Breakdown Cover

Beginners Guide to Breakdown Cover

We’ve all experienced the nightmare of breaking down while on a journey… and even worse trying to get a friend to come and rescue us!

Although you can’t always avoid breaking down, you can make sure someone will be able to come and help you out if the worst does happen, providing valuable peace of mind and security – as well as potentially protecting you against some sky-high recovery and repair costs! Here’s a guide to breakdown cover, to help you make sure you’re choosing the right cover for you.

Understand Costs

When buying breakdown cover you’ll choose the level of cover that best suits your needs and pay an annual fee up front, rather than a monthly cost – though some companies may offer this as an option.

Any call outs you make during the period of cover are then free of charge.

You’ll also need to choose between personal cover or vehicle based cover. The former covers you as the passenger in any car you’re travelling in, so can be a good investment if you regularly travel in a car-share or a partner’s car. The latter covers the only the vehicle you specify at the time of taking out the policy, so you’ll need to update it if you get a new car during the cover period.

Beyond that the cost of the policy will differ according to what level of cover you choose. As standard, most breakdown policies will offer roadside recovery and roadside rescue – this basic cover is usually their cheapest. It’ll cover you while out on your journey, but home assistance is normally extra.

There will likely be many other optional extras, such as European cover and key loss cover, so you can really tailor the policy to your needs.

Some breakdown companies have their own dedicated patrols that will come to you if you need assistance, whereas others will contract out to local recovery services – which you’d prefer is a totally personal choice and usually there’s little difference in cost.


All policies differ and as with any insurance policy you should read your terms and conditions carefully to ensure you have the appropriate level of cover.

There are a few that regularly pop up in breakdown policies that you should be aware of, for example a limited call out allowance during the policy, delays between purchase of the policy and cover starting (though this is rare nowadays), or ineligibility for faults resulting from human error such as a flat battery because you left your lights on or putting in the wrong fuel.

Most exclusions such as these that a policy might have are not inherently bad, you just need to make sure you’re aware of them before you set off.

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