Caravan and trailer breakdown cover

If you're towing, is your caravan or trailer covered by your breakdown insurance? Find out the issues to consider and get the right policy.

Key points

  • If you plan to tow, before buying a breakdown policy check it with care to ensure it covers towing
  • A 're-unite' feature will guarantee that the towing and the towed vehicle will be brought back together when fixed
  • Not all policies will recover a caravan or trailer when it's on a campsite
  • Compare policies online and, if you're a member of a caravan club, look at the options they offer

A caravan can be a major investment, so taking it out on the open road can be a worry.

But much of the fun of owning a touring caravan comes through touring with it, so protecting your caravan with breakdown cover can help give you peace of mind that it will be towed or recovered along with your car.

Standard vehicle policies should offer you both roadside assistance and local recovery - all breakdown products you compare through Gocompare.com will have this minimum level of cover, and you can then consider additional features that may be appropriate to you.

Read more about the options in our breakdown insurance guides, then remember that - once you've chosen your type of cover - it's essential to check that your policy includes the towing of caravans or trailers. Here are some of the main things you should think about:

What if my caravan breaks down, not my car?

Providing your policy covers you for towing, you should receive assistance if mechanical difficulty hits the caravan, trailer, mobile tent or other such unit, as well as if the problem hits the towing vehicle.

Look out for a feature sometimes known as re-unite - guaranteeing that your main vehicle and the unit being towed will, after a breakdown, be brought back together when they're in working order

As ever, make sure you read your policy terms and conditions beforehand, though.

Different providers use different terminology to describe the levels of service they provide, so make sure that what you think you're buying is actually what you're getting.

Potential problem areas

You should check whether there are any weight or length restrictions on what is being towed, and to make sure that the unit will be recovered if it cannot be towed.

Also look out for a feature sometimes known as re-unite - guaranteeing that your main vehicle and the unit being towed will, after a breakdown, be brought back together when they're in working order.

If the problem is only with the towing vehicle, you'll want to know that you can get the unit being towed home and that there's provision for onward travel (see below).

If you're towing a caravan or trailer-tent, check whether your breakdown provider will assist you when you're actually on a campsite.Caravan

Levels of breakdown cover

On top of the basics of roadside assistance and local recovery, you can build on your policy by adding different levels of cover. The main areas to consider are:

Home assistance

Home assistance offers protection in the event that your car won't start at home or within a quarter of a mile of your house. If you're towing a caravan or mobile trailer it's likely you're going on holiday, and home start could give you a helping hand if you fall at the first hurdle.

National recovery

National recovery will recover your car and, potentially, your caravan and return it to a garage of your choice if it can't be repaired at the roadside. Ensuring that your caravan will also be towed with your vehicle will prevent any nasty surprises, so check the terms and conditions of your policy.

Does your policy allow you to tow with a hire car, and will you be provided with an appropriate vehicle that has a tow bar?

Onward travel

If you're en route and your car can't be fixed, onward travel cover will give you another mode of transport so you can get to where you're going.

You'll be provided with a replacement hire car or reasonable onward travel expenses, and possibly overnight accommodation.

If you're towing you'll want to make sure that your policy allows you to tow with a hire car, and that you will be provided with an appropriate vehicle that has a tow bar.

Alternatively, you'll need to know that your caravan or other unit will be taken separately to your destination.

If you're on the way to your holiday destination and plan to continue with the trip, you'll also need to know that there's provision made to get your unit home at the end of your break if your broken-down vehicle cannot be repaired and returned to you in the meantime.

European cover

Taking your caravan across the Channel will mean thinking about European cover, which provides protection when driving on the continent.

Cover is typically available for trips of between 31 and 90 days a year.Jump leads

Caravanning in Europe will mean knowing what your insurance requirements are in each country, as they tend to differ once you cross borders.

Tell your insurer before leaving so your cover can be triggered and let them know what countries you're visiting to ensure your insurance is valid in each.

European cover could be taken out for the year if you're planning several trips abroad, or single trip cover can be bought as a potentially cheaper option.

When towing abroad, you should reconsider all the areas previously mentioned and never assume that cover is offered for your destination country as well as for the UK.

For example, is recovery offered for both the vehicle and towed unit? Are the weight and length restrictions any different? Will your policy offer arrival-return cover, perhaps taking you to your holiday destination and returning you home afterwards?

Personal or vehicle cover?

Deciding whether to insure yourself or your vehicle depends on your driving habits and whether other members of your family drive your car.

If you're taking your caravan long distances and share the driving with a partner then vehicle cover may work for you, and it's typically the cheaper option.

If you're a member of a caravan club you may want to consider breakdown services recommended by it

If you want to drive other vehicles then personal cover may be more appropriate, but this tends to be more costly as an insurer won't know what cars you may drive.

Caravan club policies

We hope that you can find the appropriate breakdown cover through Gocompare.com, and we'd urge you to give our quick, clear and easy-to-use service a try.

If you're a member of a caravan club you may also want to consider breakdown services recommended by it. It's possible that your club will offer a discount, and you should find policies specifically catered for caravanners.

But why not shop around with us, too, to improve your chances of getting the right deal at the right price?

By Emily Bater