If you’re buying a car for the first time, you may be feeling a little bit daunted. There are so many things to look into, even after you’ve bought your car — insurance, road tax, breakdown cover… It can all get very confusing.
In this post, we’ll be focusing on the latter: breakdown cover. Considering we’re a nation of car drivers, many of us know surprisingly little about breakdown cover, what it entails, and what the best cover is for your vehicle.
Below, we’ll be taking a dive into the world of breakdown cover and discover everything you need to know, as well as answering the questions you were too afraid to ask.
Read on to find out more.
What is breakdown cover?
First, we’ll start with the basics: what exactly is breakdown cover anyway?
Breakdown cover is basically a type of insurance policy that you can get to help you out if your vehicle — whether it’s a car, motorbike or van — breaks down on the road.
By paying for breakdown cover now, you will be covered in the future. This means that if your vehicle breaks down or you’re having car trouble on the road, you will get assistance from the policy provider. This usually works by calling up the breakdown provider. They will then send a mechanic to either repair or tow your vehicle, depending on the issue.
There are two different types of breakdown cover:
Personal: Person or personal breakdown covers the policy holder travelling in any vehicle (as long as it meets the requirements in your policy), regardless of whether you are the driver or a passenger in a car driven by someone else
Vehicle: Vehicle breakdown just covers one specific vehicle (this could be a car, van or motorbike etc) so you can only claim when you break down in that vehicle
Normally, vehicle breakdown cover tends to be the cheaper option.
You can also vary your cover depending on how basic or comprehensive you need your policy to be. In the section below, we’ll go into what breakdown cover normally includes, and if there are any exceptions to the rule.
What does breakdown cover include?
What is included in your breakdown cover can vary depending on the policy and level you take out.
However, most breakdown cover policies usually include:
Roadside assistance: The most basic level of cover, this means that if your vehicle breaks down, your policy provider will send out a mechanic to repair your vehicle on the roadside. If they are unable to do this, they will use a recovery vehicle to tow it to either the nearest approved garage or a destination of your choice (providing that destination is nearby).
Vehicle recover: This level of cover is national, meaning that you can have your vehicle towed to any location in the UK, including your home or a garage of your choice — see it as a step up from roadside assistance, allowing you more options of where your vehicle is taken to.
Onward travel: Onward travel provides you with alternative modes of transport, should the breakdown mechanic not be able to repair your vehicle roadside. This includes options such as a hire car, alternative transport (such as taxi, bus or train, of which the policy provider will cover a set amount) or even overnight accommodation.
At home cover: Also known as home start, this covers you if a breakdown happens at home or a within a short distance of your home (such as ¼ mile away from your house). This could be a situation where you
Of course, you can buy more expensive, inclusive breakdown policies which will cover you on things like:
Trips to Europe
Using the wrong fuel in your vehicle
Depending on how you use your vehicle, you can decide on the level of cover that you wish to buy.
Should you get breakdown cover?
We would always recommend getting breakdown cover if you own a vehicle.
Breakdown cover is not expensive at all — especially when you take into consideration the amount of money you fork out annually for car insurance and road tax (let alone money spent on fuel).
It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind; you’ll be safe in the knowledge that if you do ever get stranded on the roadside, help will be at hand.
What to think about when buying breakdown cover
There are a few different factors you need to take into account if you’re thinking about buying breakdown cover:
Do you own a vehicle?
Do you share the vehicle with anyone?
Do you travel a lot/drive abroad?
How much are you willing to spend?
Do you need a basic breakdown plan or a comprehensive plan?
Taking all of these factors into account will help you decide on the best cover for you.
What is the best breakdown cover?
There are a range of different options for breakdown cover, depending on what you need and your circumstances. It’s pretty easy to figure out what you need using online comparison sites — all you have to do is fill in your information, and the comparison site will do all of the hard work for you, and pick the best-priced, most suitable cover for your needs.
However, if you’re looking for a brief overview on breakdown covers, take a peek at the answers below:
The cheapest breakdown cover: GreenFlag and Emergency Assist Ltd. both do very cheap, simple breakdown cover
Most comprehensive breakdown cover: RAC and the AA provide comprehensive cover to help you out in a number of different breakdown situations
Best breakdown cover for young drivers: Direct Line, Aviva and Co-op do great cover for young drivers at a very reasonable price
Best breakdown cover for drivers who regularly travel abroad: GEM Motoring Assist is a very popular cover provider with drivers who need European breakdown cover. However, most major providers will also provide European cover as an add-on to policies.
If you’re still feeling stuck, then check out customer reviews online to see how real drivers found their breakdown cover policies.
Hopefully our guide should have covered all of the things you need to know about breakdown cover. We’ll be adding more to this page soon, so stay tuned for more breakdown information!
Any other questions? Ask away in the comments below.