Breakdown Cover Guide

I want to buy breakdown cover for my car. What are my options?

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Car breakdown cover is a popular product, and it’s easy to see why. For most of us, the thought of being stuck at the roadside with a damaged vehicle and no way of getting home is pretty scary.

Breakdown cover broadly falls into two types, but there are also optional extras you can add to your cover should you wish to do so.

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Firstly, you could consider ‘traditional’ breakdown cover that you pay for annually, and which would cover you for a certain number of call-outs per year.

These products usually offer 24/7 assistance, with either a simple repair at the roadside included, or with a tow to a nearby garage included in the event that your car requires more extensive work. In either case, it’s very likely that the cost of any spare parts needed to repair your vehicle won’t be covered under your policy.

Secondly, you could opt for an ‘insurance style’ breakdown policy where you’d need to pay upfront for any emergency call-outs you make, as well as for the recovery of your vehicle. You’d then claim back the amount you’d spent from your breakdown cover provider.

What’s breakdown repair cover?

Breakdown repair cover is a term that’s often used for a standard breakdown policy with extra cover for spare parts.

Typically, having breakdown repair cover in place might mean that the first £500 of the cost of repairing your vehicle (whether at the roadside or in a garage) would be paid by your insurer, as well as the cost of a call-out.

As with standard breakdown cover, you would be limited to a fixed number of call-outs and repairs per year - so check how often you’d be able to claim on your policy before signing on the dotted line.

It’s also likely you’d have to pay an excess each time you made a claim for repairs under this kind of policy, so it’s important to know in advance how much that would be.

Are there any other extras I could consider adding to my breakdown cover?

Yes – there are a range of extras on offer from breakdown cover providers, some of which might be worth considering.

For instance, some insurers offer European cover that would provide you with protection in the event you were driving your car on holiday and broke down.

You can also choose to take out ‘at home’ or ‘on drive’ cover, which will mean you’re eligible to call your breakdown cover provider should you experience a problem in circumstances that wouldn’t usually qualify as a breakdown - and which are not usually included as standard within most roadside recovery policies.

You can also choose ‘personal’ cover instead of vehicle cover. This usually costs more, but means you’d be eligible for roadside assistance irrespective of what car you were driving.

Finally, you may be able to pay for additional protection that covers you in case you need to hire a car, get public transport or even book a hotel room because your car has broken down and cannot be repaired at the roadside.

This is sometimes called ‘onward journey’ cover.

How can I find the best deal on breakdown repair cover?

As with any kind of insurance, comparing the policies on offer from different providers is the key to getting the best deal on breakdown cover.

MoneySuperMarket’s breakdown cover comparison channel will allow you to specify the level of cover you require, then help you to search the market instantly for a policy that offers you the best possible value for money.

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