Car breakdown cover is insurance that protects the driver, the car and sometimes the passengers if they are stranded on the roadside in a broken down car. There are several levels of coverage depending on the insurance company and the plan selected. The two basic types of breakdown cover are vehicular and personal.
Vehicle coverage means the car will receive breakdown service no matter who is driving. Personal coverage means you can call for help whether you are the driver or passenger in a car that breaks down. Some personal policies will cover more than one person such as a family. Even though vehicle cover is cheaper, for people who drive more than one vehicle, the personal cover may be safer.
Breakdown cover is not just for serious mechanical failures such as a broken transmission or frozen radiator. It will also help for simple things including if you run out of petrol or have a flat tyre. A breakdown on a motorway can be dangerous, and it is better to have an expert arrive who can handle the situation for you. Over half of the time, the mechanic can fix the problem on the spot and you can go on your way.
What does Breakdown Insurance Cover?
The least costly level of cover is usually called Roadside and help will come to your assistance in the event you are stranded on the roadside. Some policies cost 20 pounds annually or less. The rescue team will try to fix your car, but if that is not possible they will tow it to the nearest garage. You will be responsible for the cost of the parts and repair.
The next level of service is often called Recovery. This includes all the services previously mentioned as well as transportation for your vehicle, you and any passengers to wherever you want to go.
Home Start is another level of service that you can add to any of the other levels. This means you will get help if your car will not start while you are still at home. Without this option in the policy, many companies will not rescue you if your breakdown is within a one mile radius of your home.
The top breakdown cover product will provide all of the above as well as the cost of a hotel if required, car hire, and reimbursement for travel expenses due to the breakdown. This is the most expensive policy and may cost upwards of 100 pounds annually.
There is breakdown cover for fleets, caravans, trailers and motorcycles too. With motorcycle plans, the driver and the motorcycle are covered for accident and damage. The recovery team will usually have a flat-bed lorry to transport the motorcycle if necessary. Businesses that have fleets of cars or vans especially need quick roadside service because the vehicles are used for income.
For those who drive in Europe on a regular basis, it is wise to include European cover in their breakdown policy. It would be very expensive to find a garage, have the car towed and pay for repairs and possibly repatriate the car to the UK. Repatriation alone can cost 2,000 pounds. If the driver can’t speak the local language, it just gets worse.
European cover can be purchased just for the duration of a single trip, or it can be added to a 12 month policy. A one day trip can be covered for less than five pounds.
How to Choose the Right Plan?
Some companies offer introductory discounts to attract new customers. Another thing to consider is where the service providers are located. If they employ a network of mechanics from all over the country, you will get help much quicker. You need to check how many call you are allowed with a plan and if they offer a no-calls discount.
A no-calls discount will come into effect when you renew a policy. At the time of renewal, you should research other companies for cheaper plans. Prices may have changed over the year and other companies may be offering large discounts for new policies.
Since the cover offered from different breakdown insurance providers varies, it is important to understand exactly what your policy covers, so at the time of a breakdown, you are sure of what help to expect.