Personal breakdown policies cover you, rather than a particular vehicle. Find out if this is the right type of breakdown cover for your circumstances.
With personal breakdown cover, it’s you that’s covered in the event of a breakdown, rather than a particular vehicle.
That means if you’re driving - or are a passenger in - a vehicle that breaks down, your provider will send out a mechanic to help you get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Personal breakdown cover normally includes roadside assistance and local recovery as standard.
If you break down at any time of day or night more than a certain distance from your home (usually around a quarter of a mile), your provider will send out a mechanic to try to fix the fault.
If the repair can’t be done at the roadside, then you and your vehicle will be taken to a nearby garage.
You can usually add optional extras to your policy to give you more protection. These include:
If your vehicle can’t be repaired at the roadside, your breakdown service will take you and your vehicle to any destination you choose in the UK
Sends help if your vehicle won’t start at home or breaks down within a short distance from home
If you break down and a mechanic can’t solve the problem on the spot, this cover can pay for replacement transport or an overnight hotel stay to ensure you’re not stranded while your vehicle’s being repaired
Cover when you’re travelling in Europe that works in a similar way to UK cover providing roadside assistance and local recovery
Will pay for a fuel drain and flush, plus refuelling to get you to the next petrol station
There are two types of breakdown cover - personal-based policies, or vehicle-based.
With a personal-based policy, you’re covered as an individual no matter what vehicle you’re driving. You’re usually covered if you’re a passenger in any vehicle that breaks down, too.
A vehicle-based policy, on the other hand, covers one particular vehicle, no matter who is driving it.
Personal breakdown cover is most suited to you if you have more than one vehicle in your household, or if you regularly drive more than one vehicle. Perhaps you own more than two cars, or you drive a lot of hire cars, for example.
Vehicle breakdown cover is a good option if you mainly drive one car. It also works well if other members of the family share the car, too. No matter who is driving the vehicle, it’s covered if it breaks down.
Yes, you can usually buy personal breakdown cover for one person, two people (a joint policy) or up to four or five members of your family (a family policy), as long as you all live at the same address.
Everyone on the policy will be covered in most vehicles.
If personal breakdown cover is not the best option for you, then you can consider:
Vehicle breakdown cover applies to a particular named vehicle, rather than to you.
This means you wouldn’t be covered if you drive any vehicle that’s not named on the policy
A business or 'fleet' breakdown policy allows you to cover multiple cars, vans or motorcycles that make up your business fleet
It depends on your provider, but many will allow you to pay for personal breakdown cover on a monthly basis
Your breakdown provider can come to your aid wherever you break down, as long as it’s over a certain distance from your own home - usually about a quarter of a mile.
So, if you break down at a friend’s house, a mechanic will be sent out to help you get started or will tow you to a garage if they can’t fix the problem there and then.
It depends on the provider and policy.
Some limit how many times you can use their service - perhaps six times a year, for example. Others allow unlimited callouts, as long as it’s not for the same problem occurring multiple times and that, if asked, you can prove you’re keeping your vehicle regularly serviced and well-maintained.
You’ll need to check each individual policy for which vehicles are eligible for cover.
But in general, most breakdown cover policies accept cars, motorbikes, vans, campervans and minibuses weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, and that measure no wider than about 2.55m and about 6.4m in length.
Because of these size and weight restrictions on conventional breakdown policies, if you’re towing a caravan, or driving a large motorhome, you’d need specialist breakdown cover.