Wednesday 24 April 2024

What is breakdown cover and why do you need it?

In the UK, breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement. Still, much like one rescue’s famous slogan, many drivers see breakdown companies as the 4th emergency service, and in many situations, having the correct type of breakdown cover can indeed be life-saving.

But if it isn’t a legal requirement, why do you need it, what is it for, and what should you be looking at?

Why get breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover is a coverage that provides motorists with help and support should they experience a breakdown for any reason while driving or find themselves unable to carry on their journey. The cost of getting emergency help, i.e. towing your car home from 200 miles away, isn’t cheap, and while you would like to think you wouldn’t need it, if you were stranded, this is probably the only way to recover your vehicle and get you to where you need to be or back on the road again. If you don’t have the upfront funds to pay for this type of assistance on the day, then breakdown cover allows you to pay a monthly or annual premium that gives you this benefit and more for a set cost.

What type of cover is available?

The level of coverage provided by breakdown services can vary from provider to provider. Breakdown Cover Comparison sites can help you find different breakdown companies and compare what they offer and the costs of their services.

For example, you can choose a basic cover that provides roadside assistance, or you can get a cover that gets you assistance in Europe, too, and everything in between. The level of cover you choose should be based on your typical driving habits and the type of help you think you might need. IE, if you lock your keys in the car frequently or are worried you might do that, then choosing a policy that covers home starts and this specific issue will be a good idea.

What to look for in breakdown cover

  • Price- first, you need to compare the different prices for similar packages to get a feel for what you can expect to be covered
  • Reviews – Read reviews from current or previous members to get a feel for response rates, satisfaction scores and what you can experience should you break down and need to use this service.
  • Who is covered – this is a major factor to look at as you can either cover the car so anyone driving the vehicle is covered, or you can cover yourself, meaning you get assistance even if you’re not driving your own car. These will be distinguished as either personal breakdown cover (covering you, the person) or vehicle breakdown cover.
  • Exclusions – each different policy level will have exclusions that aren’t covered. For some, you need to be a certain distance away from home before you are able to call for help. Others might not provide you with onward travel to your destination, only to the nearest repair centre. One policy might cover parts or extras such as tires, or there might be add-on services such as legal cover, fixing windscreen crack, replacing your battery, and even calling out limits for the same repair in a specified timeframe.

Always read the small print before deciding what type of breakdown cover you will purchase, if any. Look for special offers and deals, and be aware that for many companies, you are entering into a 12-month contract like you would offer insurance. If you fail to make your monthly payments, you will be liable for the entire year even if you can’t continue using the services.

** This is a collaborative post

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