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An essential guide to roadside breakdown cover

As any person that has broken down without breakdown cover will tell you, roadside breakdown cover forms an invaluable service to drivers nationwide. However ensuring that you buy the right policy that will provide both sufficient coverage as well as a reasonable yearly premium isn’t a particularly easy task. In this guide we look at the types of roadside breakdown cover on the market and the levels of coverage they provide.

Roadside cover is not breakdown cover

Although part of it and always promoted as its prime benefit, roadside assistance cover is not the same as breakdown cover. It refers to a patrol team taking you and your car to the nearest repair centre or gas station if you have a flat tyre or have suffered any mechanical failure. The team could also offer you a little fuel if you have run out of gas but nothing more. It is breakdown cover which is to offer further assistance such as coverage of any repair costs, a replacement car or any other extras.

Who would need a roadside cover

It is perfect for young drivers who still know little about car parts and what its individual sounds and murmurs mean. Having such back-up could give them courage and the peace of mind to hit the road and gain driving experience. It is no less good for drivers who feel their car has signs of faltering while travel is forthcoming. For those whose busy life has made them absent-minded and forgetful, roadside assistance can take their car to their home even if the keys have been lost or locked into the car.

Types of breakdown cover

Generally speaking there are two main types of breakdown cover that is offered today. The first of which is an automatic policy that gets charged on a yearly basis. This type of policy will cover you for a set number of call outs per year (so it’s important to know what this figure is if you’re not going to be stuck at the side of a road somewhere). This type of policy also guarantees that your car will be fixed and that there will be no charge for the call out.

The second type of breakdown cover is typically cheaper than the former option; it works in a similar way to traditional insurance and means that, in the event of a break down, your breakdown company will contact a local company to come to you, and you’ll then need to pay their fee for both the call out and recovery if required. At a later date you’ll then need to reclaim the money from your breakdown provider. This type of policy is popular for those that are looking for a cheaper deal and who can pay upfront and don’t mind having to go through claiming the money back.

Levels of cover breakdown cover

It’s vital to understand that breakdown cover has differing levels of coverage which fits into four of the following categories. These will differ from provider to provider to it’s vital you check what’s specifically provided by your policy.

Roadside assistance

Roadside assistance is included as standard across all policies by all providers and means that they’ll be an engineer arrive at the roadside to try and fix your vehicle. If they are unable to do this then your vehicle will be transferred to a repair shop that is somewhere convenient to you.

Home assistance

Home assistance is vital if you’re to ensure your car is covered wherever it breaks down (including outside your house); the number of breakdowns that occur before a vehicle has even left its drive is pretty significant.

Vehicle recovery

Vehicle recovery assures you that should your car not be fixable by the roadside then you, your passengers and your car will be taken to a nearby garage.

Onward travel

Onward travel is the most robust of all breakdown coverage. It can include car hire, accommodation and alternative transportation.


You may also be interested in European Breakdown Cover.

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