What is car breakdown cover?

It's a kind of insurance to protect you if your car breaks down. Having the right breakdown cover means you could call an engineer who can help in an emergency, such as if you get a flat battery or punctured tyre.

They'll either fix your car there and then at the roadside, or offer a car recovery service to tow it to a garage.

Car breakdown cover is a good way to give you peace of mind that you won't be left stranded at the roadside. You'll have help when you need it most. The aim is to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Sometimes breakdown cover is bought as an individual policy, but other times it's offered as an add-on to your regular motor insurance. You can get it whether you drive a car, van, motorcycle or scooter.

What kind of breakdown cover do I need?

There are two types of car breakdown cover you can choose from. You'll need to choose which one to buy based on your budget, vehicle and how often you drive.

Vehicle cover means only your vehicle is covered. You can only call out for assistance when the covered car, van or motorcycle breaks down.

Personal breakdown cover is for an individual. It covers you in any car you travel in, whether you're the driver or a passenger.

If you only ever travel in your own car, a vehicle cover policy can be a good way to get cheap breakdown cover. But if you regularly drive different cars, a personal cover policy will give you better protection.

Here's more information on how car breakdown cover works.

How to choose the best breakdown cover for you

Once you've decided on vehicle cover or personal cover, there are more decisions to make. Before you do a breakdown cover comparison, it's a good idea to think about what kind of cover you might want.

The available types of breakdown cover, UK wide, include:

Roadside assistance. This is included in every policy. It gives you help at the side of the road if your car breaks down. You can also be towed to the nearest garage.

Breakdown recovery. National roadside recovery means your vehicle can be towed to any location of your choice in the UK if it can't be fixed at the roadside. That means that even if you're far away from home when you break down, your car can be fixed near where you live.

Onward travel cover. This gives you the option to continue with your journey if your car is taken to a garage. You'll get the choice of a hire car, hotel accommodation and or alternative travel arrangements.

Home start: This covers breakdowns that happen at your home, or close to your home (such as a quarter of a mile away).

European breakdown cover: This extends your policy so you're covered for trips in Europe. Here's how European breakdown cover works.

When you're looking at breakdown cover deals think about what might be the best cover for you. Don't just go for the cheapest breakdown cover you can find. For example, if you often travel long distances, then vehicle recovery and onward travel might be helpful. But, if you don't drive often, roadside assistance may be enough.

How do I compare breakdown cover?

Once you know what cover you want, you should compare as many quotes as possible.

Don't just look for cheap breakdown cover. Look for the policy that offers the cover you need at the cheapest price. Here's how to work out what breakdown cover is right for you.

What information do I need to share to get car breakdown cover?

Getting breakdown cover quotes is quick and easy. You'll just need to share a few personal details and information about your driving licence and car.

You'll get to see the best breakdown cover offers and what each policy offers.

How can I get cheaper breakdown insurance?

Getting the best breakdown cover possible is always a priority, but that doesn't mean that you can't get a great deal.

To do this, it's important that you shop around for the breakdown cover deals by doing a comparison.

Also remember that it's never a good idea to auto-renew your car breakdown insurance. Loyalty doesn't usually pay when it comes to insurance, so it's best to look around for a more cost-effective deal.

Can I prevent my car from breaking down?

The most effective way of preventing your car from breaking down is regular maintenance. Some steps you can take include:

Check your oil and coolant levels regularly.

Keep an eye on your battery.

Check your fan belt.

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