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You can choose your level of cover and add extras to your policy to tailor your breakdown cover to your needs. Check that you don't already have breakdown cover with your car insurance
1Accurate as of February 2024
Breakdown cover is a type of insurance you take out in case your vehicle breaks down. It’s sometimes also called breakdown and recovery. Breakdown cover can provide:
Roadside assistance: A trained professional will help you get moving again if your car breaks down
Safety and security: Minimises the stress of being stranded on the potentially dangerous roadside
24/7 cover: Peace of mind knowing you can get help whatever time, night or day
Nationwide coverage: Assistance wherever you breakdown in the country
Additional benefits: Policy extras such as onward travel, accommodation or replacement vehicles
Your vehicle's age, make and model will affect your insurance premiums. This is because some vehicles may have higher repair costs than others or maybe have a greater risk of breaking down
The type of vehicle you want to insure will affect your breakdown cover. Cars, vans, and bikes are priced very differently when it comes to repairs and some take longer to repair than others.
Choosing a higher level of cover or adding extra cover to your policy will add to your premiums. Local cover is is the most basic cover level and is typically the cheapest
It will cost more to insure multiple vehicles with one policy than it would be to insure one. However, a multi-vehicle insurance policy can sometimes work out cheaper than having multiple separate policies
A personal policy will cover you in any vehicle as a driver or passenger. When your cover is local, your policy will cover roadside repairs and a tow to a nearby garage if needed.
A personal policy will cover you in any vehicle whether you're the driver or passenger. National cover means that if your vehicle cannot be repaired by the roadside or within the same day at a nearby garage, your vehicle can be transported back home or to your original destination
Vehicle cover will cover your chosen vehicle with any driver and policies can cover up to four vehicles. With a local vehicle policy, your breakdown cover includes roadside repairs and a tow to a nearby garage
Your policy will cover your vehicle with any driver and your policy can cover up to four vehicles. With national cover, your car will be transported to your home or original destination if it cannot be fixed in a nearby garage on the same day
With a Europe and UK policy, you receive national breakdown cover for one year in the UK and up to 30 days per trip in Europe. Your policy can cover multiple trips to Europe while active
If you need breakdown cover for a single trip to Europe, this short-term policy will cover you. Get full breakdown cover for one trip to Europe including the drive out of the UK
Strike the right balance between the excess and policy cost. Remember a higher excess will lower the policy cost but increase what you pay if you make a claim.
Comparing quotes with us is a great way to see what providers have to offer and see policy costs upfront. Don’t take the first quote you’re offered, shop around.
Many providers offer a host of free add-ons, so make sure to read the policy details. A slightly more expensive policy could offer far greater cover.
Always use a renewal notice with your breakdown cover as a prompt to compare prices, rather than letting your policy renew automatically. The savings from switching or haggling can be well worth it, rather than seeing your premiums increase each year. Just make sure you don’t let your cover expire completely – having to buy instant cover if your car breaks down at home or at the roadside tends to be expensive."
The number of callouts you’ll be able to make on your policy will depend on your provider and the level of cover you want to take out. Some providers offer a certain number of free callouts a year, which means if you want to make any more you’ll have to pay a fee, while others offer unlimited throughout the year.
If your car breaks down and you haven’t got a breakdown policy, you can buy instant breakdown cover at the side of the road and your new provider will send someone to come and fix your vehicle.
Use our website to find a provider and call them directly to arrange cover. You can’t buy instant cover online and must speak to an advisor on the phone.
Breakdown cover policies can come with at-home breakdown cover, which means you’ll be able to call for assistance if your car breaks down at, or within a short distance from, your home.
This could happen for a number of reasons – for example, cold weather can lead to your engine oil becoming too thick, while leaving your headlamps on could result in a flat battery.
However at-home cover isn’t usually a standard inclusion, so it’s best to read over any policy documents before taking out a deal.
You will normally always be able to cancel your breakdown cover policy. Many providers offer a cooling-down period, usually around 14 days, in which you can cancel your policy without any charges.
However if you want to cancel after this period, you may have to pay a cancellation or administration fee to end your policy early.
If you break down whilst driving there are a few steps you should follow – however they can differ depending on whether you’re on a quiet road or the motorway. Read our guide to learn more about what to do when you break down.
Breakdown policies can also come with some exclusions, though these will depend on the provider and the level of cover you take out. Check your policy documents for the following:
Breaking down on private land
Breaking down with animals or pets
Breaking down because of an accident
Breaking down because of neglect
Some breakdown policies will include cover for breaking down abroad as standard, while others may only offer it as an add-on you can choose to take out. You may even be able to add this level of cover at any point during your policy term, though it’s likely you’ll have to pay more.
You should also check to see what countries are covered – for example, the locations included in a European breakdown policy may differ depending on the provider you choose.
Most providers will also let you add other people to your policy, which can be useful for families or households with more than one driver. You’ll also have the option with most providers to add extra cars to your policy with multi-car breakdown cover, however this could affect the premiums you pay.
Different breakdown cover providers are likely to have different requirements and standards, including the maximum age of the vehicle. However when you compare quotes on MoneySuperMarket, you’ll tell us how old the vehicle is and we can show you a list of providers that can offer you cover.
Many breakdown providers include a clause that prevents you from claiming immediately, mainly to prevent people from only taking out breakdown cover at the last minute. However this may not be the case with all providers – it’s best to carefully read over policy documents before taking out a deal, so you know what you’ll be covered for.
Most providers will offer you the option of paying either monthly or annually, depending on your preference. However it’s worth keeping an eye out for any price differences, as you might be able to save money by paying in a particular way with certain providers.
If you need breakdown assistance for a vehicle towing a caravan or another kind of special vehicle, it’s likely a standard policy won’t cover you. Some providers do offer policies that will cover you for caravans, trailers, and similar vehicles, but they’ll generally cost extra.
If the mechanic sent out by your provider isn’t able to repair your vehicle roadside, the next step will depend on your level of cover. They’ll either take it to a local garage or a garage you’ve chosen anywhere in the country.
However if no garages are open, they may offer to take the car to a chosen location, generally your home, before collecting it again when the local garage is open. You should check with your provider if you think there is a chance you’ll be on the road late at night.
Cars can occasionally break down with much warning, but sometimes the cause of the problem is something you can fix with proper car maintenance. However different issues can come up depending on simple things like the weather.
For instance, in summer the hot weather can aggravate tyre issues as well as causing your car to overheat.
Likewise in the winter, liquids in your car such as oil and water be affected by lower temperatures. There might also be issues relating to your windscreen and tyre tread.
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