What you need to know about comparing breakdown insurance
Breakdown cover offers you the chance to get help with your vehicle when you need it most. It’s a policy that provides roadside assistance - with a trained professional on hand to fix your car and get you back on the road.
When it comes to breakdowns there are two pretty safe bets – they’ll happen at the most inconvenient times, and in the most inconvenient places. Having the right cover means when your car, van, motorbike or scooter fails unexpectedly, you’ll have help on hand. Here are the answers to some common questions about breakdown cover…
Frequently asked questions
Does breakdown insurance cover me or my vehicle?
Breakdown insurance can be applied to you or to your vehicle, it’s up to you.
With this option, you’ll be covered in any vehicle that meets the policy specifications, and you can claim whether you’re the driver or a passenger. You can also extend this kind of cover to people who live at the same address, usually up to a limit of four people.
Vehicle-based insurance is applied to a specific car, van or bike, and can cover up to four vehicles registered at your address.
What type of breakdown cover is right for me?
There are five main levels of breakdown cover. These are usually features of a single policy rather than stand-alone forms of insurance, although you should be able to purchase any combination of these by shopping around. This is what’s normally covered, although policies can vary.
A recovery vehicle will come out to you and a mechanic will try to fix your vehicle by the side of the road. If this isn’t possible, you’ll be taken to a nearby garage. This is the most basic type of breakdown cover.
As with roadside assistance, you’ll be covered for roadside repairs and a tow if necessary, but you can choose a recovery destination anywhere in the UK.
This covers you for continuing your journey, whether through a hire car, an overnight stay while your vehicle is being repaired, and in some cases medical cover too.
If your vehicle breaks down at home or within a quarter mile radius of your house, you can call in a recovery vehicle.
This usually includes all the above levels of cover, but also applies when you’re in Europe. Typically, you can choose between:
- Single trip cover – provides cover for up to 31 days
- Multi-trip (annual) cover – provides cover for as many trips as you make in a year, up to 90 days in total
Read more about European breakdown cover
Cover can vary among insurance providers, so check the country you’re visiting is included in your policy.
In many cases, European cover can also be added to an existing breakdown policy of another type.
What are the different types of breakdown cover?
Could I already have breakdown cover through another policy?
Breakdown cover might come as an added extra with your motor insurance, or even with some bank accounts or other financial products. It may also be included in the package if you’ve recently bought a car from a dealership.
If you have breakdown cover through another policy, check the policy documents carefully to make sure it offers everything you need.
Should I buy the cheapest breakdown cover?
Most breakdown cover customers choose based on price, according to 2017 research by Mintel. But opting for the cheapest cover could be a false economy if it’s not the right policy for you.
For example, if you’ve broken down far from home and don’t have national recovery, you’ll need to find a way to get your vehicle home or somewhere to stay while it’s being repaired.
Another consideration is your policy excess. For some people it’s worth buying a slightly more expensive policy with a lower excess so that they won’t be too badly out of pocket if they require a call out. Many of the policies you can compare with us don’t have an excess charge.
What happens if I break down?
Using your breakdown insurance is simple. Firstly, be prepared – keep your policy information in your vehicle or on your smartphone. When you contact your breakdown cover provider they’ll take details of where you are and what the problem is, then send out a mechanic.
Depending on the nature of the problem and your level of cover, the mechanic will either fix the issue there and then, or tow you and your vehicle to a nearby garage.
How can I find a good deal on breakdown cover?
Compare breakdown insurance with us and you could save a lot of time (not to mention money). Just tell us some details about yourself and your vehicle and you’ll get a handy list of policy deals to choose from, all on one page.
You can filter your results by policy type and include optional add-ons to find cover that suits your needs. When you find one you’re interested in, just follow the link to the provider’s website to get your deal.