Trailer Breakdown and RAC dispute

countrybumpkin727

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Please excuse the rambling message!!

So a couple of weeks ago my boy and I headed for our first ever outing together and the worst thing happened...on the way home my car broke down on the m40 luckily I managed to get it going again and get us to a village away from the busy lorrys passing me!!!

I have RAC breakdown cover and like a fool i forgot to upgrade to cover my trailer. But this how the RAC treated me

Call one: hi iv broken down 3 hours away from home (tears obviously)iv got my horse with me and I don't know what to do. The RAC person is really nice and says don't worry we will get you, your horse and your car home. I'll send a mechanic out who wil see what can initially be done... He will be with you in 45mins. By this point my friend and instructor have appeared and luckily I'm not on my own....but the sun is setting.

Call two: the RAC mechanic on route. He mentions how they do not deal with horses and the person on the phone was wrong. Enter more tears. He would be there in 20 mins (making it like 1 hour waiting) to see what he can do.

Call three: I call the RAC back asap and ask what was going on re the horse. The guy on the phone says the mechanic didn't know what was going on and they would take my horse with approval.

Mechanic turns up and says there is nothing he can do for my car... All he can do is arrange the car and the trailer (not the horse!!) to be taken away.


Call four: the RAC call me back and say actually they can't take my horse and do I not have any friends who can take my horse (I'm 4 hours away and no I don't). My instructor takes the phone and asks them out right what I was meant to do about my horse and why they said they could help and now can't. They said it's not their problem about my horse and they will only take the car and trailer.

The RAC mechanic says my car and trailer would be picked up in an hour. My friend calls her insurance company for her horse box (it can't take two horses sadly FYI so she couldn't take me) who say they will cal us back with some quotes.

Call five: I call the RAC to check the tow man is coming for my car. They said they will call me back.


The insurance company call back and say private tow company who will tow my horse for £220...They would come in 30 mins (now half way through the RAC's 1 hour to pick my car up)

Call six: 20 mins after call 5. I ask the RAC again to check when the guy was coming for my car as I have solved an option for my horse. They said again they would call me back in 10 mins.


The tow man arrives 30 mins later and he starts to process of attaching his 15ton Lorry to my trailer.

Call seven: I call the RAC again and say my horse is about to be taken away... Where are they?! They said we will try the driver now.... They come back to me and say sorry he is 45-60 mins away. I ask them what I should do... My horse is about to go win stranger and I don't want to leave him. They again said its not their fault and I have to stay with my car. I said again you can't expect me to hang around for another 45 mins and leave my horse. They said its not their problem. The private trailer people said for an extra £50 they will take my car on the Lorry and we could go in 10 mins. I did that and cancelled my RAC call out... I pulled into my yard 7 hours after leaving (big praise for my horse who didn't make a sound!!!)

So an official complaint has gone to the RAC who are reviewing it. I know I didn't have trailer cover so the RAC had every right to turn me down.but surly leaving me on the road after telling me they would and then not even giving me any help to sort my problem is pretty bad... Like even saying we can't help but these people will would of been good!!

Luckily I wasn't alone but what if I was?!

Sorry it's a long post but thoughts welcome!! Also anyone broken down before? What's meant to happen?!
 

Goldenstar

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Your meant to have cover then it all gets sorted out without tears .
I have used my cover twice in thirty years so if you look at it what you did find your own cover and pay as you go is probably cheaper in the long run .
 

teddypops

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You are meant to have appropriate cover. The RAC are not going to give you a service that you don't have.
 

Batgirl

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No standard breakdown covers livestock or horses - it was your responsibility, not theirs. A little bit annoying to get mixed messages but it is your fault for not having appropriate cover - they are not insured to move a trailer with a horse in it.
 

Ella19

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I'm afraid RAC are within their rights. It's a bit like calling up your horse insurance after an injury and wondering why they won't help because you didn't take out vets fees and your horse is in pain. As stressful as it was it is your responsibility to make sure you're covered correctly. They are not allowed to recommend people as they could be held liable of things did not work out.
 

asmp

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Went to pick up new youngster and on return journey was on the M3 when I noticed lots of smoke behind. Thought the turbo had gone on the car and pulled over on the hard shoulder. Rang RAC in a panic explaining I had a horse on board (i didn't have trailer cover then). RAC man came out pretty quickly and pointed out I'd left the hand brake on! Smoke was because the brakes were melting. He told me to drive to the next junction and park in a supermarket car park so he could check them. He then followed behind me for about 15miles home! Nothing but praise for him.

I now have their trailer cover as I travel all over the country but (touch wood) have yet to use it.
 

dixie

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Firstly what bad luck to have on your first journey!
Unfortunately the RAC made a mistake originally which didn't help the situation and gave you a false impression. The problem is that a lot of these recovery people aren't insured to take horses which is why you need the appropriate cover.

I don't think there anything else much you could have done other than finding a friend to collect you. Not helped by being so far away. I can symphathise with your situation, it's very stressful when animals are involved.
 

WelshD

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Agree that it was your responsibility to have the correct cover however the RAC shouldn't have given you mixed messages

This does demonstrate how our recovery firms these days are literally just that, had they been able to fix the car at the side of the road the horsebox wouldn't have been a problem, I would love to know how many cars do get fixed at the side of the road now compared to years ago. the default seems to simply recover the vehicle nowadays - maybe electronics are to blame...

The recovery service I have with my lorry horsebox which isn't with one of the 'normal' recovery companies is very good, I think the thought of having to deal with the horse puts the fear of god in to the men and they have successfully fixed my lorry twice enabling me to get on with my journey. it might be a better idea to look for cover with an equine friendly company
 

ester

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I think I would have been contacting a private specialist horse recovery company much earlier than you did. Or ringing round for quick 4x4 hire depending on time. Do RAC ever recover horses, I don't remember them coming up as a possibility on here before although the talk is mostly about lorries. I can completely understand a) them not providing you a service you didnt have cover for, b) accepting all the liabilities involved in transporting a horse.
The only wrong I see is the first call handler saying they would sort the horse too.
 

GoldenWillow

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It was a couple of years ago but when I was sorting out breakdown cover I contacted both RAC and AA. Both told me that they would cover my horse trailer in their standard cover. It was only when I pushed quite hard after being continually told this that they checked with their supervisors to discover that they couldn't do this as they don't have livestock haulage licence needed. If I had accepted their initial answer it's very easy to see how this situation can happen.

OP I'm glad you got home safely in the end.
 

Kat

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I am surprised they didn't offer to upgrade your cover at the roadside to the level including horse cover. They charge extra to renew or upgrade at the roadside but it would have solved your problem.
 

Red-1

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I had a horsebox cover through my Horsebox insurance. I did not realise it was RAC, but when they came to me for a broken clutch cable it was indeed RAC.

I was horrified when they wanted to do a front end suspended tow, as the blurb with the insurance promised onward transport in a horsebox, not a sideways journey with a non horse driver. I refused, and kicked up a fuss, which I maintained for over an hour, whereupon suddenly they were able to source a new cable and mend it there and then.

I was not overly impressed TBH, especially when the fact that it was a Sunday was cited as a reason for poor service. IMO , what day of the week do a LOT of horse events happen on??? It was supposed to be a specialist service.
 

peaceandquiet1

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I have cover as an add on to my AA membership. I broke down last year at a show and it was an RAC man who came out and he had no idea that I had ponies with me. Luckily he was able to fix the car on the spot.
 

Toby_Zaphod

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I am surprised they didn't offer to upgrade your cover at the roadside to the level including horse cover. They charge extra to renew or upgrade at the roadside but it would have solved your problem.

??????????????? With that thought, let's all drive around on Third Party Insurance until we have a crash & then phone the insurance company from the side of the road to upgrade to Fully Comprehensive, I'm sure they'll all allow us to do that????

OP, you are the author of your own problem I'm afraid. You should have ensured you had the correct cover for your trailer & horse. Don't shift blame onto the RAC, they were providing what you had paid for.
 

Carlosmum

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It seems a lesson well learned. As it was for us when our L/R broke down 100 miles away from home whilst OH was transporting a bull. In our case it was the AA who refused to collect the trailer + bull. Luckily for us we were not too far away from a family member who was able to collect said bull & trailer & ferry them to his place with OH. Leaving my son to travel with L/R & AA man to our service garage, arriving at 1.00 am where I had to turn out ( 10 miles) to collect him. OH & bull were delivered home next day by family member.
Now we have specialist trailer cover on our vehicle insurance provided by NFU which will cover the agricultural & horsey side of towing.
ETA: When I broke down with L/R and was collected by AA had I had the dog with me she would have to have travelled in the L/R on the back of the tow truck, thankfully she was at home. Temperatures were below freezing & I hated to think of her in an unheated car for 1.5 hrs.
 
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SarahWeston

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I think if the RAC had said at the outset that they couldn't help you due to your level of cover that would have been one thing, but to leave you waiting and to continuously change their minds/opinion about what they could and could not do placed you in a very dangerous situation. It's a good job that your horse is so patient. I had a similar problem with a well known horsebox cover company years ago (was covered) but they sent out a breakdown truck that was meant to lift my horsebox up at the back to tow it with the horses still in!!!
 

Honey08

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I am surprised they didn't offer to upgrade your cover at the roadside to the level including horse cover. They charge extra to renew or upgrade at the roadside but it would have solved your problem.

Cover you buy at the roadside doesn't usually start for a couple of weeks, or at least it used to. I know this as I took out cover on the motorway and broke down the following day, wasn't covered.

I've had nothing but superb service from the RAC in the 20yrs I've been with them. We had the extra trailer cover when I evented and we were going on long journeys. Nowadays we'd just ring a friend as we're local.

Apart from the initial operator's mistake, I don't think that there was any justifiable complaint about the RAC. I'm sure it was a horrible experience, but it was your fault, after all, because you didn't have the right cover. You let it lapse, you knew as they send reminders, it was a gamble, you lost..
 

Damnation

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When you have to take out roadside assistance or insurance that is anything other than standard (i.e involving animals and livestock, a trailer, a campervan, a caravan) you NEED to quiz them.

Not quite the same but my friend had a Campervan insured with a large insurance comapany. She was with them for 2-3 years and one year took it upon herself to read the renewal. She was shocked to find that she was only insured for the chassis and the front cab. She was under the impression she had taken out Campervan insurance including contents if broken into. This was not the case and could apply to a horsebox maybe?

You need to check everything, its your responsibility.

I am with the RAC through my insurance with NFU. I have needed them 4 times in 3 years. Twice was a roadside fix and twice I was towed. Each time they were fantastic and swift.

I think you can upgrade over the phone for breakdown, I believe my dad did this when the car broke down at home and he had no way to get it anywhere. Being on the standard breakdown he couldn't ring up until he was 1/4 mile away from home which was impossible. He upgraded to the "home start" over the phone and they came out within a few hours.

I'd also like to add that the issue in this instance seems to be the horse itself not the car or trailer. If the RAC don't have the correct insurance as a whole to be able to take the horse it is a service they cannot offer.. which I have to say is strange if they offer trailer breakdown I mean what do they think people tow in the trailers???
 
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AShetlandBitMeOnce

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You can upgrade over the phone. I joined the RAC 'in a breakdown situation', cost me £144, but got me out of the s***!

I also upgraded to home cover when I couldn't get my car, which was on the driveway, to start. Again, expensive to do so but definitely can be done...
 

Shay

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RAC do let you take out membership once you have broken down - odd but I suppose it makes commercial sense to them. But there is a world of difference in letting you take out a basic membership which they are well equipped to deal with and allowing you to take out a specialist extension which requires a niche service. I doubt you could upgrade to trailer cover including the recovery of livestock - if that had been an option I'm sure it would have been mentioned. Livestock recovery isn't quite the same as upgrading to home start.
 

Zero00000

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??????????????? With that thought, let's all drive around on Third Party Insurance until we have a crash & then phone the insurance company from the side of the road to upgrade to Fully Comprehensive, I'm sure they'll all allow us to do that????

OP, you are the author of your own problem I'm afraid. You should have ensured you had the correct cover for your trailer & horse. Don't shift blame onto the RAC, they were providing what you had paid for.

I work for a service provider for the AA and yes they do offer you upgrades at the time of a claim if you are not covered
 

fatpiggy

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??????????????? With that thought, let's all drive around on Third Party Insurance until we have a crash & then phone the insurance company from the side of the road to upgrade to Fully Comprehensive, I'm sure they'll all allow us to do that????

OP, you are the author of your own problem I'm afraid. You should have ensured you had the correct cover for your trailer & horse. Don't shift blame onto the RAC, they were providing what you had paid for.

Don't be stupid, we are talking about breakdown cover, not car insurance. If you can't tell the difference I suggest you do some research.

OP, sorry to hear about you sorry tale, but I'm afraid that you made a false economy and it cost you in the end. Well, we all learn by our mistakes, don't we? I've just booked a flight in order to attend a family wedding and have opted to just take hand luggage. If I find I need to take more clothes and therefore a second or outsized bag then it will cost me £50 which is nearly what the return flight is costing. And it will be my fault.
 

FfionWinnie

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??????????????? With that thought, let's all drive around on Third Party Insurance until we have a crash & then phone the insurance company from the side of the road to upgrade to Fully Comprehensive, I'm sure they'll all allow us to do that????

OP, you are the author of your own problem I'm afraid. You should have ensured you had the correct cover for your trailer & horse. Don't shift blame onto the RAC, they were providing what you had paid for.

It's not the same thing at all. As far as I am aware the breakdown companies all DO offer to let you join once you've already broken down, at a premium, which is still worth it to them as they have the vehicles out and about anyway.

It's only in recent years trailer cover has become more widely known. I once spent 7 hours on the hard shoulder with sheep in the trailer as Landrover assistance wouldn't touch them. I posted about this on a farming group and everyone was really surprised. I took out cover with PRP after that as prior to that incident I had no clue this could be an issue - work vehicle and no thought to read the small print it didn't cross my mind.
 

Landcruiser

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I had a hideous experience when my Trooper suddenly "ran away" due to a fuel injector failing (as in the engine goes full revs, and can't be turned off.). I'd just rounded a fast blind bend on a busy single carriageway A road, and there were crash barriers so nowhere to pull off. I managed to stall it and ground to a halt with smoke pouring out of the bonnet, and was oh so aware of cars behind coming round the bend at 70 mph right towards my horse in his trailer. I grabbed my Hi viz jacket and ran down the road into the oncoming traffic waving it to slow them down - I had visions of someone swerving to avoid my trailer into the oncoming traffic - or not swerving in time and hitting the trailer. Luckily I had a mobile, and a signal. I dialled 999 and thankfully the police got to me before a dreadful accident could occur, and coned us off and stationed a patrol car on the traffic side of the bend. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life as I waited for the police to show up - facing down the traffic who could only see me, not my broken down car and trailer further round the bend.

Anyway, I phoned my breakdown people while I waited, but the police arranged their own tow truck as we were in such a dangerous place - he got my car on the back and hitched up the trailer with my horse still in it - and off we went at some considerable speed with me begging the driver to take care and brake gradually, etc etc. He hadn't ever towed a horse trailer, but beggars quite frankly couldn't be choosers.

I think the police charged me £150 for recovery to "a safe place" which was outside my livery yard. I then had to wait for my own recovery people to come and get me and my car to a garage, having redirected them via mobile. They actually sent a mechanic first who accused me of overfilling with oil (GRRRRRR!) but the fuel injector failure was later diagnosed as the problem. It was about 2 hours after that that the second recovery truck turned up and picked up me and the car. The engine was written off, and I still relive those terrifying minutes, though it was about 5 years ago now.
 

Goldenstar

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I had a hideous experience when my Trooper suddenly "ran away" due to a fuel injector failing (as in the engine goes full revs, and can't be turned off.). I'd just rounded a fast blind bend on a busy single carriageway A road, and there were crash barriers so nowhere to pull off. I managed to stall it and ground to a halt with smoke pouring out of the bonnet, and was oh so aware of cars behind coming round the bend at 70 mph right towards my horse in his trailer. I grabbed my Hi viz jacket and ran down the road into the oncoming traffic waving it to slow them down - I had visions of someone swerving to avoid my trailer into the oncoming traffic - or not swerving in time and hitting the trailer. Luckily I had a mobile, and a signal. I dialled 999 and thankfully the police got to me before a dreadful accident could occur, and coned us off and stationed a patrol car on the traffic side of the bend. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life as I waited for the police to show up - facing down the traffic who could only see me, not my broken down car and trailer further round the bend.

Anyway, I phoned my breakdown people while I waited, but the police arranged their own tow truck as we were in such a dangerous place - he got my car on the back and hitched up the trailer with my horse still in it - and off we went at some considerable speed with me begging the driver to take care and brake gradually, etc etc. He hadn't ever towed a horse trailer, but beggars quite frankly couldn't be choosers.

I think the police charged me £150 for recovery to "a safe place" which was outside my livery yard. I then had to wait for my own recovery people to come and get me and my car to a garage, having redirected them via mobile. They actually sent a mechanic first who accused me of overfilling with oil (GRRRRRR!) but the fuel injector failure was later diagnosed as the problem. It was about 2 hours after that that the second recovery truck turned up and picked up me and the car. The engine was written off, and I still relive those terrifying minutes, though it was about 5 years ago now.

That sound turely terrifying .
 
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