Five Questions About: Breakdown cover

What is breakdown cover?

This kind of policy ensures a mechanic is sent out to fix or tow your vehicle in the event that you break down. It is sometimes known as roadside recovery or roadside rescue. With millions of drivers taking to the roads this bank holiday, taking out cover is a sensible option if you want to avoid ending up stranded at the roadside.

What kind of rescue cover does it offer?

Different policies offer different levels of cover. For example, some of the cheaper insurers may only offer roadside assistance and a tow to the nearest garage. However, some of the more comprehensive policies will attempt to fix the car at the side of the road, tow it to the intended destination and even make alternative travel arrangements for the driver and any passengers, including accommodation if needed.

Is it possible to buy standalone breakdown cover?

Some car insurance policies include breakdown cover for an additional fee, or sometimes it may be automatically included in your policy. It is also possible to buy a standalone roadside recovery policy, with cover starting from around £30. Drivers with packaged current accounts may find that breakdown cover is one of the extras included and should check this before paying again for a policy.

Can drivers take out cover in Europe?

Some insurers do offer European rescue but the premiums will be higher. However, drivers who regularly spend time in the EU may well find it's a sound investment as breaking down in a foreign country can be complicated and stressful. Motorists with a decent breakdown policy will be able to deal with English-speaking representatives who are used to arranging pick-ups within the relevant country.

What affects the cost of breakdown cover?

Some insurers have fixed price policies for different levels of cover, while others look at the specific circumstances – such as the age of the car and the number of miles the driver covers in a year – to work out a premium. Low-risk drivers are likely to find it cheaper to buy individually-priced policies, whereas motorists covering tens of thousands of miles in an old banger may well find it's cheaper to buy a fixed price policy.

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