Breakdown Cover

Cover yourself in the event of a breakdown

Cover yourself in the event of a breakdown

Choose between national and international cover

Choose between national and international cover

Save up to £530 on your car insurance*

Save up to £530 on your car insurance*

Compare breakdown insurance policies

Get cheap breakdown and recovery insurance quotes

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. These issues can usually be fixed on the spot, allowing you to carry on with your journey.

However, breakdown cover will also cover you for more severe faults. This is sometimes referred to as ‘roadside 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. Neither one is better than the other, it simply depends on your circumstances and your driving habits.

Personal Cover: If you choose personal cover, you’re insuring yourself rather than your car. This means your name will be on your breakdown cover policy and you will be able to receive assistance regardless of the car you’re driving (as long as it meets your policy terms and conditions). Personal cover usually applies even if you are a passenger in someone else’s car. You may be able to take out personal cover for multiple members of your family if you all live at the same address (usually up to four people).

Vehicle Cover: This type of insurance covers your car rather than you, so your policy will have details such as your car make and model as well as your registration number. This means that anyone driving your car will be able to get roadside assistance, but if you drive a different car, you won’t be covered.

If you’re not sure which type of policy is right for you, consider whether you’re likely to be driving the same car all the time and whether anyone else uses your car. Personal cover is ideal for people with more than one car in the family, while vehicle cover is better for drivers who share one car with multiple members of their household. If either policy would work for your needs, remember that personal breakdown cover is usually cheaper than vehicle cover.

What Is Covered by Breakdown Insurance?

Not every breakdown insurance policy will offer the same level of cover. Many providers offer different levels of protection, so you can decide what you want to pay for depending on your needs. Some of the incidents you can expect to receive cover for include:

· Roadside Assistance: All breakdown cover policies typically include roadside recovery as standard. This means that if you break down on a public road a mechanic will be dispatched to take a look at your car. If they can fix the problem, you’ll be able to continue your journey. Otherwise, they will usually tow your car to a local garage.

· National Recovery: This includes everything from the point above, except you can choose which garage your car will be towed to as long as it’s in the UK.

· European Recovery: If you plan to take your car on holiday in the EU, European breakdown cover will make sure you can receive roadside assistance even while outside of the UK.

· Home Recovery: Usually available as a breakdown cover add-on, home recovery, also known as home start, means that if your car won’t start at home, your breakdown cover provider can send someone to help you fix the issue. This type of protection can sometimes also cover incidents where you’ve accidentally locked your keys in your car at home.

· Onward Travel: This breakdown cover add-on will help you carry on your journey after your car breaks down and it can’t be fixed. Not only will your car typically be towed away, but you may be provided with a temporary vehicle or have your accommodation or public transport costs covered.

Do You Really Need Breakdown Cover?

Car breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement, so you don’t need it in the same way as car insurance. However, the vast majority of drivers do take out breakdown cover, as breaking down without the right protection can land you in a very difficult position. If you aren’t able to repair your car yourself, you’d need to find a breakdown provider that would be willing to help you for a premium fee, or try to contact a nearby garage for assistance.

So, when deciding whether you really need breakdown cover, consider what you would do in a situation where you’ve broken down and have no cover. Not only will you likely end up spending more money on recovery, but your wait time could be much longer as well.

How Much Does Breakdown Cover Cost?

The amount your vehicle breakdown cover costs depends on a few different factors, including:

·        How much cover you need
·        The make, model and condition of your vehicle
·        The add-ons and extras you want in addition to your basic cover
·        The number of people or cars you’re covering
·        The type of cover you choose

The more cover you need, or the more expensive your car is to fix, the more you’ll end up paying for your breakdown cover. Similarly, breakdown cover for multiple people usually comes with a higher premium, but may be cheaper than taking out multiple individual policies. Sometimes breakdown cover may be cheaper when bundled with car insurance, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when the time comes to renew your policy.

Remember, the cheapest breakdown cover may not always be right for your needs. The best way to save money on breakdown cover is to compare policies and choose one that is in line with both your budget and your circumstances. Consider how much cover you really need and don’t pay extra for add-ons you know you won’t use.

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.

Find the Right Vehicle Breakdown Cover

The first steps in finding the right vehicle breakdown cover are to understand your options and get a personalised quote. Whether you’re looking for car insurance with breakdown cover, or just a standalone policy, here at Money Expert we can help you to compare policies so you can find a policy that works for 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. 

What happens if my car breaks down at home?

Basic breakdown cover doesn’t usually cover you if your car breaks down at home. However, adding home start or home recovery to your policy means that your provider will send someone out to help even if you’re located at your home address.

What does breakdown insurance not cover?

Breakdown policies don’t cover general wear and tear or vehicle maintenance, as this is something you need to do yourself, or ask a mechanic to look at. You also won’t be covered if you break down multiple times due to the same fault that hasn’t been addressed. Similarly, if you know your car has a fault and have been putting off fixing it, your breakdown cover won’t recover you if you break down as a result of it. Always check your policy terms and conditions to understand exactly what is covered.

Is breakdown cover included with car insurance?

Many car insurance providers offer breakdown cover as an add-on, but it’s not always included as standard and typically comes with an extra charge. Bundling breakdown cover with car insurance can sometimes be cheaper, but not always.

Does my breakdown cover start immediately?

Your breakdown cover usually starts 24 hours after you take out your policy, but some providers may allow you to specify a date in the future, while others may have a longer waiting period. You will need to check with your provider if you’re not sure when your cover starts.

Can breakdown cover be cancelled?

You can usually cancel breakdown cover in the cooling-off period after taking it out. This is usually 14 days, but can vary. If you cancel during this time, you shouldn’t need to pay a cancellation fee as long as you haven’t used your breakdown cover. Cancelling your policy after the cooling-off period may mean paying a fee, though you may receive a refund for unused months of cover.

Can my family use my breakdown cover?

In some circumstances, your family may be able to use your breakdown cover. If you have vehicle breakdown cover and your family member is driving the car that’s named on the policy, they will be able to call for assistance. If you have personal breakdown cover, your family members will need to be added to your policy as long as they live at your address. However, this may increase your monthly premiums.

What happens if I break down without breakdown cover?

If you break down without cover, you will need to ring a breakdown cover provider and ask for emergency assistance. This will usually be expensive and you may have to wait a while for someone to come out to you. You could also get in touch with a local garage and ask them to recover you.

Can I transfer breakdown cover to another car?

You may be able to transfer your breakdown cover to another car, but this will depend on your policy’s terms and conditions. If you know you will be getting a new car soon, or often change cars, consider taking our personal breakdown cover, as this will cover you rather than the car you’re driving.

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Last reviewed: 1 July 2024

Next review: 1 August 2024