What To Look For: Choosing A Breakdown Cover

Breakdown Cover

Breakdown cover is something we should all have in the case of an unexpected breakdown, especially if you are miles away from home, but with a number of different providers, which one do you go for?

With most modern cars coming without a spare tyre (My Focus ST Included) what happens if you are stuck in the middle of the road with a flat tyre, or even worse, a car that will not start. With winter coming, cars are even more prone to breaking down, especially when cold sets in on your cars battery, distinguishing the power that was once there.

Types of Breakdown Cover

There are two main types of breakdown cover to chose from when you look around at the different companies. The first choice is your usual big firm breakdown cover, such as AA, RAC, Green Flag and Gem Motoring Assist, who offer a fixed term membership fee (annually membership), which will then cover you for a certain number of call-outs. This type of cover may seem very convenient, and as this is a no-fuss and hassle free service, where your car will be towed to a local garage to be fixed, or even fixed on the road side (if at all possible), but the main drawback is if your car is on its last legs, and you find yourself getting close to the maximum allowed call-outs.

The second choice is often the cheapest choice, as the breakdown cover company will often have contracts with local breakdown firms, where you will then have to pay an up-front fee for each call out / recovery. You will then have to claim the payment back from your breakdown provider. This will most likely work out cheaper in the long run, especially if you do not mind paying out some money to begin with.

Levels of Breakdown Cover

This is where it starts to get a bit clustered with the different choices of cover.

Roadside Assistance

This is usually included in all breakdown covers on the market. This will mean someone will arrive at the scene of a breakdown and attempt to fix your vehicle directly on the roadside. If they find it cannot be repaired on the roadside, your vehicle will be towed to either your home, or a local garage. You will typically obtain a hours worth of free labour, but will be charged for any parts required to fix the issue.

Home Assistance

So you get in your car to set off to work on a morning, and you find your car does not start. Most breakdown cover will not come and fix your car on your drive as part of the standard policy, or even if you breakdown within half a mile from your home. This usually costs extra, but is well worth adding to your policy, as most breakdowns usually happen outside your house.

Vehicle Recovery

If your car cannot be repaired at the roadside, it will be towed to the nearest garage or home, and also provides you and your passengers a lift home. This usually comes as standard with the roadside assist policy’s.

Onward Travel

This is typically the fully comprehensive package you can get, but can mean a number of different things depending on which provider you purchase from. This could mean you get a hire car to continue your journey, or could mean they will provide alternative transportation (train) to your destination, or even just provide you with a hotel room until your vehicle is repaired by a garage. It is always best to read the fine detail of the policy if you are planning on ordering this package to see exactly what you get.

You may also want to take into account other types of policy, especially if you drive more then one car, or even, if there are more then one driver within the household. It can work out cheaper to provide breakdown cover for your household, with 3 or more cars all covered under one policy. There is also the choice of covering just yourself, which means if you drive two or more cars, you will be covered no matter what car you drive, or if you provide breakdown cover for just the vehicle, that means either you, or anyone who shares your car will also be covered.

It is essential to shop around, as there are lots of breakdown cover companies around, all with websites which can provide instant quotations, and will give you a clear view as to what you are actually covered for.

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