Car Breakdown Cover

As the title suggests, car breakdown cover is a policy which allows drivers to access emergency repairs or recovery if their vehicle breaks down away from home.

Unlike car insurance it is not compulsory by law but it works in a similar way with the driver paying a premium which entitles them to varying types of service should their vehicle break down on the road.

So, if you run into trouble, you simply call a number and either a trained operator will come out and mend your car or you will be towed to the nearest garage.

There are three types of schemes:

Roadside Rescue – provides repairs to a car at the roadside or will tow you to the nearest garage. You will need to pay for the parts.

Roadside Rescue and Home Rescue – provides all the above even if your car breaks down at your home.

Roadside Rescue and Recovery Plus – all the benefits of roadside and home rescue plus the extra bonus of a hire car, transport costs so you can complete your journey or accommodation in a hotel.

European Rescue – basic cover if you break down on the continent. Some insurers include this as part of the above policies, so it’s worth checking if you plan to take your car abroad.

Reasons to have car breakdown cover

Breakdown cover is not often included in car insurance packages, yet the chances of your car developing problems – even something as small as a burst tyre or keys getting locked inside the vehicle – are reasonably high and can leave you stranded.

When you consider many break downs occur in harsh weather or in remote locations, knowing a qualified individual will get you out of the scrape by just calling a telephone number can provide peace of mind to all drivers – particularly those who are more vulnerable.
How to buy car breakdown cover

You must first decide the level of cover you want – just roadside recovery or the full-works with onward journey options? Then you must choose between a policy which provides cover for an individual person or for the car itself. Policies covering individuals usually cost more.

Mainstream insurers such as MoreThan offer car breakdown but there are also many firms set up dedicated to providing the service too. The AA and RAC are most the common but with so many other firms emerging and with internet comparison sites offering services comparing prices of deals it is well worth having a good look around for the best polices. Comparison websites don’t always have the full range of policies, but are good for getting a feel for the market.

Bigger companies have a wider network of recovery operators so you are likely to be attended to a lot quicker with a large, renowned firm.

You can often get deals on breakdown cover through other organisations. Tesco Clubcard holders, for example, can get cut-price deals.


Insurers will take your age and the age of the car plus the vehicle’s average annual mileage into account when calculating premiums. No prizes for guessing who pays more.

Check your car insurance policy before applying for car breakdown cover to be sure it does not include the breakdown service. Otherwise you might end up paying twice for the same service.

Make sure, if you have a caravan or trailer, you mention this when applying for roadside cover. These can sometimes be subject to limitations when it comes to repairs and recovery so check the policy.

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