Car

Your Guide to Breakdown Cover


No matter how well-maintained your car is, there is always the chance that your vehicle will break down. And it’s not like you can choose when or where it happens either – so it inevitably ends up happening at the most inconvenient time and location!

But if you have breakdown cover, there’s no need to panic. Read on to find out more about the benefits of breakdown cover, as well as the different policy levels available to you.

Types of breakdown cover

There are two main types of breakdown cover to choose from:

  • Vehicle cover

This covers your chosen vehicle, so you’re only covered for assistance if the specified vehicle breaks down.

  • Personal cover

This covers you when you are a passenger or driver of a vehicle. For instance, if you are travelling in a vehicle that isn’t yours and it breaks down, you can call your breakdown cover provider for assistance.

Vehicles eligible for breakdown cover

Before taking out breakdown cover, you should check that your vehicle is eligible for this insurance. Most cars and vans are covered, but there are exemptions for some vehicles. Check whether your vehicle is eligible here.

What is breakdown cover?

Full breakdown cover can usually be split into the following areas, and you can choose which type of cover you need when you get a quote.

• Breakdown repair cover - This covers the cost of recovery following a breakdown

• At home – This will cover your vehicle if it breaks down at home only (rather than when you’re out and about).

• European cover – This will cover you if you breakdown whilst you are driving in Europe.

• Onward journey cover – This covers the cost of onward travel (e.g. train tickets) to enable you to complete your journey if your car is not able to be repaired on the roadside.

• Personal cover – This covers the cost of recovery for any car that you might be driving, rather than just a specific vehicle.

How does breakdown cover work?

This will depend on the level of breakdown cover you choose, but usually the policy holder calls a designated breakdown helpline and an engineer will be dispatched to the location of the vehicle. Often, if your vehicle can’t be repaired at the side of the road, the provider will tow your vehicle to be repaired elsewhere.

With some providers, such as RAC, if the vehicle can’t be fixed it will be towed to a location of your choice within 10 miles. Some providers also offer onward journey cover, another extra you can add to your breakdown policy. This means that once your vehicle has been recovered at the roadside, your insurance provider will help you to make alternative arrangements for you to continue your journey.

Top tips for breakdown cover

Not sure what to do if you breakdown? Here are some of our top tips…

• Always carry your breakdown card/phone number in your car. You may not have internet access to find the correct number. Don’t chance it – store a copy of the number in your vehicle.

• Keep your policy number in your vehicle You should keep your policy number and policy details to hand. You may be asked for this information over the phone.

• If your provider has an app, download it. It may give you important information about your car recovery and calling for assistance.

• Store a phone charger or power bank in your vehicle This way, you should always have enough phone battery to call for help.

• If you suspect you’re going to break down, make other drivers aware. To keep other road users safe, put your hazard lights on as soon as you think your car has a fault.

• Don’t be afraid to leave your vehicle If you’re stopped on a dangerously busy road, try to get yourself somewhere safe. Exit your vehicle on the passenger side if possible, and wait for assistance away from the road.

Need help deciding if breakdown cover is for you?

For information on car insurance or breakdown cover, please contact us.