Breakdown cover, unlike car insurance, is not legally required in order to take a car on the road but it really is a must for anyone not wanting to pay huge sums to have their car towed to safety should they break down.
What does breakdown cover include?
The basics of breakdown cover are as follows:
- Roadside assistance. This is the basis of breakdown cover. If your car breaks down on the road your cover provider will try to fix your car at roadside but if this is not possible they will recover the car to the nearest approved garage.
- National recovery. If you breakdown and your car is unable to be fixed at roadside national recovery means your service provider will transport you and the passengers of the car to your destination within the UK.
- Home Start. The option of home start covers you if you need assistance at your home. This is useful if your car breaks down overnight, a fate more likely during the cold winter months.
- Onward Travel. Not to be confused with national recovery. In the event that your car cannot be fixed roadside onward travel extends cover to include replacement car hire, alternative transport costs and even accommodation.
- Parts and Garage cover. Extends roadside cover to include cost of parts and extra garage work. Usually parts and garage cover will have a maximum claim amount and a maximum number of claims allowed in a year.
Other breakdown cover variables
- Personal or vehicle cover. Personal cover provides cover for you as a driver or passenger in any vehicle. You can also have joint or family cover providing cover for others. Vehicle cover provides cover for a set number of vehicles, whoever’s driving. You can typically cover 1, 2 or 3 vehicles. You will of course have to provide details of said vehicles.
- Age of vehicle. The age of your vehicle can affect the cost of your cover. Most coverage providers will provide different prices if your car is 10 years old or more.
- European Breakdown. If you regularly travel abroad with your car then you should consider adding European breakdown to your coverage. You can add European breakdown coverage for a short amount of time or for the full length of the cover. Get a quote for both before committing as it may be cheaper to be covered for the whole year rather than a short amount of time.
Pay as you claim breakdown cover policies
Pay as you claim cover can work out cheaper than standard breakdown cover.
With pay as you claim policies you still pay an annual fee but the breakdown company will not send out their own fleet, instead they will send out a local service near to you. You will then pay the local service whatever fee they charge and claim this fee back from your breakdown cover provider.
If you take a pay as you claim policy it is very important that you are an organised person who will keep receipts and make the claims, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of money.
You should weigh up the cost saving aspect of the pay as you claim policies against the convenience of the standard policies.