There’s nothing quite so frustrating as your car breaking down when you’re on your way to an important event. Frustrating, time-consuming and expensive but, generally speaking, these occurrences are few and far between. Maybe you’ve never had a problem with your car so don’t see the point in getting breakdown cover? Maybe it seems like a risk you’re willing to take? In this post, we’ll explore the various types of breakdown cover available and assess whether breakdown cover is a nice-to-have or a need-to-have.

What is breakdown cover?

Let’s start at the very beginning, what is breakdown cover? As the name suggests, breakdown cover is a type of insurance policy that provides assistance if your car breaks down or refuses to start.

What is included breakdown cover?

The details of what is and isn’t included in breakdown cover will all depend on the type of policy you choose. There are varying types of cover available from basic to premium and the price you pay will vary accordingly. Most breakdown cover packages will involve roadside assistance if you break down or encounter a problem on the go, assistance will either fix your car where it is or tow you to a local garage. The most basic packages probably won’t take you home or provide you with a car to tide you over while your vehicle is fixed, that’s the stuff of premium packages.

What isn’t included in breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover doesn’t usually include the cost of parts or materials needed to get your car going. In essence, when you pay for breakdown cover, you’re usually paying for the mechanic’s time. If your car cannot be fixed where you are and needs to be taken to a garage, you’ll be responsible for the garage’s bill. There also may be a limit on how many call-outs you can get per year. So, if your car is 20 years old and regularly struggles, you may have worn your year policy out by mid-February.

How expensive is breakdown cover?

This all depends on the package you choose. The price varies from a few pounds a month for the most basic cover to a bigger chunk of cash for the most premium cover available.

Is breakdown cover a legal requirement? 

No. Breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement. It’s not mandatory, it’s your choice whether you opt for it or not but the peace of mind that breakdown cover brings could well be worth it. No one wants to break down on a quiet sideroad at 2am and have no way of getting to home after all.

What types of breakdown cover are available?

There are two main types of breakdown cover, personal and vehicle. The right option for you is dependent on what you need from your cover.

Personal breakdown cover

Personal breakdown cover means that you, personally, are insured. So, whether you’re driving your own car or are a passenger in somebody else’s, you can make a call for roadside assistance. This gives you peace of mind that wherever you are and whatever mode of transport you’re travelling in (the cover also applies to bikes and other vehicles), you’ll never be left stranded by the roadside. If your personal car breaks down and you’re not in it, for instance, if your spouse or child is driving, you won’t be covered.

Vehicle breakdown cover

Vehicle breakdown cover, as the name suggests, means the vehicle itself is insured. So, whoever is driving, they’ll be covered in the event of a breakdown. This is a great option if multiple drivers use one car.

Levels of cover

There are varying levels of cover depending on what you use your car for. Users who drive long distances around Europe for work, for example, will require a different level of cover to Stan at number 46 who only uses his car for trips to the supermarket.

Roadside assistance

If you mainly use your car for personal journeys and rarely make long-distance drives, then roadside assistance should be a good fit for you. It’s one of the cheapest levels of cover and comes as standard with any form of breakdown insurance. In the event of a breakdown, a patrol will come to your assistance, if they can, they’ll fix your car there and then but if not, they’ll tow you to the nearest garage (for the most basic cover, there’s usually a limit of 10 miles).

National Recovery Breakdown

Maybe you have family in a different part of the country or perhaps you drive for work. If you’re regularly on the road and travelling long distances, the National Recovery Breakdown will be the best bet for you. It’s the next step up from roadside assistance and it guarantees transportation for you and your vehicle to anywhere in the country. According to the AA, British drivers pay around £104million a year for breakdown costs so, if you’re a regular traveller, it could pay to take out a policy.

At home breakdown cover

Interestingly, a large number of breakdowns occur on your own drive or very close to home. A flat battery is one of the most common causes of breakdown and this type of cover means a mechanic will travel to your home (or anywhere within a quarter-mile of it) and either fix your car there and then or take you to a garage. This might be a useful option for you if you’re in the habit of accidentally leaving your lights on or you only drive your car sporadically.

Onward travel breakdown cover

If you break down on your way to a very important meeting, onward travel cover will ensure you get to your destination. Usually, an alternative method of travel or transportation will be covered, and more premium policies often include hotel stays and car hire where necessary. Great for those who work up and down the country.

European breakdown cover

Whether you work in Europe a lot or you take five holidays a year (lucky you), European breakdown cover might be the right choice for you. As the name suggests, this form of cover protects you in the event of a breakdown anywhere in Europe. There is the option of single trip cover, if you’re taking the family to France on holiday, right the way up to annual cover. This form of protection will generally include hotel accommodation and car hire which will come in handy if you break down in France while en route to the Swiss Alps.

Things to remember

There are a host of options available when it comes to breakdown cover and they vary in price and coverage. You may only use your car to drive to the supermarket or visit friends and relatives once in a while and think it’s not worth it. But, with breakdown cover comes the reassurance that you’ll never find yourself stranded with no way of getting where you need to go. The simplest forms of cover could cost you very little but will pay huge dividends in the event of a breakdown. And peace of mind is priceless.

At Brindley Group, we offer a lot more than great new and used cars at amazing prices, we also provide expert servicing and MOT at all of our sites. Routine servicing from our dedicated mechanics can help keep your car on the road for longer. For more information, head over to our homepage.