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If you need breakdown cover for just one car, how many people will need to covered?
If you own several cars, or if your drive other people's cars, you may need personal breakdown cover, not just for a named vehicle.
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Last updated: 30 March 2021
There are different levels of cover:
Roadside assistance is the most basic, meaning a mechanic will try to fix your car where it has broken down
You can add on vehicle recovery (being towed to a garage) and home start
Other options such as accommodation and onward travel are included as part of a comprehensive package, or you can add them on as individual items
This provides breakdown cover if you’re the driver or passenger in either your own car or another vehicle.
It’s worth considering if you regularly travel in different cars or you have several cars in your household.
Some breakdown insurance companies won’t cover you if you drive cars over a certain age, as they are more likely to break down.
Vehicle breakdown polices cover the car, not the driver. Anyone driving the car will be covered. This could be a good option for a family car shared by two or more drivers.
Why you might need vehicle breakdown cover:
If you only ever travel in your own car, vehicle cover can give you the policy you need and may work out cheaper
You can also get vehicle breakdown policies that cover more than one car, which could be a good alternative to personal breakdown cover if you have more than one car in your household
Roadside assistance covers you if you break down anywhere in the UK, typically at least a quarter of a mile away from home. A mechanic will come and try to fix your car at the roadside, or tow it to a garage.
Home assistance insurance will cover you if your car breaks down at home or less than a quarter of a mile away from your address – if you car won’t start in the morning. Your car will either be fixed at home or taken to a garage for further repairs.
If your car can't be fixed at the roadside, vehicle recovery means it will be towed to a garage or your home.
Onward travel breakdown cover can get you where you want to go even if your car cannot be used.
It covers you whether it's a lift home or dropping you off to the destination you were travelling to, as long as it's in the UK.
Onward travel breakdown cover can even be more comprehensive and can include a courtesy car or even accommodation while your car is being repaired.
While most policies only include breakdown cover for the UK, European cover will come to your aid if you break down elsewhere in Europe.
Some standard policies allow you to upgrade to European breakdown cover at a later date if needed.
It is worth checking the terms and conditions of your car breakdown insurance or car insurance policy to see if you are already covered, or if you are able to upgrade.
Breakdown cover was originally offered to members of the RAC and the AA, which are two of the UK’s oldest driving clubs. Other providers of car breakdown in the UK have since been established such as Green Flag.
There are other companies offering breakdown cover as part of any fully comprehensive car insurance policy. These include AXA and Swiftcover.
Always compare prices and policies when looking to take out breakdown cover to make sure you're getting a good deal.
The Automobile Association, is a form of breakdown cover which it offers to AA members as well as those who have AA car insurance.
The RAC, like the AA, offers its own form of breakdown cover to members and those with its car insurance.
However, some other insurers also offer the RAC’s breakdown cover as part of their package.
These will vary from policy to policy. Usually the cheaper policies limit your call outs to four or five a year. Some comprehensive policies don’t have a limit.
Different providers can offer additional extras such as:
Replacement key cover
Cover if you fill your car with the wrong fuel
It’s worth comparing lots of different policies.
When you buy car breakdown insurance cover you can choose whether you want a van, car, or motorcycle to be covered. If you are looking for breakdown cover for special vehicles, such as a large campervan or a car with a trailer, you will need to make that clear.