Breakdown cover is another essential part of motoring, but unlike car insurance, it is not a legal requirement. Anyone who drives on a motorway or any considerable distance away from their house should consider taking out some form of breakdown cover.
With every car, however new it is, things may go wrong and cause your vehicle to break down, and you never know where you may be when it happens.
The cost of having your car towed off the side of the motorway without breakdown cover can be as much as £300, and some companies may even charge you more. Whilst the likelihood of breaking down on a motorway is small, many people can’t afford to take the risk, especially as basic breakdown packages start at around £25 a year.
Breakdown cover comes in many different forms, from the most basic packages which will simply tow you to a garage within 5 miles, right up to the fully comprehensive package which will take your car, passengers and yourself to any destination you would like in the UK.
Before taking out a breakdown policy it’s worth looking at the different options, and how they relate to how you use your car. Some packages offer European breakdown cover as well, but if you never drive your car abroad there’s little point in paying the extra for this privilege.
Other policies only cover your car if it’s more than a certain number of miles from your home (often just 1 mile), as you will most likely have no use for any assistance that close to home.
Some policies will take you to a garage but only within 10 miles, which is absolutely fine if most of your driving is to shops and schools within a 10-mile radius. However, this limited cover would be no good if you drive a 50-mile commute each day and get stranded with your car on a Friday evening, after all the garages are shut for the week.
Some policies cover the driver, whilst others cover the car, so make sure you are aware which. Most AA and RAC policies cover you in any car you are in, be it as a driver or passenger, whereas Tesco’s breakdown policy covers only the car, regardless of who is driving it.
With so many policies on offer, it’s also worth noting that breakdown companies – like car insurance firms – offer their best deals to new customers, so it can save you money to switch policies each year.