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Sergei holding a breakdown warning triangle in front of a broken down car
A broken down car with open boot Sergei holding a breakdown warning triangle

Compare cheap breakdown cover

COMPARE LOCAL, NATIONWIDE AND EUROPEAN BREAKDOWN COVER QUOTES

  • Compare prices from 13 trusted providers with 359 products[1] to choose the right policy for you
  • Cover for cars, vans, motorbikes and scooters

Looking for Rewards?* Breakdown cover is not a qualifying product; however, compare prices now and find cover for you.

Rewards qualifying purchases

Car, home, travel, pet, bike, van, business, landlord, health, caravan, motorhome, life (including 50+) and taxi insurance

Energy, broadband, TV, phone and mobile phone

Loans, credit cards, car finance, homeowner loans and income protection

Non-qualifying purchases

Business energy, savings and current accounts, mortgages, business life insurance, business broadband, breakdown cover, home care, temporary insurance and equity release.

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover gives you roadside assistance if your vehicle breaks down. A trained professional will be despatched to fix your car and get you back on the road. If your car can’t be fixed at the roadside, you’ll usually be towed to a nearby garage. 

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 that if your car, van, motorbike or scooter fails unexpectedly, you’ll be able to get the help you need.

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Which breakdown cover providers do we compare?

We compare prices from 13 providers with 359 products[1] to help make sure you get a good deal.

See the options available to you in one go from the UK’s leading providers:

  • 2Gether Insurance
  • Auto National
  • AXA
  • CoverMy Breakdown
  • Dynamo Cover
  • Eversure 
  • Green Flag
  • LV= Britannia Rescue
  • Nova
  • Ping
  • RAC
  • Rescuemycar.com
  • Startrescue.co.uk
Compare breakdown cover


[1]
Correct as of March 2024.

What types of breakdown cover are there?

Breakdown insurance can cover you or your vehicle, it’s up to you.

Personal cover

With this option, a named person is covered rather than a specific car.

You’ll be covered in any vehicle that meets the policy conditions. You can also make a claim whether you’re the driver or a passenger.

This can be extended to cover people who live at the same address as you, usually up to a maximum of four. 

This type of breakdown cover can be useful if you regularly travel in different cars or have several cars in your household. 

Vehicle cover

This type of breakdown insurance is applied to a specific car, van or bike. This means anyone could be driving it when it breaks down and still be covered.

Vehicle breakdown cover is most useful if you only drive one vehicle. It’s also the ideal choice if you have a family car shared by several members of your household.

What’s covered by a breakdown policy?

The main levels of cover you need to think about are:

Roadside assistance

This is the most basic level of cover. A mobile mechanic will be sent out to try to fix your vehicle at the roadside if you break down while on the move.

If your car can’t be fixed, you’ll typically be towed to the nearest garage. 

At home car recovery

Sometimes known as ‘home start’ recovery, this gives you assistance if you break down at home or very close by, typically a quarter of a mile from your home address.

National breakdown recovery

As well as getting your roadside assistance, this level of cover allows you to be towed to any location in the UK.

Onward travel

This will help you continue your journey and get to where you need to be, if your car can’t be fixed at the roadside. You could be covered for a courtesy car, or even the cost of overnight hotel accommodation or taking public transport.

European vehicle recovery

If you’re holidaying in Europe (in the EU) by car and need breakdown recovery, this will give you cover for your trip. At Compare the Market you can also compare cheap European breakdown cover for vans and bikes.

All breakdown providers offer an emergency helpline and breakdown assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Finding the best breakdown cover for you will depend on what you need it for – with varying levels of cover available at different price points. For example, is the best policy for you just the cheapest breakdown cover or is it the policy with the most inclusions?

See more on the different types of breakdown cover.

Before buying, make sure you don't already have suitable breakdown cover elsewhere – as part of your car insurance or within a packaged bank account, for example.

What extras can I add to my breakdown cover?

There are several optional extras you might be able to add to your standard breakdown cover for an additional cost. These vary among breakdown providers.

Tyre replacement cover 

Ideal if you get a puncture or damage a tyre.

Battery replacement 

Covers the cost of a replacement car battery if yours is flat and you can’t start your vehicle.

Key replacement 

Some standard breakdown policies offer key replacement if yours are stolen, lost or damaged. If not, this add-on could be useful.

Special vehicles 

You might need a specific policy if you’re driving with a trailer or caravan attached to your car. Check with your breakdown provider before you travel.

Family and multi-car breakdown cover 

This covers multiple drivers sharing the same address as you. Multi-car breakdown policies allow you to add a specified number of cars to the same policy.

Fuel cover

Wrong fuel – if you’ve filled your car with the wrong fuel and then break down. 

Out of fuel – offers help if you run out of fuel. The breakdown provider will rescue you, but you’ll need to pay for the fuel yourself.

Author image Julie Daniels

What our expert says...

"If you’re on a budget you might be tempted not to bother with breakdown cover – but you’ll likely regret it if you find yourself stuck by the side of the road. Fortunately, there are lots of breakdown cover options to choose from so you can find a policy to suit your needs and your budget."

- Julie Daniels, Motor insurance comparison expert

How to compare breakdown cover

Comparing policies with Compare the Market is quick and easy – you can get a quote in just 3 minutes[2].

Give us a few details

Including your vehicle registration and what features you’d like your policy to include.

We’ll do the work

We’ll search, then show you a list of quotes starting with the cheapest breakdown cover from our panel. You can filter the results by price and Defaqto rating.

Buy your cover

Once you’ve found a deal you like, just click through to the provider’s website to apply.

[2] Correct as of March 2024.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost of breakdown cover?

Prices vary among providers but, in general, the cost of your breakdown cover will depend on:

  • The level of cover – you should expect to pay more for a comprehensive policy compared to basic cover.
  • The type of cover – personal breakdown cover is usually cheaper than vehicle cover. 
  • How many vehicles and people you want to cover – the more you add, the more expensive it will be. 
  • Any extras you want to add, such as fuel cover or key replacement. 

How many call-outs can I make in a year?

It depends on the breakdown policy you choose. 

With some, you can make up to three call-outs in a year. Policies that offer unlimited cover let you call as many times as you need, usually for a higher upfront premium.

However, some providers won’t cover you for repeat call-outs for the same fault. Be sure to check the policy before you buy. 

Is breakdown cover worth it?

For peace of mind alone, breakdown cover could be well worth the annual expense.

If you break down without cover, getting help could end up being very expensive and stressful too.

Some breakdown insurance providers offer instant membership. However, it’s an expensive way to get cover. You may be charged a hefty one-off emergency fee.  

Your alternative options include: 

  • Calling a breakdown provider to check if they offer a service to non-members – several of them do.
  • Calling a local garage to see if they’ll tow your vehicle to the nearest mechanic. But this could be very expensive and is only an option during garage opening hours. 
  • Friends or family – but this might be an issue if you break down in the middle of the night or are far from home. 

Will I be covered if my car breaks down at home?

If ‘home start’ recovery is included as part of your breakdown cover, you’ll be able to get assistance at home. Generally, policies that include home recovery will provide cover up to a quarter of a mile from your home. So if you break down just up the road, you’ll be able to get help. 

Home start cover could prove very useful, especially considering a flat battery is one of the most common causes of breakdown.

Could I already have breakdown cover through another policy?

Breakdown cover might come as an added extra with your car insurance, or even with some current accounts or other financial products.

It may also be included as part of a package: if you’ve recently bought a car from a dealership, for example. Be sure to check you’re not searching for a new policy unnecessarily.

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?

Simply choosing the cheapest breakdown cover policy might not give you the level of protection you need.

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. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for somewhere to stay while it’s being repaired locally. 

And policies that are cheaper to buy generally have a higher excess charge. 

Can I pay for my breakdown cover monthly or annually?

With the breakdown policies that we compare, you have to pay an annual membership fee. A small number of policies let you pay monthly, but usually it’s cheaper to pay annually and avoid paying interest.

What should you do if you break down?

Here’s what to do if you break down:

  • Park somewhere safe and turn on your hazard warning lights 
  • Get out of your vehicle through the passenger door 
  • If you have one, and it’s safe to do so, place a traffic warning triangle down
  • Stay a safe distance from the carriageway 
  • Call your breakdown provider

Keep your policy information in your vehicle or where you can easily find it on your smartphone.

Can I claim straight after taking out a breakdown cover policy?

In most cases, cover will start 24 hours after your payment has been accepted. But this can differ among breakdown cover providers, so check your policy conditions before you buy.

Can I cancel my breakdown cover policy?

​​​When you take out a policy, by law you’ll have a minimum 14-day ‘cooling off’ period. During this time, you can cancel your breakdown cover without any charges. 

Be aware that if you’ve used the service within those 14 days and decide to cancel, you won’t be given a refund.

If you want to cancel your policy after the cooling off period, you might be charged a cancellation or administration fee. Check your policy details to see what charges there are for early cancellation.

What happens if my vehicle can’t be repaired at the roadside?

It depends on the nature of the problem and your level of breakdown cover. But if the mechanic can’t fix the issue there and then, your policy provider will usually arrange to take you and your car to the nearest garage.

What happens if a family member breaks down?

It depends on your policy. If you take out personal cover, you can arrange to have multiple members of your family covered on the one policy. However, you all need to be living at the same address.

Will I be covered if my van breaks down?

Most breakdown providers will also cover vans, if they’re under 3.5 tonnes.

If you use your van to get to work, it’s worth taking out van breakdown cover. This could help you get back on the road sooner with minimal disruption to your working day.

Unfortunately, Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare van breakdown cover for business and commercial use. Breakdown cover compared with us is only for commuting and private personal use.

Will I be covered if my motorcycle breaks down?

Yes, you can buy motorbike breakdown cover, which offers the same levels and features as a car breakdown policy.

What isn’t covered by breakdown insurance?

Breakdown cover might not include:

  • Repeat call-outs for a recurring fault
  • Routine maintenance
  • A breakdown caused by neglecting a known fault 
  • Roadside assistance for an accident or breakdown that involves the emergency services

There may also be conditions attached if you break down on private land.

What if I break down with my pets in the vehicle?

​​​If you break down on a motorway, leave your pets inside the car for safety, where possible. If you have to take them out, keep dogs on a lead.

If your car can’t be fixed by the road, animals can usually travel in the recovery vehicle’s cab. They can also travel in your car if it’s being towed.

Having transferable pet travel carriers or restraints will help make sure your pet is transported safely.

When calling your breakdown provider for help, explain you have pets with you so the mechanic knows what to expect. Most recovery operators will try to accommodate pets, just try to keep your pet as calm and secure as possible. 

What happens if the breakdown company damages my car?

​​​If your car is damaged during the breakdown service, you should point out the damage immediately. Take photos, write down what’s happened and report it to the breakdown provider straight away. 

You’ll then need to contact the provider to find out how they can resolve the issue. If you’re not satisfied with their response, you’ll need to make a formal complaint.

Procedures for doing this will be set out in your policy. 

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you may be able to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. They can provide help in settling your case, although this depends on the type of cover they provide.

Will I still be covered now the UK has left the EU?

As long as you have European breakdown cover, you’ll have the same level of protection as before Brexit, unless your provider has told you otherwise.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, it’s important to make sure you arrange European breakdown cover before you leave the UK. And be aware that breakdown cover isn’t a replacement for European car insurance.

Can a vehicle be too old for breakdown cover?

Some breakdown providers will cover vehicles of all ages, others will have restrictions on age. When comparing breakdown cover, you should check the policy terms and conditions for any limits.

Specialist classic car breakdown cover is available too.

Will I be covered if I’m towing a caravan?

Most breakdown providers will cover you for towing a caravan, although weight and size restrictions usually apply. Go above these and you’ll need additional cover before setting off.

Some providers offer specific breakdown cover for caravans and motorhomes if you’re a member of a caravanning club, like The Camping and Caravanning Club UK. These policies often offer extra benefits, including no weight or size restrictions.

About Compare the Market

At Compare the Market, it’s all about keeping it simple. We help you find the right product at the right price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we only make money when you switch or take out a new product, so it’s in our interests to help you make the right choice.

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Page last reviewed on 18 APRIL 2024
by Alex Hasty