Whether you drive a top-of-the-range 4x4 or an ancient but much-loved and looked-after saloon, the last thing any driver wants is to end up broken down at the side of a motorway with no idea what to do, and no-one to call for help.
Cars are unpredictable and engine failure can happen for a number of reasons at any time of the day or night. When it happens, it can be a very stressful situation, especially if the whole family is sitting in the car on a busy road.
Breakdown cover is a policy that covers the costs of repair in the event your car stops working and breaks down. You can also get policies for vans and motorbikes. Making one simple phone-call will result in a patrol vehicle being sent to investigate any faults. The vehicle will then either be fixed at the roadside or towed to a garage.
Without breakdown cover, you will either have to phone a friend and hope they can help or face the prospect of trying to fix the vehicle yourself.
What do you require?
There are many different types of policies and levels of service, including roadside assistance, national assistance, home start, single trip, onward travel and European cover.
Roadside Assistance: This is when a local mechanic comes to attempt a repair at the roadside that will get you to your destination. If the car can’t be completely fixed, the mechanic will repair it enough to get to a garage or tow it away.
National Assistance: This means that if a mechanic is unable to fix the car at the roadside, they will take you and your passengers to a single destination (usually your own home or garage) anywhere in the UK. There is usually a limit to how many passengers the patrol vehicle can take though, so you might struggle if you’re driving a school football team in a minibus.
Home Start: Picture the scene. It's freezing outside, you need to get to work and your car simply won’t start. This policy can usually be used up to a quarter of a mile from your home and some companies allow you to make an appointment, so if you opt to ditch your car and catch the bus instead, you can call later and book a repair.
Onward travel: If your car does need to go the garage for a few days for a repair, getting this in the policy allows you to rent a car, have overnight accommodation if you are away from home or helps with public transport costs in the meantime.
European cover: This can be added to an existing policy or bought as a standalone policy which is especially useful if you are going on holiday and will be driving your own car. A single trip policy can provide breakdown cover in Europe for a maximum of 91 days, while multi-trip options can provide cover for up to 31 days a trip, capped at a maximum of 90 days a year.
Breakdown cover is incredibly useful if you drive a vehicle more than a few years old, particularly if it isn’t very well maintained or if it has a history of being unreliable. The fear of breaking down is one of the major stresses for car owners – it can ruin a holiday, make you an important appointment and can be a costly business if you don’t have a breakdown policy in place.
Paying for breakdown cover means that you have peace of mind that you won’t be left stranded on any journeys if your car does break down. There are so many different policies that can be tailored around your needs and requirements and because cars can never offer 100% reliability it’s a sensible investment to make.