Breakdown cover

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Why do I need breakdown cover?

Every vehicle at some point will experience problems that can leave you stranded at the side of the road, but breakdown cover could provide peace of mind should you run into difficulties. 

The most common reasons for breakdown call outs includes engine issues, flat/faulty car batteries, flat tyres, losing your keys or accidentally misfuelling.

If this happens to you and you don’t have breakdown cover that includes the scenarios above, you’ll have to cover the costs of getting rescued and getting the vehicle fixed.

Even without cover in place, you can help prepare yourself for a breakdown. Our handy guide contains tips on what equipment you should have, if you’re be unfortunate enough to breakdown, at home or abroad.

What are the different types of breakdown cover?

As with most things, you get what you pay for with breakdown cover. A cheaper policy will generally offer only the basics, but a more comprehensive policy could have many more features.

When comparing policies, the main features to consider are:

  • Roadside assistance – provides cover to help get your car restarted at the roadside.
  • Local recovery – cover for your vehicle to be towed to a local garage, if it can’t be fixed at the roadside.
  • National recovery – if your vehicle can’t be fixed at the roadside, they may tow your vehicle to any location in the UK.
  • Home start – covers you if you break down close to your home.
  • Onwards journey – if your vehicle can’t be repaired at the roadside, this will generally cover the cost of a replacement vehicle or public transport to get you to your destination, whilst it’s being repaired.
  • European cover – covers you when driving your vehicle in Europe (the length of cover can vary depending on the provider).

To find out more about the different benefits, see our breakdown cover guide.

What to do if you break down

If you’re unlucky enough to break-down, you should follow these simple instructions to keep safe:

  • The first thing to do is to make sure you’re parked safely before doing anything else.
  • Don’t forget to turn your hazard warning lights on, and if it’s dark, your sidelights.
  • Use the passenger doors to leave the vehicle rather than the driver door. This reduces the risk to you and your passengers from traffic passing on the right.
  • Keep you and your passengers a safe distance away from the carriageway and hard shoulder, use the bank or get behind the barriers if possible.
  • If you have animals, it’s best to leave them in the car, but in an emergency keep them under control and away from the road.
  • Finally, call your breakdown cover provider to let them know where you are. Look out for driver location signs to help pinpoint your location. If you’re not covered you’ll need to call the Highways Agency for assistance.

For more information, take a look at our comprehensive on what to do when you break down.

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