Breakdown – Lessons Learned

Hey there!

Bad news for us but good news for you!  We were sleeping peacefully in our coach at a roadside rest area when a semi tried to pull in next to us and crunched the back passenger side of our rig.  It was around 10:00 pm so it was pretty dark out.  It’s a long, convoluted story so I’ll just stick to telling you what we did right and what we learned in case you ever get into this type of situation.

  1. Don’t park in rest areas or Walmart parking lots unless you have no other choice.  After our incident, I heard from a number of folks that had accidents in these locations.  It’s a lot cheaper to pay $30 for a night’s stay in an RV park than deal with the cost, frustration and loss of booked travel stays.
  2. If an accident occurs, and no one is harmed, immediately take pictures of the offending vehicle!  Take pics of their license plate, info that may be posted on their vehicle door or anywhere on the body of their vehicle and of the damage that occurred to their vehicle.  Also get pics of their driver’s license and insurance info if you can.
  3. If possible, GET A POLICE REPORT!  The guy that hit us was nice enough until the police got there then he said he’s been in the spot next to us for 10 hours.  The video on our dashcam proved differently.
  4. Buy and install a dashcam on your front windshield and check it before every trip to ensure that it is working properly.  If you were able to catch any of the accident activity on the dashcam, immediately pull the sim card, so that it dowsn’t get over-written, and replace it with a new card.  Copy the video onto your computer so you can send it to your insurance company.
  5. If you need to be towed, take a pic of the tow truck, with the name of the two company readable, and your coach so both can be seen and is proof that you were towed by that vehicle.  The tow did damage to our front bumper and when our insurance company asked them if they would pay for it they said that they had no record of us being towed.  Fortunately, I had the picture 😀
  6. Here’s a lesson we had to learn…keep an overnight bag with a change of clothes, toiletries, meds and, pet food if needed, in you towed vehicle.  We can’t get to our main bathroom when the slides are in so we couldn’t get these things before going to a hotel for the night.  Also, keep a $20 or more in your overnight bag for emergencies, tips to roadside assistants or whatever.
  7. Here’s a tip an ex-claims adjuster gave us.  If it’s the other guys fault, file your claim with his insurance, not yours, unless you don’t want to handle all that comes with it.  If your insurance doesn’t know then they won’t raise your rates.
  8. Read over and verify what your 3rd party insurance will and will not cover.  We had some problems that came up that we couldn’t verify that the accident had caused them and some were not covered by our 3rd party insurance.
  9. KEEP ALL RECEIPTS!  Some insurance companies cover food and lodging and such.
  10. This was a good lesson learned for me…do not send mail and/or packages to a place you are not currently at.  I knew we were headed for a certain RV resort so I had my mail and packages shipped to that address.  Because of the accident we couldn’t get there and my packages were all returned.
  11. Get a good phone app that keeps track of vehicle maintenance, repairs, etc.  We use AUTOsist.  Keep your VIN #, Serial #, Engine #, etc. in it along with repairs, dates, cost, etc.  Add a picture of your license plate.
  12. Create a contact on your phone under the name of your RV.  In the Notes section enter your Insurance Name, Phone and Account numbers.
  13. Keep a folding step stool in your car in case power is gone and the steps won’t open.
  14. If you lose chassis power, make sure, before you take off, that your steps come in!  We didn’t realize that and went 14 miles before we got out and realized it.  Fortunately we didn’t hit anything with them WHEW!
  15. Besides an overnight bag, keep a “Bug-Out” bag in your towed vehicle.  There are lots of websites that will give you a list of what to put in them but water bladders and the camp sinks came in very handy for us :o)

That’s all I have for now but if I think of anything else I’ll update this page.  If you have any ideas or helpful tips please leave them below, they’ll all be greatly appreciated!

See the video at

Good luck to you in your travels!  See you one the road (once we’re out of the shop :o)

Terry & Melanee

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