Off-Road Recovery Cover – no, your insurer doesn’t offer it!

One of the most often contemplated issues with travelling this big sunburnt land, is the risk of becoming stranded during the journey. There are numerous articles out there that discuss the merits of preparation and even make suggestions on what to consider depending on the type of trip you take. The saying “prevention is better than cure” certainly resonates strongly when it comes to planning for an Outback trip.

Tips such as having extra water to remain hydrated and a satellite phone or EPIRB to seek out assistance is highly recommended and will help you get assistance and sustain yourself while you wait. But when the help arrives, what happens next?

When we launched Club 4X4 we included a coverage component called “Off-Road Recovery Cover”. This coverage was developed to provide peace of mind when travelling off the blacktop, by providing the policyholder with financial compensation if there was a need to pay for a recovery. This kind of coverage cannot be found anywhere else, within or outside of the insurance industry and every single policy we sell comes with $1,500 worth included. I can hear you saying that “$1,500 isn’t going to get me very far – that’s nowhere near enough”. I guess the answer is, would you rather pay $3,000 for a recovery? or $1,500? – I know what my answer is, I’d rather buy a new camp fridge!

This kind of coverage cannot be found anywhere else, within or outside of the insurance industry and every single policy we sell comes with $1,500 worth included

Also, you can opt to increase your coverage to $15,000 or $30,000 when you quote or renew your policy. As part of our research when developing the product, we spoke to a well-known recovery provider that services the Simpson Desert. The charge per hour from the moment he turns the key on the big black truck on is $400, enough to bring your holiday to a grinding halt, let alone getting your rig repaired once it’s back in the workshop.

Often we hear people say, “So what? my insurer says they will come and get me when I smash my truck wherever I am”. Something we need to make really clear here is that this is not a coverage that responds to a “claimable event” such as a “smash”. A claimable event such as a collision, rollover, animal collision, fire etc. which results in a non-driveable vehicle, will require recovery by the insurer simply because it’s their responsibility to get the vehicle assessed and repaired, or written off. The important call-out here is to make sure that you are covered where you’re planning to go – because if your insurer isn’t sure or doesn’t cover you when heading out onto the trails, they won’t recover you because you’re simply not covered to be there!

Let’s take a Club 4X4’s Comprehensive 4X4 insurance policy for example, where you are covered anywhere in Australia (so long as you aren’t driving on a closed track or road, disobeying local law enforcement, trespassing or conducting something illegal at the time). If you had a claimable event such as the ones noted above, we will certainly pay to recover your vehicle. This is basic car insurance stuff, there’s nothing special about this other than the fact that we will cover you anywhere – gazetted, non-gazetted or cross country.

Where our Off Road Recovery Cover comes into its own is when you’re stranded and it’s NOT a claimable event. Maybe you’re bogged without anyone able to help you; or you may have broken down and you cannot get the truck moving again. This is where this coverage responds. What about roadside assist you say? Well, will your roadside assistance provider come out to dune 456 in the Simpson? or down the Canning Stock Route? during wet season to tow you out? Many Roadside assistance policies only service out to sealed roads, or at best, unsealed roads accessible by 2WD tilt trays and the like. It pays to check this and get their commitment to you on paper. There are specific recovery agents dotted across the country that will come to you wherever you are and recover you vehicle for a fee. Until you’ve had to do it, you won’t know the value of such service people nor will you know the cost.


So how does it work?

As mentioned earlier, every Club 4X4 Comprehensive 4X4 policy comes with $1500 worth of Off Road Recovery Cover inbuilt. If you know you’re going to take a big trip during the 12 month term of your policy, you may want to pay extra to get the higher coverage, but please note this product cannot be added mid-term.

If you need to be recovered, all you do is pay and then provide us with the Tax Invoice from the Registered and Licensed Towing/Recovery organisation that you called on. We will refund you the amount, less the applicable excess – it’s that simple. Further to this, given it’s a financial compensation based policy feature, you can also use the coverage you have to get a trailer out at the same time right up to the amount you have available on your policy.

So there you have it, if it wasn’t clear before hopefully it is now!

Happy Touring

Kalen Ziflian

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Comments 46

    1. Post

      Hi Paul,

      if you have the basic $1500 cover that is in every policy, you have an excess of $200.

      When you take up the options 15,000 or 30,000 coverage the excess is the basic $200, plus 5% of the value of the recovery over the basic $1500 coverage amount.

      If you need more information i encourage you to give us a call on 1800 CLUB 4X4


  1. You wrote; from the Registered and Licensed Towing/Recovery organisation that you called on.

    What registration and license do we have to make sure the recovery people have before we engage them?

    1. Post

      Hi David,

      Good Question. Generally their registered business will be for towing and recovery of some description. For example, we will not accept invoices from plumbing companies. Businesses registered as a towing agency will require the appropriate licensing to do that kind of work.

      Hope that helps.

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  3. Good stuff Kalen! That article clears up a lot of confusion about what is/isn’t included in insurance policies.
    You are right about roadside assistance providers & their limitations on service that they provide. I have a top of the range premium roadside assistance product, and it is still limited to gazetted roads accessible by a 2WD tilt tray, and then recovery costs cover only up to 200kms in remote areas. That 200kms covers the distance from the roadside assistance providers depot to the breakdown & then to the nearest repairer. 200kms doesn’t get you far in the Aussie outback such as Cape York, Birdsville track, etc. Even a breakdown with a caravan in tow on the Stuart Hwy in Central Australia will see recovery to somewhere that can fix today’s modern vehicles, exceed a cost of $1000!

    1. Post

      Hi Marc,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. When you do stop to understand what we’re offering you do really realise how different it is! We still get a lot of questions about this so i think we will need to continue to educate but in the meantime please spread the word.


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  7. Hi Kalen,
    You say that this is “ financial based policy” and that the it can be used to recover trailers up to the value of the amount on the policy – does this include caravans? Caravans have a standard $750 recovery allowance and can not be increased in the same way as the truck comprehensive insurance can be.

    1. Post


      Hi Gary, the $750 allowance on our caravan/trailer policy is different to this coverage. This is for off-road recoveries, whereas the other coverage isn’t


  8. What happens if you have a caravan in tow and you breakdown or have an accident? Is your van left behind or is towed as well?

    1. Post

      Hi Ross,

      A good and common question. Because our coverage is a financial coverage correctly, you can use your amount however you like. This means if you have a trailer in tow you can take it with you.


  9. Hi Kalen. Do you guys offer coverage for engine damage due to dirty fuel which often happens when travelling off the beaten track?

    1. Post
  10. My insurer will give me my more than 30 year old vehicle as well as pay me out the agreed insured amount in the event of a write off. Would your company do this?
    That is the main thing that keeps me where I am.

    1. Post


      With Club 4X4 you gain first rights to your vehicle regardless of age. We won’t “give” it to you but we will negotiate a value.

      What you need to factor is that we will generally give you a much higher agreed value than other insurers


    2. Hi Andrew , What u refer to is usually described as a cash settlement where the agreed value is paid less any excess and a salvage fee for the wreck that you whish to keep. The salvage fee is usually negotiated with you the insured and the assessor at the time of the claim This salvage fee is what the insurance company would ordinarily expect to achieve in a salvage auction sale. It’s not the norm to be paid out the full agreed value and them giving you the wreck.

  11. Why can’t I add recovery cover mid term?…I’m doing Simpson Next April and would like to be covered, but my policy isn’t due for renewal til Nov. options?

  12. I pay a monthly policy for both my truck and camper with Club 4X4, how is this treated as far as the annual policy in case I want to upgrade to the higher off road recovery amount?

    1. Post
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  15. Sorry Kalen your OFF ROAD policy is not clear at present we have our fully ensured 4×4 stuck up on an off road north of WEIPA with a blown radiator and we are not covered ??

    1. Post

      Charlie – if you are stuck right now you need to call us – if you need to be recovered from an unsealed road or off-road track your policy has AT LEAST $1500 of cover towards this! Arrange the tow and then send us the invoice from the recovery company. You are covered out to the nearest sealed road or town. If you paid extra, you may have more coverage available.

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  18. Can you please clarify what the ‘Offroad Cover” actually includes – is it only on ‘tracks’ or for instance, if I am stuck halfway accross the Strzlecki Desert on the road between Merty Merty and Cameron corner due to a breakdown (track is currently only accessible by 4×4 or heavy vehicles due to washouts and corrugations), will I be covered for recovery? Or halfway accross the Anne Beadell Highway? Or if I am at the edge of Lake Eyre, on a rough road only accessible by 4×4, am I covered for recoveries? Or do I need to be on a designated ‘4wd only’ track? How do I know if I am covered for recoveries where I am going? And when does the recovery end – when I’m at a sealed road? Unsealed? Mechanic? I have your insurance and believe it represents value for money, however some of these things are a bit confusing. Thanks.

  19. We were on the Gary Junction Rd and asked the NRMA Premium phone # if we could get road service.

    They refer you to the State you are in and the local garage or authorised mechanic will attend.

    This has worked well for us in SA and WA but the NT road service told us they do not attend vehicles on a unsealed road!!!

  20. I just tried to get a quote for my 1983 Landcruiser and I couldn’t progress in the procedure past the year selection..

    It only dropped down to 1993!!!!

    1. Post
  21. my insurance for 1986 troop carrier has gone up by $86 dollars with my current insurance co your year numbers don’t cover my vehicle

    1. Post
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  23. I also found when completing an online quote that when entering a regular driver, the premium significantly increased. What is your definition of a regular driver? With my job I drive my car less than half a year and my wife is lucky to jump behind the wheel 10 days a year. To me that doesn’t constitute a regular driver. If I can leave her out of the policy, me premium is attractive for me to switch to insurance.

    1. Post

      G’day Marty,

      Your best bet is to give us a call and walk through this one. Depending on your wife’s age you could drop her off and accept a larger excess if she were to bend it.

      “lucky to get behind the wheel 10 times a year” to me isn’t regular.


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  25. Really good point. I had a vehicle breakdown (so not a claimable event) in the Alpine National Park a few years ago. We were stuck, poorly prepared and had kids with us. Police would not engage SES to come get us.

    We eventually (at midnight) got onto Reidy Recovery from Warragul. These guys were awesome. Drove through the night, got to us around 8am, brought breakfast with them, made us coffee, towed the vehicle out and then, even fixed it right there and got us going again.

    Total service cost around $3,000. Fair and reasonable for the service provided in my mind… what was the alternative? We decided to live permanently in our car in the middle of the Alpine National Park? This cover would be a big assistance in situations like that.



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  29. Hi All and 4×4, Just wondering if you guys (club4x4) could compile a list of Authorized Towing Companies that we could access in an emergency off road. I am sure a lot of Tow companies would love to come on board with Club 4×4. It would be so easy to pull out a piece of paper with the phone numbers of affiliated 4×4 off road recovery companies , just thought it would be a great extra service to provide.

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