Breakdown Cover – Do you really need one?

Avoid sticky situations like this with a breakdown cover! Image by Andrij Bulba is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It can happen anywhere, and there’s no real sure-fire way to anticipate a mechanical failure. Breakdowns are trying at very best and entirely unpleasant should one occur during your holiday or important business trip. Breakdown covers help minimise the stress of having to flag down a kindly motorist while your car’s engine steams under the hood.  Here’s what you need to consider before you sign that breakdown cover.

Is a breakdown cover vital?

Unquestionably, yes. However, this may depend on how frequently you drive your vehicle. If you rely on your car as a means of daily transport, a breakdown cover is a prudent option. If a breakdown occurs, your insurer will have your vehicle repaired or towed to the nearest garage to undergo the required repairs. A breakdown cover is less expensive than footing the entire repair costs alone plus it provides safety and peace of mind on cold, nights where you’d rather be snuggled up in bed than unaided and alarmed on a dark road.

What should a breakdown policy include?

A standard breakdown cover offers roadside recovery and roadside repair. As per your policy, your insurer will supply repair and tow-away services should you’re car fail to start or breakdown on the road.

How do I get a breakdown cover?

Most insurance firms, individual banks and third party providers offer breakdown covers. Additionally, car manufactures may supply a free breakdown covers which are honoured by third-party agents, despite the car producers branding on the policy. Firms present these covers in hopes that the buyer will choose to use the car manufacturer over a regular garage.  You can select a plan to suit your requirements and register for your annual membership. Pay and claim is the cheapest breakdown cover on the market. Unlike a typical policy where you’ll make a yearly payment, the pay and claim breakdown cover will require that you pay the service provider upfront.  You can reclaim your breakdown costs from the insurance provider provided you produce the bills. The policy is significantly cheaper which a plus for drivers on tighter budgets. It’s best suited for motorists with newer vehicles. The downside of the pay and claim policy is whether or not a driver is capable of supporting the hefty repair costs up front.

Take a trip to the sunny shores of Brighton and Hove! 

Are there extras I should consider?

Absolutely! Avid travellers may consider the European cover that supplies breakdown cover on the continent. If you’re a foreign national visiting the UK, it will be quite challenging to find an insurer that will cover a driver who doesn’t hold a UK driving license. Furthermore, most firms will not consider no-claims bonus accrued from your native country. To stay safe and minimize road-risk as you familiarize yourself with driving on “the wrong side”, take a look at our pointers for navigating British roads.

Most car rental firms do not offer breakdown assistance to foreign nationals, or on cars driven outside the UK. To avoid surprise fees, ask your car hire firm, what your cover your car hire entails.

If it is within your budget, a personal cover is recommended over the standard vehicle cover. With the personal cover, you can claim roadside support regardless of the car you were driving at the time of breakdown. Other supportive extra’s include key replace should you misplace your keys. It’s also worthwhile considering signing up for an onward breakdown cover. Onward breakdown covers protect you from unnecessary expenses should you be forced to stay overnight at a hotel or hire a means of transport.

How can I save on my breakdown cover?

Certain insurers offer premiums with fixed costs while others may charge you less if you are filed as a low-risk driver. Families are advised to consider multi-car policies that cover individual family members and costs considerably less.