Five questions about... car breakdown cover

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The Independent Online

Car breakdowns will rise by almost a third during the winter, according to the AA, as the cold, wet and ice affect vehicles. If you don't have breakdown cover, now is the time to buy it.

Is cover all the same?

No. It ranges from a basic or "bronze" service which offers 24/7 roadside assistance and if needed a free tow to an approved garage, to a comprehensive or "platinum" service which provides cover from home as well as alternative transport and accommodation for up to seven passengers.

How much is it?

It depends on the level of cover but even some fairly comprehensive deals can start at under £30 a year (from So it's wise to shop around on a price comparison website like If you input your details and requirements, it will return the cheapest cover available.

Is the vehicle or the driver covered?

It's up to you. Covering the vehicle means anyone driving it will be covered, regardless of whether they are the policyholder. Covering the person means you're insured as the driver (or passenger) of any vehicle. This option is typically more expensive.

Can I add people to my policy?

Depending on which cover you have specified, you can add another vehicle or person on to your policy, if they are registered at your address. In some cases partners can be added free.

How can I reduce the chances of breaking down in the first place?

Prevention is better than cure so check the oil level, anti-freeze, hazard lights, battery strength and tyres for tread depth and pressure. Store a torch, reflective triangle sign, high-visibility jacket, first aid kit and jump leads in your car.

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