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Why should I pay for breakdown cover?

If you regularly use your vehicle to travel long distances, it’s ideal that you are covered for any breakdowns to avoid travel delays and to get roadside assistance when required.

What are the different types of breakdown covers?

There are 2 different types of breakdown cover. We have listed them below -

  • Standard breakdown cover - as the name suggests, it’s one of the most convenient options for business travellers and regular commuters. Usually you are required to make an upfront annual payment and the cover includes all call out fees.

  • Pay and claim cover - is one of the cheaper breakdown cover options but you are required to make an upfront annual payment and you will have to pay the contracted breakdown company if you call them out. This cost will then be refunded back to you by your breakdown insurance company once you send the receipts.

What are the different types of breakdown cover levels

Breakdown cover levels may vary from one cover provider to the next. Some of the available options are -

  • Vehicle recovery cover
  • Home assistance cover
  • Roadside assistance cover
  • European breakdown cover
  • Onward travel cover
How can I find a cheaper breakdown cover?

Some of the ways in which you can get cheaper breakdown cover are -

  • Compare and shop around
  • Consider small breakdown cover providers
  • Avoid buying additional policies where applicable
  • Check if your back account provides you the cover you need
  • Buy it as an add-on service to your car insurance policy

Why would you need breakdown cover?

If you have a car there's a good chance it will breakdown and most of us have no idea about the inner workings of a car. Calling out accident recovery whilst out and about could set you back hundreds of pounds. By paying an annual or monthly premium you could have roadside assistance at no further cost, millions of people in and around the UK who drive a car will have some form of breakdown cover.

What is vehicle breakdown recovery cover?

Vehicle recovery is not automatically included in your breakdown cover. there are two forms of vehicle recovery, local recovery, and national recovery

Local recovery is included with most breakdown recovery policies alongside roadside assistance. Local recovery covers a certain radius away from your home. Should your car breakdown and roadside assistance is unable to repair it, the car will be towed to the nearest garage or to your home.

National Recovery is usually an optional extra which costs a little more. It's designed for drivers who drive long distances around the UK or are regularly more than 30 miles from their home.

When considering breakdown cover look to see if passengers are included in the cover should your car breakdown, certain policies will only cover the driver or the policyholder.

If you are buying exceptionally cheap breakdown cover check the finer details to see if you are covered for full local recovery, some policies

What is home start breakdown recovery?

if your vehicle breaks down whilst on your driveway or within 1 mile of your home, home start breakdown recovery will ensure you receive assistance to your vehicle from a mechanic who will endeavour to make sure the car is working again. Home start breakdown recovery is not just limited to your normal parking spot but covers a set distance from your home

Home start recovery does not come as standard with most breakdown recovery policies, it's normally a bolt-on. if you are searching for a breakdown cover policy on freepricecompare.com, check the features of the policy to see if home breakdown is included in the cover. Unless you have home-start breakdown cover you will not be able to use your breakdown cover if your vehicle breaks down within a certain radius of your home.

Why is home start recovery important?

Cars are mechanical, and as such, they can go wrong on the road and off it. Supposing you had a very important work meeting which you needed to attend but your car is failing to start outside your house on your driveway, without home start recovery, you'll have to call an emergency mechanic which will cost hundreds of pounds and could take hours to arrive depending on the mechanics schedule, with home start recovery you will not pay any more for the mechanic coming to your home and the response times are a lot quicker.

What is onward breakdown recovery cover?

Supposing you have a journey, you're going from London to Birmingham and halfway through your journey, your car has broken down. You've called roadside assistance and as you have national recovery level cover, the mechanic offers to take you and your car to the nearest garage. If it's important that you have to be in Birmingham then you will have to seek alternative modes of transport, and depending on what mode you choose it could be very expensive and you could be delayed and arrive hours later than you would have hoped.

Onward travel breakdown recovery cover will ensure that if your vehicle cannot be fixed at the roadside then arrangements will be made so that you will still be able to get to your destination. Onward travel breakdown cover would normally include the cost of a hire car and accommodation if the car has broken down somewhere far away and the hire car is normally provided for a few days, so the policyholder is still able to get around.

Important points to remember

Onward breakdown recovery cover does not come as standard with normal breakdown cover but it is an added bolt-on costing a few extra pounds

Complimentary hire car may not be a standard for all onward breakdown recovery, check the features of a breakdown cover policy to see if it is included.

European breakdown cover

As the world gets smaller and travel becomes a more regular activity, there's a good chance you will decide that you may wish to drive through Europe as a holiday trip. Now imagine you were on this adventure and your car was to break down midway through the journey, what would you do? Calling the local emergency recovery service could be an expensive task and this is where European cover steps in.

What is European breakdown cover?

It's normally an optional extra, and can be purchased for single trip cover or for those that make frequent trips, there is annual cover. If you are making a trip to Europe by car, we would recommend you to take out European breakdown cover.

The policy just like in the UK will offer roadside assistance and if your car cannot be fixed at the roadside, under your policy your car will be towed back to the UK. Without European breakdown cover, having your car towed back to the UK could set you back thousands of pounds.

Things to check

Decide if you want to take annual or single cover trip. annual is more expensive, however, if you are making multiple trips to Europe, then in the long run it will be cheaper.

If you have an annual European breakdown cover, inform your insurer of your destination so the policy is activated, should you need it.

Check the countries or country you're travelling to (or through) are covered in your policy for European breakdown cover

Check the small print or call your European breakdown cover provider to see what limits on mileage and costs there could be, some insurers will have a cap on the costs implicated in having a car towed back to the UK.

Does normal breakdown cover lost keys, misfuelling and replacement tyres?

Most standard breakdown cover will not cover for lost keys, misfuelling and replacement tyres, it's usually a chargeable add-on. It's important to consider these add-ons because as a driver at some point the likelihood that you'll be confronted with a burst tyre without spare or lost keys. If you ever lose a key, without an adequate level of cover, the replacement key and locks could cost you hundreds of pounds. When comparing breakdown cover on freepricecompare.com it is worth while checking the difference in the cost for breakdown cover policies with the features that will see you being

Putting the wrong fuel in the car?

There probably isn't a driver in the UK that doesn’t know someone who has done it. You're at a petrol station, your car runs on petrol but somehow you've filled up your car with diesel. If you have to call out a mechanic or take it to a garage it's going to be an expensive necessary exercise. However, people with breakdown cover can breathe a sigh of relief, as with the right level of breakdown cover, your tank can emptied and even the cost of the fuel can be reimbursed.

What is misfuelling cover?

It's an add-on to breakdown cover whereby a mechanic will drain your car of the wrong fuel, and your breakdown cover provider will cover all of the cost or at least a majority of the cost including the cost of the refuel.

It should be worth keeping in mind, if the vehicle is driven off whilst with the wrong fuel, it could void the misfuelling cover, and the insurer could hold the driver as being negligent and not pay for any repairs as a result of the damage sustained whilst driving with the wrong fuel.

What should you do if you’ve put the wrong fuel in the car?

If this has happened to you, the first thing to do is not drive or turn the engine on, by driving you not only risk voiding your breakdown cover, you also run the risk of damaging your car. Firstly, turn the engine off as so no fuel is being consumed or going into the engine, then let the attendant know what has happened. If you’re covered for misfuelling cover, call your provider and get them to send a mechanic to drain the fuel tank. If it is not covered in your policy, then if you’re confident enough do it yourself or have the car towed to the nearest garage where it can be done for you but the cost could be high. This is why misfuelling cover is an important add-on to have with your breakdown cover.

Lost keys.

Thousands of UK drivers report lost keys and calling out a locksmith can be a very expensive exercise. Lost key cover which is optional add-on to most breakdown cover will replace a lost key or replace the locks if you don’t have a spare key to cut a new one from.

Replacement tyres

It is not always the case that a car will have a spare tyre in the boot, and for those without an adequate level of cover face the arduous task of driving on a flat tyre to the nearest garage, which in itself carries risk of a collision or calling out for a mechanic who will charge a large premium for his service. Having the add-on of replacement tyres to your normal breakdown cover will insure roadside assistance will be able to fix a replacement tyre at no extra cost

Motorbike breakdown cover

Breakdown recovery cover, covers more than just cars, if you have a moped or motorbike, there is a good chance your 2/3 wheel vehicle could face mechanical problems whilst on the road. Having breakdown cover for your bike will mean you getting roadside assistance which is covered by your annual or monthly premiums (certain providers of breakdown cover may charge an excess)

Just like car breakdown cover the same addons are available for motorbike breakdown cover:
Roadside assistance cover, normally comes standard with most breakdown policies. A mobile mechanic will be sent to the location of where you’re stranded with your motorbike, and attempts will be made to fix the problem at the roadside. If the issue cannot be fixed, the car is then towed to the nearest garage

Nationwide coverage

Local recovery comes as standard with most breakdown cover and that is if you’re motorbike breaks down within a certain radius of your house and if the bike cannot be fixed it will be towed to the nearest garage or your home. If, however, your motorbike breaks down outside of the radius of your home, then to be covered you’ll need nationwide recovery cover

Home start cover

If your motorcycle breaks down near your home or close to your home then many policies for roadside assistance and national breakdown coverage may not cover as they’re normally triggered once you’ve travelled a certain distance from your home. Home start recovery will cover cost should that problem occur

Onward journey

Using a motorbike is a fast and quick way to get to a destination. However, if your motorbike breaks down, you are not going anywhere. Where onward journey cover is different is that the provider for your breakdown cover (as long it mentioned) will provide alternative transport while your motorbike is being repaired and if needed arrange overnight accommodation

European breakdown cover for motorbikes

This add-on to motorbike breakdown cover will cover you in the event your motorbike breaks down on the continent of Europe. Most breakdown cover unless stipulated otherwise will be local recovery (a set distance from your home). National recovery will cover you if you break down in the UK. European cover, which covers trips across Europe can be purchased as a single trip policy or for those that make frequent trips, an annual policy.

European breakdown cover means that you'll get roadside assistance in Europe and if your bike cannot be fixed, it can be towed back to the UK. In order to trigger the policy, contact your provider for breakdown cover and inform them of the intention to travel and the country or countries you'll be traveling to.

Van breakdown cover

If you are a business owner with a minivan, then breakdown cover is very important as your van could be a mainstay of your business.
The levels of cover for breakdown will be dictated by your business needs. if you are choosing a cheap policy, make sure it has adequate levels of cover that's right for your business.

Whether you're delivering parcels or taking to your tools to your next job, your van could be the lifeblood of your business, so it's important to know what type of breakdown cover is right for you.

The various levels for van breakdown cover are;

Roadside assistance

Roadside assistance is the most basic cover that comes as standard with most breakdown cover policies. it assures the policyholder that if the vehicle cannot be fixed by the roadside then the van will be towed to the nearest garage.

Home start

Most breakdown policies will only be triggered if the breakdown occurs a certain distance away from your business or home, so if your van breaks down outside your house or business then basic breakdown cover will not cover you, home start will ensure that you get assistance to fix your van within the proximity that local recovery and national recovery will not. Home start will also ensure that if your van cannot be fixed, it will be towed to the nearest garage.

Onward journey

This policy add-on will ensure that if your not be fixed at the roadside, it is taken to a garage, whilst your van is being repaired, you are given an alternative van so you can continue on with your business. Onward journey policy could also cover you should you need an overnight stay

National recovery

Most breakdown cover policies will only cover you if your van breaks down within a certain radius of your home or business. Outside that radius should you need cover then you'll need to add on national recovery. This will mean if your van breaks down anywhere in the UK there will be attempts to fix your van at the roadside, and if it cannot be fixed will be towed to a garage or to your business location.

European travel

Certain van drivers will make trips to Europe, it maybe once or multiple. National recovery cover will not cover your van should it be stranded in mainland Europe; you'll need to add-on European travel level cover. The great thing is you can do this as a single cover or have annual cover if you're making multiple trips. European cover means your van will get roadside assistance in Europe, and if it cannot be fixed then it is towed back to the UK

Those businesses that make the trip without European travel level cover risk breaking down and having to use local breakdown services which might charge a premium, and if the van has to be towed back to the UK that cost could run into thousands of pounds.

When taking out European travel be mindful of the countries you'll need European travel for, and to make sure they're covered in the policy. European travel cover can be purchased as a single journey cover, or for those making frequent trips annual levels of cover. In order to trigger the policy, inform your breakdown cover provider of your intention to travel to Europe and the countries you’ll be passing through

What are the most common causes for a van to breakdown?

Flat batteries

Flat batteries are the number one cause for breakdown callouts. It could be that your van needs a jumpstart which could be offered at roadside or it could be that your battery needs replacing

Flat tyres

Another common cause for vans to be stranded, if you cannot fix it, or do not have a spare tyre, call roadside assistance provider and check your covered for replacement tyre cover should you need it.

Engine problems

Even in the hi-tech era we live in your van is susceptible to breakdown, in most cases the malfunction can fixed at the roadside, however, if need be it can towed to the nearest garage if the repair that's required is more complex

Misfueling

Should you put the wrong fuel in your van, call your provider to send out a mechanic who will empty the tank. Depending on the type of cover you could also be reimbursed for your fuel.

Do not drive the van with the wrong fuel, as it could void your cover and ruin your engine. Also check to see if your breakdown cover will cover misfuelling as it's not always covered

Losing your van keys

Losing van keys is a common call out to breakdown cover providers, it is not a common feature for all insurers, but it is worthwhile having as the cost of replacing a key could be hundreds of pounds.

Lost keys, misfuelling and replacement tyres are not normally included in standard breakdown cover and can be added on at an extra charge.

Breakdown Cover Frequently asked questions

If you’re on the road or motorway, make sure you are parked safely with the hazard lights on so oncoming traffic are aware you have an issue. Make sure any passengers or animals leave in the car if it is a high speed road and stand away from the car in a safe area in case the car is struck by another vehicle. Call your breakdown cover provider for them to send you help

It is an insurance policy that will mean a broken down vehicle at the very least receives roadside assistance if in the event a car breaks down

This will depend on the policy you’ve taken out. Very cheap policies will most likely have excesses and limited number of call-outs. The more expensive policies will tend to have no excesses and higher number of call-out before excesses are enforced or some have unlimited call outs

Yes, breakdown cover for Europe is sold as a single trip policy so it covers you for the duration of that trip or for more frequent travellers, an annual policy would be more cost effective

If your car breaks down near your home, make sure you have home start as an add-on to your policy. most breakdown cover will only have local coverage as standard which is only activated if the car is a certain distance away from your home. Home start cover ensures you receive mechanical help near your home

Yes, most insurers will give you the option to pay monthly or annually, some insurers will offer a discount for those that pay annually in advance.

When you do a comparison on freepricecompare.com you'll be asked the age of the car, and the system will filter out any providers that cannot cater for cars that are beyond their age limit requirements. It's very likely drivers with older cars will end up paying higher annual/monthly premiums as its considered likely that their cars will breakdown more often.

If you are travelling to Europe and fearful that you may break down then your normal breakdown cover is unlikely to cover trips abroad. Normal breakdown cover covers a local area, and if you want greater coverage then when you would need to have national breakdown coverage, and for Europe you'll need European cover. European cover can be bought as a single trip policy or for more frequent travellers, and annual policy which would be cost effective.

Normal breakdown cover policy may not cover the loss of a key, and calling out locksmith could cost you hundreds of pounds. Adding lost key coverage will ensure that your keys are replaced at no extra cost (some insurers may ask you to pay an excess)

When you initially take out a policy you have a 14-day cooling off period, where there would be no penalty for cancelling within the 14-days.Outside of the 14-day period is depending on the insurer, they may be penalties or admin charges for cancelling the contract early.

Normal breakdown cover, covers a vehicle for roadside assistance, and if the vehicle needs to be towed away the way to the nearest garage. This will only be done within a certain locality near your home. National breakdown cover add-on will give you coverage for roadside assistance around the UK, which will also ensure if your vehicle cannot be fixed at the roadside it is towed back to your home. The other add-ons are home start, for vehicles that break down near your home. Onward journey cover, ensuring you get to your destination and could also cover you for overnight accommodation. European travel is for those that travel to mainland Europe. Lost key, replacement tyres and misfueling are the other common add-ons.

Yes they can, when you fill in the form to search for breakdown cover on freepricecompare.com, you'll be asked if you want to add family members onto your breakdown policy. Adding family members to your breakdown policy will most likely mean you'll be paying more on your premiums for breakdown cover but the policy can cover the person and not just the vehicle.

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