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Breakdown cover

Compare cheap quotes on roadside assistance

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Compare breakdown cover from 14 trusted UK providers1

Find the best breakdown cover policy for you by comparing deals from leading UK insurers 

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1Accurate as of February 2024

What is breakdown cover and do I need it?

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

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How does breakdown cover work?

The assistance you get from your breakdown cover will depend on your policy, but even the lowest level of cover will provide you with roadside assistance if your vehicle breaks down unexpectedly

  • Purchase a policy

    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

  • A breakdown occurs

    After a breakdown, you should contact your provider. They will tell you what help is available and arrange it for you. If you don't already have cover, you can get instant breakdown cover from the roadside

  • Assistance dispatched

    Your breakdown cover can send out a mechanic to repair your vehicle or a tow. Depending on your policy, your insurer may offer you further help to get you back on the road, such as providing a courtesy car

How much is breakdown cover?

The cost of breakdown cover will depend on a few factors including: 

  • Plus

    Your vehicle

    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

  • Plus

    Vehicle type

    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.

  • Plus

    Your cover

    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

  • Plus

    Number of vehicles

    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

Compare tailored breakdown cover for all vehicle types

Get breakdown cover to meet your needs and choose the options that are right for you:

Why compare breakdown cover with MoneySuperMarket?

Comparing quotes for breakdown cover with MoneySuperMarket gives you access to a range of benefits you just won't get by going straight to providers:

  • Save time

    All your quotes will be shown in one place, meaning you don’t need to shop around a number of providers.

  • Save money

    Comparing prices properly makes it easier to find the best quote that works for you and saves you money.

  • Get tailored quotes

    We don’t offer you generic prices. You answer a few questions and show you prices that are tailored to your needs and circumstances.

What’s covered by a breakdown policy?

The level of coverage you get from your breakdown policy depends on what you take out:

  • 1

    Local personal cover

    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.

  • 2

    National personal cover

    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

  • 3

    Local vehicle cover

    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

  • 4

    National vehicle cover

    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

  • 5

    Europe & UK cover

    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

  • 6

    Europe single trip cover

    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

Additional policy options

There are two main types of optional cover you can add to your policy:

  • Onward travel

    If you break down you’ll have more options available to help you on your way, such as courtesy vehicles, accommodation, or alternative travel arrangements

  • Home start

    Home start cover means you’ll be able to get a call out if your car is broken down at home, or sometimes within a short distance of your home

How to choose the best breakdown cover

Getting the best breakdown cover is a matter of cutting costs where you can and finding cover that's right for your needs. Here are a few tips to help you find the best policy for you: 

  • 1

    Choose the right excess

    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.  

  • 2

    Shop around

    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. 

  • 3

    A little more money, a lot more protection

    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. 

Faith Archer

Our expert says

"

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.

"
- Faith Archer, Personal Finance Expert

Get tailored breakdown cover with MoneySuperMarket

It’s easy to compare cheap breakdown quotes online with MoneySuperMarket. Simply fill out a few details about yourself and your vehicle, and you’ll be able to compare quotes quickly.

  • It doesn’t take long

    Put in details like your address, the type of vehicle you have and the registration and we’ll get you a quote for van breakdown cover

  • We’ll search for savings

    We’ll do the heavy lifting when it comes to finding you ways to save money and show you the cheapest policies with a full range of features

  • Get covered

    Once you have chosen the level of cover you want and the policy you like, simply call or click through to purchase directly from the insurer

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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