery policies.

Most other organisations such as NRMA offer various levels of roadside assistance but a 2wd vehicle (service vehicle/tilt tray) has to be able to get to the location, so restricted to roads - well tracks but can be in remote locations as long as the service vehicle can get there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 22:56

Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 22:56
Thanks for the reply. That is what I found too.
I think Club 4x4 "new" roadside assistance is limited to sealed roads.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 09:23

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 09:23
Club 4x4 is really Hollard insurance of South Africa, also operate as Apia too. I prefer to avoid them if possible.
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Follow Up By: Member - Soft-Roader - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 10:58

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 10:58
I'm with Club4x4 and have been for ages.

No, they do not limit you to 'sealed' roads. It's the full recovery depending on what you select - $1500 recovery costs (that's probably realistically limiting you to sealed stuff), $15,000 recovery or $30,000 recovery options.

I've found their rates competitive for what they offer. Have heard different for trailers/ vans though - but I don't use one.

As for steering clear - I'll let you know shortly! Had to make a claim for a theft of my 4WD early December. Had to wait three weeks for them to acknowledge it as a 'write off' so to speak (I guess that's fair enough, it could have been found) but that was ten days ago. It's with an 'assessor' now - so hoping to get my money from it shortly.

Will see - hopefully by the end of the week
Lachlan

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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 13:53

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 13:53
Club 4x4 new policy "Roadside Plus" indicates coverage (to a very generous distance of 150km) if accessible by 2wd. Quote j) We cannot provide assistance under this benefit to vehicles not accessible by
a two-wheel drive recovery vehicles. Unquote.

Anyway they are to contact me to give a quote on insurance and I'll ask.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 14:41

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 14:41
As far as I can see from there website 'Roadside Plus' is a separate product akin to motoring club roadside assistance and different to the off-road recovery offered with their comprehensive insurance, the website is still showing this as a policy feature. That said, when I had a quick look last year their policies were about 12% of the insured amount, about 4x what NRMA (IAG) were offering me, approximately $2400 for a $20,000 policy. Probably because they include claims such as glass and hail damage in your claim history not just at fault collisions. A possible solution is to take out a second policy shortly before you leave, buy the extra recovery cover, pay by the month and cancel when you return, still cheap if you need a $10K recovery.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 14:47

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 14:47
Thanks guys.

Another good suggestion
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Follow Up By: Member - Soft-Roader - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 16:45

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 16:45
Please don't consider that 'take it out and cancel it later'.... it is exactly this kind of dishonesty that jacks up the prices for everyone else who is honest with them. The rest of the paying community isn't here to cover your risk thanks. A very jack and selfish suggestion and thing to do if taken up.

Do it a couple of times, and guess what? You stuff it for everyone else as they either raise prices, or take the benefit away. Already seen with idiots doing water crossings then claiming the whole car because they're dunces - then everyone was up in arms when Club4x4 decided to introduce an additional $2000 excess for stupid water crossing attempts (not genuine, regular ones - not sure how they decide).

As for prices - it always depends on the person. Club4x4 was cheaper than NRMA and AAMI for me, but more expensive than GIO and Suncorp. As for asking for a history - they changed that a year or two ago to actually be positive. On NRMA and AAMI, for example (GIO too I think) - they asked for claims in the past three years (like Club4x4 - not 5 years as it used to be) and left it at that. Club and Suncorp both allowed me to at least state one (I've had two unfortunately) was a 'excess payable/ not at fault' claim (vehicle theft) and another was 'excess payable/ no fault identified' (car hit in carpark at shops). I think this probably brought my payment down.

Then there's excess variations, pay by month... etc.

End of the day - Club4x4 is pretty much the only one offering what you want. The 'road side' service is for basic stuff (where most insurers subcontract out to NRMA for example). If you're stuck (even with a dead battery only, or run out of fuel) on a 4x4 track - so long as you're legally there - then that's under the recovery payments.

I think it's a good system. Will just take a few to ruin it.
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 18:48

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 18:48
No one is trying to rip anyone off - you can cancel a policy at any time as the insurance companies can - nothing dishonest about it.

We are not talking about "crash" insurance but recovery insurance for breakdowns or getting stuck - is different to normal crash insurance - have a crash in a remote location it is the insurance companies problem - have a breakdown and its the owners problem.

As far as I know Club 4x4 is the only company that offers remote, 4wd access for breakdown/ recoveries. Now I would never insure my car with Club 4x4 but I might consider their recovery insurance even though it is expensive.

A few years back I had NRMA top level roadside assistance and I broke down in a remote valley - I had to be towed by other 4wders to the nearest "main" road where a NRMA came and collected me - they would not/could not go into the remote valley.
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Follow Up By: Member - Soft-Roader - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 19:30

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 19:30
Taking out a policy for 'the one trip', only to cancel it and go to a cheaper option that doesn't offer recovery cover after your trip is, in my view, dishonest. Club4x4 charges more to annual customers as it includes this recovery in the policy. When was the last time you heard an insurance company just ringing up randomly and cancelling your insurance? Never. Would you be pretty pissed if it occured just before your trip that you had planned? Just the same, but on the other foot as far as I can see. I guess we will agree to disagree on the honesty side.

I am not talking about 'crash' insurance either. That's covered by everyone.

Get stuck on Big Red, due to whatever, and if you need to get recovered - Club4x4 will cover that. Get stuck in the Vic High Country on a 4WD track, and need professional Mog or similar 4wd recovery to come out - Club 4x4 will cover that. No others will. As you suggest - with the others you will need to be 'recovered' to the nearest road.

f you were in your remote valley without mates / contacts - then you could call the nearest recovery mob (wherever they may be) and get them to recover you from that valley to a gazetted road or nearest town. Again - Club4x4 will cover you for that (up to $1500 (default), $15,000 or $30,000 depending on your choice at time of taking the policy out). NRMA and the rest will require you (as yours did) to be recovered independently to the nearest 2WD gazetted road (sealed or unsealed). If, as in your case, you're fortunate to have understanding passers-by then great. But I just elect not to rely on that (only because of small kids - once they go likely follow your option).

Yes, you have to organise your own recovery (so prepare and know who's around). But the cost is covered.

Not sure why'd you'd never insure with them - I have had nothing but positive results with them so far. And they insure our vehicles for what the car is worth, plus all the modifications (and the price of them) if you so choose. Again, not many others will do all this (Shannons is one).

AFAIK, you cannot just get their 'recovery' insurance part without taking out full comprehensive cover.
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Follow Up By: Kenell - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 08:03

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 08:03
Just a point of clarification concerning Club 4x4 and its relationship with Hollards.

Club 4x4 is an Authorised Rep of Hollards - an agent if you like. AFAIK it is an Aussie coy. Hollards - the underwriter - is indeed South African but it is licensed to operate in Oz and approved by APRA ie Australian law / legislation covers its services here.

APIA is part of the Suncorp Group not Hollards. Australian Seniors is a totally separate and unrelated brand which is owned by Hollards.

I have no association with Club 4x4 or Hollards and I don't promote their brands or services.

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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:31

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:31
Thanks for the comments and debate guys.

In summary, it looks like Club 4x4 insurance and remote assistance is the only deal in town unless you can arrange fixes and make do's yourself or within the travelling party or organise the local 4wd club recovery guys.

They have yet to contact me but when they do I'll confirm some of the things raised here. Remote area recovery is not something I'd get every year but would continue with some level of roadside assistance in between those trips.

Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:57

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:57
I considered Club 4X4 at one time.
I did not like some of the conditions then, but they may be different now.
One was where they would recover you to - nearest town or nearest bitumen, from memory.
So, if you were near the west end of the Simpson, they would take you to Oodnadatta (where there are minimal workshop facilities) but NOT to Mount Dare (where there are experienced people and facilities.
Did not make sense to me and it seemed non negotiable.
Work on a few "what iffs" to see what would happen according to their conditions and what you would then do.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 20:41

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 20:41
NRMA Business offer a better form of road service than the standard version and is a middle ground option to consider
https://www.mynrma.com.au/business/roadside-assistance

I have found it helpful on a couple of occasions including a flatbed from Deua National Park back to my mechanic in Sydney plus a free hire car to drive my family home. An alternate option they offered me was free accommodation while my vehicle was repaired

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jan 12, 2022 at 09:52

Wednesday, Jan 12, 2022 at 09:52
Club 4x4 don't arrange the remote recovery, at least when I was with them they didn't. We had a talk at our 4wd club meeting from the owner explaining how remote recovery works when it was first on the market and being spruiked by Pat Callinan. The speaker said you arrange the recovery yourself, pay for it yourself and then get reimbursed by them up to your insured value once everything is complete. This meant I had to have access to $15k temporarily in the event of a disaster. It may have changed but I doubt it. I was with them for a year because the premium was quite reasonable, however, the renewal had a 50% increase when I had no claims so I didn't renew with them.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 23:16

Sunday, Jan 09, 2022 at 23:16
Getting a tow as a result of a breakdown is only one of several options available.
Consider them all and choose the best one for the circumstances.

In 2017, we broke an axle 20km west of Poeppel Corner. We considered several options.


1. It quickly was clear that we could not drive out in 2WD.
2. Having a tow by our travelling companions plus driving in 2WD might have been possible but would risk more damabe to both vehicles.
3. A recovery vehicle extraction would have been possible, but at significant expense. We would still need to repair the vehicle even after recovery.
4. After calm consideration of the options, we opted to replace the axle where the vehicle was. We contacted a parts supplier in Melbourne who had an axle in the mail within an hour. We used our travelling companion's daughter in the Eastern States to track the parcel and let us know when it reached the Birdsville Post Office. That took 5 days. Then our friends drove in to Birdsville to get it and bring it back to us - a 3 day round trip.

It was a 10 minute job to fit it and be on our way.
The cost? 8 extra wonderful days relaxing in the desert. Some fuel for our friends (and dinner at the Birdsville Pub).

The other option (that we have never used) is to bring the mechanic (and the tools and parts) to the broken down vehicle, rather than the vehicle to the mechanic. My mechanic in Adelaide has told me that he will come anywhere to fix us if we ask. There would be a fee of course, but likely less than shifting the vehicle?
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 08:49

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 08:49
Some good thoughts there Peter.
Thanks
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 13:56

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 13:56
Quite true. 1st thing would be to talk with someone better qualified then see if a tow or fix is the go.

Thanks.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 18:45

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 18:45
Peter.
That axle break, was it as a result of lose wheel bearing on the hub? Just seems to be in the area of flex in line with inner bearing and subsequent planar fluctuation. Just curious!
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 19:57

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 19:57
The axle was faulty. The replacement was supplied for no charge by the same person who supplied the original (ever reliable Paul Nott of East Coast OKA Spares and Repairs). I paid the postage.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 22:20

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 22:20
Peter n Margaret
That should have read LOOSE, above.
The reason I asked, is it seems to be a progressive creep of fracture, ie, small granular surface progressing toward the centre from a perimeter line and then the final break of larger crystalline structure near centre of axle, ie, the chew off. I have removed a few axles and ones which broke like that had operated near the inner bearing and the flex induced the failure. Hard to see exactly any definite production faults at the break in the picture though it may be present.
I used to have special magnetic tools I made, battery operated coil on rod, to find, capture and remove the bits when axles broke and unwound, mostly through applied torque. Lucky your clean break would not leave large bits in there. Crown wheels, pinions bearings and side bearings don't really like metal bits through them.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 23:24

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 23:24
By coincidence, our travel companion on that trip is a metalurgist.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 08:56

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 08:56
Just wondering how you removed the inner part of the broken axle , Peter ?
Did you manage a "weld" or what ?

Cheers
Jim
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." A fisherman.

"No road is long with good company." Traditional

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:22

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:22

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:26

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:26
Ahh ..... love your work Peter !! Hope you had heavy duty washing up detergent.

Cheers
Jim
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." A fisherman.

"No road is long with good company." Traditional

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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:52

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:52
Peter
Originally I blew up the pic to see the break, now with your close up shot it, to me clearly shows the fracture progressed from outer surface toward centre, culminating in the centre area then being torsionally torn apart. The off cnetre black spot is where it finally gave up. Because it is located at/near the area where either a bent housing or loose wheel bearing could be present it indicated to me one or the other. If it was a poor axle material it more likely would have spiral broken as many I removed had done. Most don't square fracture without some background reason. Does that wheel have a slight negative camber instead of parallel planes to other wheel? It only takes a bit and over time it creates the localized radial stress and failure. There may be other factors apart from bad axle! It doesn't look like a faulty axle to me otherwise the time to failure would be relatively short.

I had to use pointy bars to free the spiral broken axle pieces wedged in housing and 24v Coil wrapped on steel rod to use as a withdrawing tool. Big heavy axles inner half very difficult to get out.
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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 11:46

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 11:46
Might pay to take out a Patent on such an original piece of equipment Peter.
Dave.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 13:54

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 13:54
The failure time was quite short. The replacement axle has done a lot more work than that one and nothing else has changed. It seemed to me that the fatigue started at a marked point on the surface (top right), but I am no metalurgist.
This was a heavy duty axle upgrade from 32mm standard to 35mm. The supplier (who also supplied the axle assembly complete) had never seen a 35mm failure before.

And the salad tongs were quickly returned to normal duties. :)
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 14:54

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 14:54
Peter N Margaret.
That is good all is well and reliable again. Just posing possibilities from earlier events I had been involved with. 35mm is fairly rugged, never the less I still like the taste of Hypoid 90 on a salad. You get a bit tired of the same dressing after a while.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:37

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:37
.
Peter,
Roz always carried one of those tools for our Simpson crossings. Now I know why!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:43

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:43
But did she pay the extra to get the special plastic dipped ends for better grip on the oily axle, or did she land you with the budget version?
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:53

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 15:53
.
Oh, definitely 'Grippy Tippy' ones Pete. My Roz is no Dumb Blonde!
Although she does have a pink hi-lift jack!
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 23:30

Monday, Jan 10, 2022 at 23:30
I've had insurance cover for several years with Club 4x4 in a combined policy for both my tow vehicle and camper, and they have been good to deal with and competitively priced. Also, they have a better arrangement than many other companies to insure the various after-market stuff many of us have on our vehicles.
I have had only one relatively minor claims experience, which was efficiently handled.
As others have said, you can select a recovery option which ranges from $1500 up to I think $30k, and obviously the premium varies to reflect that. And it's definitely not limited to bitumen 2WD roads.
Also they have (or at least did when I took out my policy) a "laid up option" which means you can reduce the premium on your camper for that period of the year when you are not travelling - eg, for southern States residents, if you only go north for winter but leave the van in storage when you are home.
Of course you can get just as good a debate going about insurance cover as you can about tyre selection :-)
And, as Peter says, if you have the gear and the know-how in your touring party to handle a roadside repair, you're much better off.
Cheers
Wildmax
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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:03

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:03
In 2018 we did a trip from SA up thru the Simpson desert , around the east Kimberly, up to Kalumburu then home via the canning stock route.
Some fairly serious remote travel.
I’m not a gambler, well I don’t do pokies, horses etc. . But after researching the options . I figured the likelyhood of having a bad breakdown out remote wasn’t high enough for me to pay a huge premium, I pay enough of that necessary evil (insurance) every year for essentially just in case.
I was in a 2012 BT50 we got into the Simpson by only about a dozen Sandhills and when I turned sharp into a camp a front cv shaft crunched , got back out to Birdsville in 2WD , just less tyre pressure. Got it fixed in Birdsville for a price that would have been competitive anywhere. And away we went. No other real issues for the whole trip.
Cheers
Robbo
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:36

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 at 09:36
A small group of us did the Anne Beadell some years ago. While it is a remote trip we passed a number of solo travellers going the other way and also of course the defence guys pulled us up to compare us against the permits.

The remote areas seem to have people on them even if you have a wait a couple of days. Some temp repairs could be accomplished by more skilled passerbys I suppose though I wouldn't risk the family on that assumption.

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