It is unfortunate, but cars breaking down is simply a part of life. Even the most reliable or brand-new cars can encounter issues at any point, which is why it is so important for every motorist on the road to have breakdown cover. The last thing that you want is to break down on the motorway on the way to work or driving late at night (which can be scary and dangerous), but this can be made much worse if it is down to you to pay for a local mechanic to come out and fix your car.
What is Breakdown Cover?
Breakdown cover provides roadside assistance 24/7 and this allows for important protection and peace of mind. There are a few different levels of cover available, but some level of cover is recommended for any motorist that drives on a regular basis. These are the two main types available:
Standard – a standard policy charges you an annual fee that will cover a certain number of callouts each year. These will include 24/7 assistance, simple roadside repairs and towing to a nearby garage.
Pay and Claim – Pay and claim policies will see you pay upfront for emergency call-outs and recovery costs, before claiming the money back from the insurer.
- Different policies will have different levels of cover, so it is important to think about how often you drive and how reliable your car is. There are five main features that a breakdown policy can have:
- Roadside recovery – Helps you to get moving at the side of the road or transports you and the car to the nearest garage if required. The most basic level available.
- Vehicle recovery – Includes the above with extras to ensure that you and the vehicle reach your destination/return home.
- Home assistance/start – Restarts your car within a quarter of a mile of your home.
- Onward travel – All of the above and provides a replacement car or the cost of public transport and accommodation whilst your car is being repaired.
- European breakdown cover – Towing, repair, accommodation and repatriation costs covered throughout Europe.
What is Not Covered
There are also a number of exclusions that most policies have (some can be added on for an extra price), so it is important to be aware of these. These usually include:
- Parts and labour costs after a certain amount
- Claims exceeding the market value of your car
- Claims made after an agreed mileage
- Recovery after an accident
- If you’ve previously broken down for the same reason
- Callouts after you’ve exceeded the amount included in the policy duration
With this in mind, it is also important that you are covered by a car warranty so that the cost of repairs and parts are covered as well. The original manufacturer warranty usually only lasts 3 years or 60,000 miles, after which you will need to obtain an extended warranty if you want to be covered.
Breaking down on the side of the road can be stressful enough, but even more so if you are stranded and it is down to you to arrange and pay for recovery and repairs. This is why it is important for all motorists to obtain some level of breakdown cover, even if this is a basic form.