Even brand-new cars can have problems. Batteries can go flat, tyres can be punctured, or you can even lose your keys. For peace of mind and to have someone to call when things go wrong, many people choose to take out breakdown cover.

What is the difference between Breakdown Cover and Car Insurance?

Car insurance is a compulsory type of insurance, so you are covered if you are deemed to have caused an accident. Breakdown cover in the UK provides you with a service you can call on if your car goes wrong. For your annual fee you will be given a phone number and, if your car develops a fault, you will be able to call the advice line and, usually, they will send a mechanic out to attempt to repair your car. If that is not possible then breakdown cover usually includes some form of recovery – towing or transporting the car to a garage or safe place.

Do I need a policy per car?

You will usually be asked what cars you own, but if you have more than one you may find the best personal breakdown cover policy is one which covers you regardless of the car you are in and whether or not you are driving it.

What is Roadside Recovery?

This is the basic form of breakdown cover. You will be sent a mechanic who may be able to repair and restart your car, or you may be transported to a nearby garage.

What is Vehicle Recovery?

Vehicle Recovery will take you, and your vehicle and its occupants to your destination or back home.

What is Home Start?

Most basic policies only cover you once you are more than a mile from your home address. Home Start will get you under way if your car breaks down on the driveway or close to home.

What is Onward Travel?

If repairs to your car are lengthy then onward travel would typically pay towards the cost of renting a replacement or purchasing public transport tickets to get you to your destination.

What is European Cover?

If you want to be able to make use of the benefits of your breakdown cover whilst driving in Europe you will need European breakdown cover. Many standard breakdown policies include some form of breakdown cover, but it may not be to the same standard.

What’s not included?

Cars over 10 years old are often not covered unless you take out a specialist policy. There may also be a limit to the number of times you can use the service in a year and there may be a limit on the amount a policy will pay out. Finally, some policies exclude “user error” so won’t help if you put the wrong fuel in or lose your keys.

There are several providers in the UK including AA breakdown cover, RAC breakdown cover and Green Flag breakdown cover. Although the policies are similar it pays to read breakdown cover reviews and make comparisons for breakdown cover before purchasing the policy that best fits your needs.