We came across an annoying condition of the AA Motorhome Plus benefit the other day. AA Motorhome plus is what you need to get AA roadside assistance if you have a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes or something like that. And not just roadside assistance, but it helps generally if you break down away from home with towing and accommodation and travel if necessary.
There is an AA Plus scheme for car drivers, and interestingly it covers the member for any car that they happen to be driving. This gives benefits like towing and accommodation and travel etc. All good and useful stuff. The AA Plus has a weight limit, which means that us motorhomers need the AA Motorhome Plus. So we got that as an insurance for our North Island odyssey over Christmas. So far so good. Except that it was listed as my benefit, and not Wyn’s. And interestingly it is only for the nominated motorhome. This was OK, we only had the one motorhome, and our trip was together, as are 98% of our trips. But recently Wyn contemplated a trip by herself, and one factor was that she mightn’t be covered by the AA Motorhome Plus. We are joint AA members, where she is the main member and I’m the Associate Member (of 30 years). So we couldn’t see what the problem was with us both being covered by the Motorhome Plus.
I just happened to be walking past the local office of the AA in a robust frame of mind today. So I went in to see what could be done. In a word “Tough!”. The answer was that the AA Motorhome Plus is a member benefit. If we wanted us both to be covered then Wyn had to pay another 50% of the cost. If we wanted it to cover a second motorhome, we had to pay another 100% (or 150%!). It wasn’t insurance they said. Yet it sounds like insurance. It works like insurance. It has the same sort of conditions as insurance. It sure as heck smells like insurance. It just seems mean. It’s the same vehicle, and can only break down once at a time (can I say that?). It just means that half of us is not covered if they needed to go somewhere on their own at any stage. Not being one to just accept that, and still feeling in a reasonably robust frame of mind, I gave their 0800 number a call in the evening. I had a good lot of questions lined up and the poor woman had to make lots of trips to check with her supervisor. But the answer was the same – “tough luck.. pay up!”.
Not one to give in too easily, I found some sort of feedback or contact mechanism on their website the next day. This wasn’t too easy – it seemed like they were not too keen on people contacting them via email. Still, I found something, and told them what I thought of their Motorhome Plus – in a very constructive way you understand. To my enormous surprise, I got a lovely polite and helpful email later that day from someone who was something to do with customer service – a rare breed these days. And he said he could see my point, and said he’d take it up with the people who determine policy in the AA. He did agree that it looked like a vehicle benefit. Heck, the old AA might maybe do the right thing and allow associate members to share the Motorhome Plus. Might… I’ll have to follow up and see how he got on with the powers that be. .