Which Breakdown Service?.

Which Service?

The wild windswept wastes of Wuthering Heights may have provided a  seductive backdrop for the exploits of Cathy and Heathcliff.  For motorists, being stranded in the middle of nowhere amidst a howling gale is far from fun. For those of us on two wheels, unprotected from the elements, it is particularly uncomfortable. A quick and competent response from our breakdown service provider is essential but not the only requirement.

Who’s in the Market?

In reality, there are relatively few breakdown companies. Some operate under several brand names giving the illusion that there are more.  For example, Equity Red Star brands number about half a dozen, most not being available by direct access.

Recently the Consumer’s Association (publishers of the “Which” magazine) surveyed 8 companies using their own criteria (unfortunately for motoring generally and not biking specifically).  The AA won followed by Britannia, Autonational (Equity Red Star), RAC, Mondial , Green Flag, More Than and Europ Assistance. Some of these offer inhouse service whilst others delegate to agents.

What they Offer

Type of Cover (per person / per vehicle)
1 AA Either
2 Britannia Vehicle
3 Autonational Vehicle
4 RAC Either
5 Mondial Vehicle
6 Green Flag Vehicle
7 More Than Vehicle
8 Europ Assistance Vehicle

What they Cost (examples only-may vary)

Cost( Roadside only/ Roadside + Recovery+ Homestart)
1 AA £29/£115
2 Britannia £29/£85
3 Autonational £30/£66
4 RAC £28/£109
5 Mondial No direct customer purchase
6 Green Flag £25/£70
7 More Than £43/£94
8 Europ Assistance £45/£65

(Source -Which Magazine August 2009)

How Good are They?

The Which survey is usually published in the autumn of each year.  But it covers motoring generally. Hence the results can only be of passing relevance to biking.  We therefore just set out a summary of the results over the years in very general terms.

The criteria used include speed of response, the % repairs done at the roadside together with the technical knowledge and civility of the patrol person.

Consistently overall the top 3 have been the AA, RAC and Britannia. But in 2009 Autonational (part of Equity Red Star) pipped RAC to 3rd place. For response time specifically in 2009 51% of those surveyed received Autonational response within 30 minutes, with 42%, 39% and 41% for AA, Britannia and RAC respectively.  The others (Mondial, Green Flag and Europ Assistance) were much further down.

For roadside repairs the figures were -AA 71%, RAC 68%, Autonational 67% and Britannia 61%. The others were not too far below.

How Good are they for Motorcyclists?

Sadly the above findings do not help bikers very much.  Whilst the patrol persons knowledge of 4 wheeled vehicles may be excellent, the same might not be said of 2 or 3 wheelers. Further what if the bike has to be recovered? Does the provider have suitable equipment. Or is it just a question of running it up a makeshift wooden plank of wood? How many horrific tales have we heard of expensive machines falling off only to cause thousands of poundsworth of damage.

More Help Needed?

Phil Shuker

MD Bikers Advice

Tel: 01706 227419

Email: phil@bikersadvice.com

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