Imagine the scene, you are off on your holidays, with the car full of luggage and kids, and 200 miles from your destination your car splutters to a halt. To many people, without breakdown cover, this is their worst nightmare, but this stress can be avoided by making sure you are fully covered if your car decides to go on strike. Deciding on the best cover for your circumstances can appear rather complicated with the many levels of cover and various options available. So here is my guide to car breakdown cover to help you out.
Types of car breakdown cover
There are two types of breakdown cover:
- standard policy - charges an annual membership fee, which varies according to the type of cover selected, call outs are then free of charge. You can choose between personal cover or vehicle specific cover. The former covers you no matter what vehicle you are driving whilst the second covers you for just one specific vehicle.
- pay and claim policy - this is normally the cheapest form of cover and you will have to pay a local breakdown recovery service and claim this money back from the breakdown cover provider.
Levels of car breakdown cover
There are four main levels of cover:
- Roadside assistance - this provides cover if you breakdown away from your home address.
- Home assistance - this provides cover even outside your own home if your car won't start in the morning.
- Vehicle recovery - if your vehicle cannot be repaired at the roadside then it will be recovered along with any passengers to either a local garage or your home address.
- Onward travel - this level of cover can provide car hire or alternative transport to allow you to continue your journey or return to your home address . Some policies will pay for accommodation while you are waiting for your car to be fixed. Companies differ greatly when it comes to this level of cover so make sure you check the conditions of each policy carefully.
Can I get car breakdown cover abroad?
Yes, you get full breakdown cover for anywhere in Europe. You can arrange a single trip policy or add it as an option on you annual policy if you are a frequent traveller abroad.
How can I save money on car breakdown cover?
- always shop around for the best policy but make sure you are comparing like with like and check the small print carefully.
- only pay for the cover you need and don't pay for costly options which will increase the annual premium.
- the age of your car is a factor in the cost of any policy as older cars are likely to break down more frequently. If you buy a newer car in between renewals go back to your provider to negotiate a reduced premium.
- when you receive your renewal premium always shop around for a cheaper policy with the same cover. Then go back to your provider and ask then to 'price match' the other policy. You will be amazed how much flexibility these companies have on their premiums. For full details on how to do this read the article - Save money on your car breakdown cover.