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Breaking down on the road can be a nightmare, but getting the best breakdown cover can help get you back on the road. Breakdown cover is not mandatory but acts as a form of insurance, so you can have peace of mind that you’re covered if your car breaks down or refuses to start.

When you compare breakdown cover, there are a few different types and features you can choose from. The main considerations you’ll have are price and convenience. To find the best breakdown cover for your needs you should run a breakdown cover comparison.

Choosing the right breakdown cover: personal or vehicle cover?

Some policies cover you and some cover your car, so when looking for cheap breakdown cover it pays to decide which option is best for your needs.

Personal breakdown cover

This can provide breakdown cover if you’re the driver or passenger in either your own car or another vehicle. Most providers will state terms such as the age of the car, so it doesn’t quite cover any vehicle, but personal breakdown cover can be valuable if you regularly travel in different cars or you have several cars in your household.

Vehicle breakdown cover

Here the policy applies to the car, not the driver, meaning that anyone driving the car will be covered – this could be a good option for a family car which is shared by two or more drivers.

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.

Levels of car breakdown cover

Levels and features of car breakdown insurance vary greatly between different companies – some of the main features are:

  • Roadside assistance - Covers you if you break down anywhere in the UK, typically at least a quarter of a mile away from home.
  • Home assistance/home start - This will also cover you if your car breaks down at home or less than a quarter of a mile away from your address.
  • Vehicle recovery - If your car can't be fixed at the roadside, vehicle recovery means it will be towed to a garage or your home.
  • Parts and labour cover - Covers the cost of any parts and labour needed to fix your car.
  • Onward travel - Onward travel breakdown cover can get you where you want to go, 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 UK breakdown cover can even be more comprehensive, like a courtesy car or even accommodation while your car is being repaired.
  • European breakdown cover - 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.

Different providers can offer additional extras such as battery cover and replacement key cover, so it's worth comparing lots of different policies.

How to choose the best breakdown cover

Finding the best breakdown cover for your needs will depend on many different factors. The cheapest breakdown cover may not have all the features you need, so it's important to take a minute to consider what's important to you.

Consider how you use the vehicle. A few examples to consider are: how many miles you'll rack up, whether it will be used for short trips, whether multiple people will be using the vehicle, and whether you need breakdown cover exclusively for driving in the UK.

Always check the terms and conditions to make sure you are getting the level of breakdown insurance you require to save yourself a nasty shock if you break down.

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