How to choose the right breakdown cover

The level of help you can expect if your car breaks down on the side of the road, will depend on your breakdown package. Les Roberts rounds up the different kinds on offer.

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It’s at this precise moment that you either rejoice at the fact that you’ve got a motor breakdown policy and the number of a rescue service in your pocket. The different firms call their services by different names, but there are essentially five levels of cover to choose from…

Roadside is the most basic. With this, a patrol will come and try to fix your vehicle at the side of the road and, if this isn't possible, will tow it to the nearest garage.

Then there’s national cover. It’s essentially the same as Roadside but with the added option of transporting you, your vehicle and any passengers to a destination of your choice, be that your preferred garage or back home.

With a home start contract, you get the additional benefit of having a patrol sent to your home to make repairs. If you don't have this start as part of your cover the recovery service will not tend to your vehicle unless it has broken down a certain distance from your home

Up from this level we have onward travel cover, the most complete level of domestic cover on offer. In addition to all the other benefits, it also covers the cost of any unexpected accommodation and car hire.

If you take your car on the continent, you’ll need extra cover. European cover can be added to your policy for either a single trip or for a year.

As well as the different levels of cover on offer, there are also two types of breakdown cover - vehicle and personal.

Vehicle cover means that a specific vehicle is covered in the event of a breakdown, no matter who’s driving.

Personal cover, on the other hand, offers recovery to an individual if they are either the driver or a passenger in a broken down vehicle. It doesn’t have to be their own car.

Vehicle cover is often cheaper, but personal cover is more extensive. If there is more than one vehicle in the household it could be more cost effective to take out a personal policy so you are covered no matter which car you're driving.

There are other points to consider, which is why we’ve put together a guide to the subject at MoneySupermarket.com. Have a read and see what you think. You’ll certainly be glad you’ve got breakdown cover if that head gasket ever blows…

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