If you’ve ever been in a car that’s broken down far from home, you’ll know how scary it can be. No matter how old or new your car is, there are lots of reasons why it could suddenly stop being driveable. It could be something simple like a puncture or the engine overheating, through to your timing belt snapping or something even more serious.
That’s why thousands of drivers choose to buy car or van breakdown cover, to help them get back on the road if something goes wrong.
How breakdown cover protects you
Here’s how it works. When your car breaks down, you phone your breakdown provider, who will send a mechanic to come out to you, do their best to fix the problem and get you back on the road. If something more serious is wrong,if you have ‘onward journey’ cover, they will get you and your car home, or to a garage of your choice, or on to your intended destination (depending on your level of cover).
Sometimes you can buy it as part of your car insurance, either included in the main policy, or as an add-on. If you want to choose certain things (more on these later), it may be better to buy separate car breakdown cover.
Options to think about
There are quite a few things to consider when buying car breakdown cover. First, think about how far you usually travel. If you only really drive within your region, you can select local coverage. You’ll need to check the policy details to understand how far from home you can be before you are out of range for the cover.
If you regularly drive long distances, national coverage might suit you better. It’s pretty awful to break down hours from home with no way of getting back!
Home Start and onward journey cover
Another thing to think about is whether you would need Home Start. If you include this in your policy, you can call the breakdown service out if your car is at home and won’t start. If you have another vehicle you could use,
you might not need this level.
The next thing to think about is how much cover you need. The basic level will just give you roadside assistance. That means, the mechanic does what they can to fix the problem or tows you to the nearest garage.
That’s enough for some people, but you might also want reassurance that you can get home, and have your vehicle taken to a garage near where you live. In that case you would need onward journey cover. Here, if the mechanic can’t get your car back on the road, they will take you back to where you live, and either leave your car at your house or take it to your local garage. You could also ask to be taken to your planned destination.
European breakdown cover
Do you use your car to go on holiday outside the UK? If so, you might want to look at European breakdown cover, which means you can get roadside assistance if you break down in most countries on the continent. Any UK car insurance policy will cover you to drive within the EU, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this is only on a third-party basis. If you only leave the country once or twice or year, you could also look at single trip European breakdown cover, which you can buy as a one-off.
If you travel a lot or maybe use your car for work, you might choose a further level of coverage so you can claim back costs – say if you need to stay in a hotel for the night while your car is fixed, or hire a car while yours is repaired.
Personal or vehicle cover
A final choice is whether you want ‘personal’ or ‘vehicle’ breakdown cover. If you choose personal cover, it means you can call for breakdown assistance for any vehicle that you’re driving, and sometimes travelling in as a passenger. This can be really useful if you regularly drive different cars, vans or other vehicles both at work and in your personal life.
Or, you can link the cover to your car – which is useful if different people in your family might be driving it. This kind of cover is often cheaper because the breakdown provider can find out how old the car is, how many miles it has done and so work out how likely it is to break down.
Compare and save
Different levels of cover come with different costs, so it’s worth using a comparison site to compare car breakdown cover to really understand what the options are. It will help you decide whether to opt for cheap breakdown cover or spend a bit more to make sure you have an extra level of protection.
Try using comparethemarket.com to look at all the different kinds of breakdown cover offers available to you. We’ll list all the breakdown cover quotes out in a table for you with the cheapest breakdown cover at the top, and an at-a-glance guide to the main things each one offers you.
When you’ve chosen the best breakdown cover for you, just click on the ‘buy now’ button to visit the provider’s website and to confirm the policy. Make sure you read all the details before you buy, in case there are any age restrictions or other limits. You should also check the details of your payments to make sure you are happy with the cost.
It’s easy to compare breakdown cover with comparethemarket.com. Let us help you find great value breakdown cover to suit you.