Breakdown cover gives you roadside assistance if your vehicle breaks down, with a trained professional on-hand to fix your car and get you back on the road. Common reasons for breakdowns include flat batteries, damaged tyres and electrical problems. With all breakdown cover, you will get a specialist to come out to try to fix your vehicle for up to an hour. If your vehicle can't be fixed at the roadside, you'll usually be towed to a nearby garage.
Breakdown cover gives you piece of mind that you won't be stranded at the roadside if something happens. You can choose additional more comprehensive cover, which will allow you and your passengers to be recovered to your home or original destination, if your vehicle cannot be fixed the same day, plus cover if your vehicle won't start on your driveway. You can choose a breakdown policy for cars, vans or motorcycles.
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You can generally buy breakdown cover which covers a vehicle(s), no matter who is behind the wheel, or personal cover, which covers you as an individual in any vehicle.
However, it can also be offered by some providers as part of your motor insurance, or it can even come included with some bank accounts - you should check whether you're getting breakdown cover from any other sources before taking it out.
First, be prepared before you set off on any journey. Keep your policy information in your vehicle or easily-located on your smartphone. Try to get the car somewhere safe off the road if possible. Turn on your hazard warning lights to let other drivers know you have a problem. Keep your sidelights on if it's dark or visibility is poor. Exit the vehicle, out of the passenger door if necessary, so you are not stepping into oncoming traffic. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle and road, and behind the barrier if you are on a motorway. Then you should call your breakdown provider to let them know where you are so they can send out a mechanic. If you're not sure of your location, look out for road signs or landmarks. Some providers have an app you can use to pinpoint your location straight away and keep you informed with updates on your mechanic's progress, while you wait.
In most cases, cover will start 24 hours after your payment has been accepted, however some providers do not offer cover until up to 72 hours after the policy start date. As this can differ between providers, it's best to check your policy terms & conditions before you buy.
It's always important to read your policy terms and conditions to find out what exclusions there might be. However, breakdown cover might not include, repeat call-outs for a recurring fault, routine maintenance or roadside assistance for an accident or breakdown that involves the emergency services. There may also be conditions attached if you break down on private land or with animals.
If you break down and you don't have cover, it's possible to get instant cover with some breakdown insurance providers. However, it can be expensive, as you can be charged a one-off fee for instant membership, but they will be there to get you to safety. We have a selection of providers who offer instant breakdown cover here, if you need immediate assistance.
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So, next time that insurance renewal email drops into your inbox or the letter lands on your doormat, don't ignore it – let us help Protect Your Family. Fill in our simple online quote form and compare products to suit your pocket and the people you love.