Have you got breakdown cover?

Winter weather can cause chaos for motorists – but breakdown cover will ensure you don’t get left out in the cold.

It’s bad enough breaking down in good weather, but if your car conks out when it’s dark and freezing, it can be a much more frightening and stressful experience.

With statistics from the AA showing that the number of breakdowns nearly doubles in the winter months, cover is well worth considering. 

It doesn’t need to be costly either, with comprehensive policies starting from less than £30. Here, we take a look at the different available options….

What types of cover are there?

There are two different options to consider when purchasing a breakdown policy; vehicle cover and personal cover.

If you opt for vehicle cover, the agreement is that the provider will recover or repair a particular vehicle, regardless of who is driving it. A personal cover package offers protection to a particular person, regardless of the car that they are in and whether they are driver or passenger. 

While vehicle cover is the cheaper option, if you are a family with more than one car, a personal cover policy could be more economical and beneficial. Some breakdown cover providers now also offer the option of personal cover to be bought for a number of individuals on the same policy.

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Levels of cover

There are a number of different levels of cover to choose from and protection can be as minimal or comprehensive as you want.  Bear in mind when considering which one to opt for that you will get what you pay for

• Roadside:  As the cheapest and most basic of packages, prices start from as little as £20 a year.  You will be entitled to a recovery patrol coming out to your vehicle and trying to restart it at the roadside. In the event that it can’t be repaired, they will tow your vehicle to the nearest garage.

• National/Recovery: Along with all the benefits of a ‘Roadside’ package, stranded drivers and passengers get transport to a destination of their choice.

• Homestart: Many policies won’t cover you if you breakdown within a mile of your home address.  This package ensures that if you get into your car and it won’t start, someone will be sent out to fix it.

• Onward travel: This is the most complete package available.  Policy holders can have their car recovered and taken to a garage of their choice, repairmen sent to their home, recovery of driver and passengers and the cost of any unexpected accommodation and car hire required.

European cover

Travel insurance is normally top of the agenda when going away on holiday but many holidaymakers forget about breakdown cover. However, if you are planning on driving on the continent, it is well worth considering.

Communication problems coupled with expensive charges can make breaking down abroad a distressing and costly experience.

European breakdown cover can be bought for a certain length of time to correspond with your trip or it can be included as a standard feature lasting the full 12 months of the policy, helpful if you are planning a few trips over the year.

It will provide an English-speaking helpline number for staff to rectify the problem.

Again, it doesn’t need to break the bank. The cost of cover for driving in France for one day starts from as little as £4.99 from the AA.

Finally…

Before buying any breakdown policy, check you don't already have cover in place. Many bank accounts charge a monthly fee in return for a range of benefits, which often include breakdown cover, so if you have a packaged account, read the small print carefully.

If you do need to buy cover, check out the breakdown cover channel on MoneySupermarket today to find the best deal for you.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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