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Breakdown Cover

Breaking down can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t have the right insurance. Find out more about breakdown cover that will help you get back on the road if your vehicle breaks down.

In This Guide:

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover is insurance you take out so that you are covered if your vehicle breaks down. It is useful to have breakdown cover if your car has a common fault that prevents you from driving, such as a tyre puncture or a flat battery, while it will also cover you for more severe faults. It is sometimes referred to as ‘recovery’, as when your vehicle cannot be repaired roadside it will be towed either to your home or to somewhere that it can be fixed.

Breakdown cover means that you won’t be left stranded on the roadside when your vehicle has a fault. If you do not have cover then the time it takes to be rescued will likely be longer and the cost of repair or towing will be greater.

Types of breakdown cover

When deciding on what breakdown cover to get, you can choose between personal cover or vehicle cover. If you choose personal cover then the insurance policy will cover you in any vehicle permitted under the policy specifications, even if you’re a passenger. If you choose vehicle cover then the insurance policy is applied to a specific vehicle, but can cover up to four cars registered at your address.

There are various types of breakdown cover, depending on what you need it for. The level of coverage you get will be determined by what you take out:

  • Roadside assistance/local recovery – a mechanic will attempt to repair your car roadside. If unable to do so they will tow it to a local garage.
  • Home start/home recovery – if you break down at home or near to your home then you will be covered by breakdown recovery.
  • Vehicle recovery/national cover – if a mechanic is unable to fix your car roadside, they will tow it to any location nationally.
  • Onward journey – wherever you break down nationally you will have more options available to help you continue the journey, such as alternative travel arrangements and accommodation.
  • European cover – if you break down whilst driving in Europe your insurance provider will help you get back on the road.

What to do if you break down

When your car breaks down, the most important thing to remember is the safety of you and your passengers, as well as the safety of other drivers on the road. If you are moving when your car breaks, the first thing to do is to safely park out of the way of other vehicles. Once your car is stationary, make sure your hazard lights are on, and for extra safety place a warning triangle further back along the road to warn other drivers of the hazard.

Make sure that you and any passengers you had in the car are a safe distance away from the road. If you are on a motorway or dual carriageway then position yourselves behind the barrier or bank.

Call your breakdown cover provider once you are safe and let them know where you and your vehicle are stranded, and they will send someone to assist you.

Frequently asked questions

How do I make my breakdown cover cheaper?

Only pay for the features you need, and make sure that breakdown cover isn’t already included with your bank account or car insurance. You can also save money by covering multiple vehicles or drivers under one policy. Make sure you compare car insurance with breakdown cover to find the best deal for you.

What if I break down on private land?

Your breakdown cover provider may charge you extra or even not cover you at all if access is difficult.

How many times can I break down and be covered?

This will depend entirely on the level of cover on your insurance policy. Some providers allow you unlimited callouts throughout the year, whilst others will charge you once you have used up your allowance of free callouts.

Will I be covered if I’m towing?

Standard policies generally do not provide cover if you break down whilst towing a caravan, trailer, or other vehicles. If you are likely to regularly be towing a large vehicle of some kind, then it may be worth taking out a special policy that will keep you covered.

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