Breakdown cover

Compare car breakdown cover policies

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What’s car breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover helps you get back on the road if you can’t get your vehicle up and running. You can purchase it for cars, motorbikes or vans, and it’s typically not included in your insurance policy.

Assistance will be sent if your vehicle breaks down and you’re unable to continue on with your journey. It will either be fixed by the side of the road or towed to a garage for repairs. Some policies will even visit you at home to get your vehicle started.

breakdown cover

Types of breakdown cover

You can choose between:

  • Personal breakdown cover

    This covers you rather than the vehicle, whether you’re the driver or a passenger. It tends to be more expensive than vehicle breakdown cover and you can include more than one person from your household on your policy

  • Vehicle breakdown cover

    This covers one specific vehicle, and it doesn’t matter who is driving when it breaks down (provided they’re insured to do so). You may be able to include multiple vehicles registered to the same address under one policy

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Why compare with us?

Choose between policies from multiple providers that provide cover either for your vehicle or for you.

We make it easy by showing you important policy details and Defaqto star ratings, as well as price, so you can make an informed decision.

It only takes a few minutes to find the right policy and save money and best of all, it’s free to compare with us.

What happens if I break down without breakdown cover?

It’s possible to get roadside assistance by purchasing emergency cover that starts immediately, but it can be an expensive option as you’ll be expected to pay an emergency call-out fee, the cost of repairs, and the policy premium. You’ll need to do this by calling rather than purchasing online and not all breakdown providers offer this type of policy.

Alternatively, you may be able to find a local garage that can assist, but again you’ll be charged a call-out fee and it will depend on where you breakdown.

As a last resort, you could contact the highway’s agency to recover your vehicle, but this will be pricey.

Check whether you already have breakdown cover in place, because it might have been included as a perk when you opened your bank account or took out a car insurance policy.

What’s covered?

There are a few different levels to choose from, so it’s important to understand how they differ so you can pick the right option for you:

At home or home start

This could be the right choice for those who rarely travel far from home. It provides assistance if you break down at your house or within a certain distance from it – usually up to a mile, but it will differ between providers

Roadside assistance

If you break down by the side of the road, a mechanic will be sent to help. If they’re unable to repair your vehicle, you’ll likely be towed to a local garage

National recovery

You’ll receive roadside assistance and if it can’t be fixed, you’ll be towed to any location you choose in the UK. If you tend to work away from home a lot or travel around the country, you may want to consider this type of cover

Onward travel

This can help you reach your destination, even if you breakdown. Your policy may provide overnight accommodation, public transport tickets, or even a courtesy vehicle

European cover

If you’re travelling through Europe, your plans won’t be scuppered if your vehicle breaks down while you’re away. You may want to check whether this can be added as an optional extra and which countries it covers

How to get cheaper breakdown cover

Try these tips to save on your breakdown cover:

  1. Compare policies

    One of the best ways to find cheaper breakdown cover is to shop around and compare policies from different providers. It takes a couple of minutes and can really make a difference

  2. Don’t auto-renew

    Leaving your policy to auto-renew annually could mean you’re paying far more than you need to. Make sure you shop around before your renewal date to see if you can get the cover you need at a cheaper price

  3. Adjust your policy

    It may not be necessary to have a comprehensive policy if your vehicle is relatively new and hasn’t had any issues. Take a look at cheaper, more basic levels of cover, and consider upgrading when the vehicle is older

  4. Consider a joint policy

    It may be cheaper to get a joint policy with your partner, rather than two separate policies

  5. Try vehicle cover rather than personal

    It’s generally cheaper to purchase a policy that covers your vehicle, rather than the driver

Policy extras

It’s possible to add optional extras to your breakdown cover for an additional fee. This could include:

Key replacement – Depending on the provider, this could cover replacing your car and home keys if they’re lost, broken, or stolen. It may even pay out for new locks and the use of a hire car

Tyre replacement – Pays for replacement tyres if yours have been punctured and they can’t be repaired. There will be a cap on the number of new tyres you can get per policy term

Battery replacement – Get a new battery if yours breaks down and can’t be recharged

European breakdown cover – Get assistance if your vehicle needs repairs while you’re travelling around Europe

Multi-car or family breakdown cover – Add two or more cars to the same breakdown policy rather than taking out individual ones. Usually, they’ll be required to be registered to the same address

Special vehicles cover – Towing a caravan or a trailer may require you to have an added level of cover

Misfuelling cover – If you’ve accidentally put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, a mechanic can flush out the fuel and replace it so you can get on your way

Can I get breakdown cover with my car insurance?

It’s possible for breakdown cover to be included as an optional extra on your car insurance policy, but there’s likely to be an extra cost and it may not provide everything you need.

It’s always best to check what you get for your money and compare it against standalone breakdown cover to see if it’s worth it.

What if a family member breaks down?

If you have vehicle cover and an insured family member is driving the named car, they’ll be able to access breakdown cover.

If you have personal cover and are a passenger in a car that breaks down with a family member driving, you can get assistance.

Alternatively, you can usually add multiple vehicles or family members to the same policy, which will give them the cover they need.

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

Other types of breakdown cover

Van breakdown

It works similar to a car breakdown policy in that you can choose between different levels of cover. If you have a job that requires you to drive multiple vans, you may want to think about personal cover

Motorbike breakdown

Have your motorbike fixed roadside or towed to the nearest local garage. You can even get European breakdown cover for your next trip

Motorhome breakdown

It’s likely you’ll need specialist cover as most standard breakdown policies won’t include vehicles with living accommodation or that are over a certain weight

Business breakdown

It’s possible to get a breakdown policy for a fleet of vehicles, including cars, taxis, delivery vans, and minibuses. If you only have one vehicle that you use for your business, you can just get standard breakdown cover

Caravan and trailer

Get a breakdown policy that covers both your caravan or trailer, and the car towing it. You may have to find a specialist policy if they’re over a certain weight, height, or length

How do I prevent my car from breaking down?

Proper and regular maintenance is the key to keeping your car in good nick:

Pay attention to your dashboard lights – Always investigate if warning lights illuminate on your dashboard rather than ignoring them

Check water and oil levels – Make sure they’re at a sufficient level and that you have anti-freeze coolant in winter

Pump up your tyres – Regularly check your tyre pressure and tread depth, pumping up or replacing when necessary

Get your car serviced – Find out how often you should book your vehicle in for a service from the manual

Skip the weights – Try not to overload your car with unnecessary weight which can affect the tyres and suspension

Drive carefully – It’s a given, but not racing around and constantly braking abruptly will save your car a lot of wear and tear

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