Your Breakdown Cover Choices Explained


Today we’ve got something a bit different for you – a guest post by Chris from across the Atlantic.

If you’re on a long journey on the UK’s congested roads, it’s a comfort to know that should your car break down, a trained mechanic from an organisation such as the AA or RAC will only ever be a phone call away. Indeed, the peace of mind gained is probably the main reason why people choose to become a member of a breakdown recovery service. Even if you have a very new car it can still develop a mechanical problem, and as cars have become ever more complicated it will be next to impossible to fix it yourself, so leaving it to a specialist is far more sensible. If you lead a busy life, the last thing you want is to be stuck for a long time once your car has broken down; joining a breakdown service should help you keep bother and fuss to a minimum when you have a problem with your car.

When you’ve come to the conclusion that you need breakdown cover, the next decision is what type of policy to go for. You’ll find a variety of policies available, from basic to feature-packed. The cover you arrange can either be for a particular person or for a particular vehicle. You’ll commonly find the below types of breakdown cover being offered:

Roadside Recovery Policy. This is the introductory level policy, and the breakdown company will attend your vehicle when your car has broken down away from home. If your car can’t be fixed by the attending mechanic, you’ll normally be given a tow to a local approved garage (or maybe to your home if that is close by). Note this basic policy does not include cover for your car at home.

Home Start Policy. Opt for this if you want cover for when your car won’t start at home. This type of cover is usually worth it, as a significant proportion of breakdowns occur at home, e.g. cold weather starting problems, flat batteries from leaving the lights on etc.

Onward Journey Policy. If you are always going to want to continue on your journey in the event of a breakdown, then an onward journey policy will be needed. This will provide reimbursement for alternative forms of travel such as public transport or car hire should your car not be repairable immediately. If you are a business traveller, this type of policy may be particularly important to you, as it will mean you have less chance of missing appointments.

European Breakdown Cover Policy. If you travel through mainland Europe a lot, then a European breakdown cover policy should be worthwhile. This will usually provide English speaking phone assistance to you in the event of a breakdown, which is a particular comfort to many.

It’s worth some careful thought before choosing what level of cover is right for you. For instance, if you are the type of person that will always want to be able to continue their journey if the car can’t be fixed, you’ll have to go for the Onward Journey Policy. You might also consider how reliable your car is. If your car has let you down a lot, then you might want to go for more cover. Note however that if you have a very old car, you might have difficulty finding breakdown cover, because many policies have a maximum age limit for vehicles.

If you asked a person in the street to name a breakdown group, they are likely to say the AA or RAC. Both of these organisations are long established, and we are all familiar with their brightly coloured recovery patrols. Both the AA and RAC have their own fleet of recovery vans, which gives them a better chance of repairing your car at the breakdown scene. With the internet it’s so easy to visit each breakdown organisation’s website to check out exactly what they’re offering, so you should be able to find something that will meet your needs. Remember too that you will often be given a discount if you arrange your cover purely online. We wish you happy motoring, and hope you won’t have to call on your breakdown cover too often!

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