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Breakdown cover

Compare car breakdown cover policies


  • Policies are available for cars, motorbikes and vans
  • Roadside assistance and local recovery rescue and recovery in the UK and Europe
  • Compare prices and policies side by side to find the right one for you

What’s car breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover helps cover the cost of roadside repairs or recovery if your car breaks down.

For example, if your car battery died or a tyre was punctured it’ll mean you’re not stranded on the side of the road for long.

There are five levels of breakdown cover, ranging from roadside recovery to full onward journey protection.

breakdown cover

What types of breakdown cover are there?

  • Personal

    Personal breakdown cover applies to you, no matter what vehicle you’re in – whether you’re the driver or passenger. You can cover up to four members of your household on one policy. This can be more expensive than vehicle breakdown cover

  • Vehicle

    This breakdown cover is only for a specific vehicle, no matter who is driving it. It’s useful if more than one person drives your car. You can cover up to four of your household’s vehicles

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What happens if I break down without breakdown cover?

It’s not a legal requirement, but it can offer you peace of mind to know that there’s help available to get your car moving or you back home if you break down.

If you break down without cover, you could phone a local garage, who will usually charge a callout fee. Alternatively, you can sign up for breakdown cover when you break down, but you’ll likely be charged extra and not all providers will allow you to do this.

If you can’t find a local garage and don’t want to get breakdown cover, you’ll need to get in touch with the highways agency who will recover your vehicle – this will likely be the most expensive option though and is mainly a last resort.

What’s covered by a breakdown policy?

While all cover types will attempt to fix your car at the roadside first, there are a few location options, and you can choose which suits you best.

  • Roadside assistance

    If you break down during a local journey, your breakdown provider will send their patrol to your location for roadside assistance. If your vehicle can’t be fixed at the roadside, they’ll tow you to a local garage.

  • Nationwide recovery

    If you break down far from home, national recovery will send out roadside assistance wherever you are in the UK. They’ll also tow you to a garage if they can’t repair your car at the side of the road. It's included along with roadside recovery on most breakdown policies.

  • Home start

    Home start cover covers you if break down at home or within one mile of your home address. A specialist with either repair your vehicle at your doorstep or transport you to the nearest garage for repairs.

  • European recovery

    If you’re driving in Europe, European breakdown cover will cover you for the duration of your trip. It’s usually offered as an add-on to other vehicle insurance policies, rather than as standalone breakdown cover so it’s worth checking whether you’re already covered.

  • Onward journey cover

    If your car can’t be repaired the same day, onward travel cover can offer you alternative transport or overnight accommodation.

How to get cheaper breakdown cover

We've got five tips to help you get your premiums down:

  1. Watch for the cover level

    Only pay for features you need

  2. Multi-car savings

    Save money by covering multiple cars under one policy

  3. Don't pay twice

    Sometimes breakdown cover is included with your bank account or car insurance

  4. Don't rule out the lesser knowns

    The smaller breakdown companies often have good deals

  5. Compare breakdown cover

    It's the easiest way to save money on your policy!

The AA attended around 10,000 jobs per day in 2021[1]

Compare breakdown cover

Source: The AA

Policy extras

Key replacement

Your provider will help you get replacement keys if yours are broken, lost or stolen which can be more convenient than going to the dealership.

Battery replacement

Your battery will be replaced or recharged if it runs out of power or breaks and causes your car to break down.

Tyre replacement

Your breakdown cover should temporarily fix a puncture or put on a spare for you but not a proper substitute. Tyre replacement will replace your tyre for a proper one.

Misfuelling cover

Put the wrong fuel in your car? Breakdown providers usually cover misfuelling so they’ll clear the wrong fuel out and top up your car with enough petrol or diesel to get you moving again.

Out of fuel cover

Most breakdown providers will come to the rescue if you run out of fuel – usually by giving you enough fuel to get to the nearest fuel station.

Can I get breakdown cover with my car insurance?

You can. According to Defaqto, 14% of comprehensive car insurance policies have breakdown cover as standard, but you can add it as an optional extra on a further 64% of policies.[2]

European breakdown cover is also fairly common – it’s standard on 19 out of 322 policies, and an optional extra on 197 policies.[2]

Why compare breakdown policies with us?

Knowing your breakdown cover: Personal vs. vehicle

Check your policy to understand the whether your breakdown cover applies to you or your vehicle.

Vehicle cover policies cover a single car, motorbike or van - no matter who's driving. Personal cover insures the individual for all vehicles they're insured to drive. It's generally more expensive though.
Ryan Fulthorpe - GoCompare motoring expert

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Page last reviewed: 17 March 2022

[1]The AA. Retrieved April 2022.

[2]Last checked 7 January 2022