It's happened to all of us at some point in our lives - a breakdown in the middle of nowhere or on a busy road far from home. 99% of us have no idea how to fix the problem or how to get home when this happens. It's only at times like these we appreciate the value of Breakdown Cover and how integral it has become to owning a car. It's not that cars break down more often these days, in fact its the exact opposite, but everything breaks down at some point and people want the piece of mind provided by the man from the AA or RAC!
When it comes to choosing who to buy Breakdown Cover from it's usually a matter of who can offer the best premium and perhaps the best freebies. It is, however, important to understand the options available and this is where our quick guide comes in handy.
Types of Breakdown Cover
There are two common types of Breakdown Cover.
Automatic Policy - This is the most common type of Breakdown Cover and is a fairly standard policy that charges you an annual fee and covers you for a certain number of call-outs per year. Your vehicle will be fixed and you will be charged nothing for the call out. Its a convenient option for most people and only fails to cover you if your car is an old banger that needs fixed every other week.
Insurance Policy - The second type of Breakdown Cover is often a cheaper "pay as you go" option that works like a traditional insurance policy. When you contact your provider they will pass the call to a local company. You will pay for the call out and recovery and then claim the money back from your provider. The reason its cheaper is that its a bit more work on your part.
Your Options Explained.
Roadside Assistance is the most basic for of Breakdown Cover. If you breakdown away from home your breakdown company will send a mechanic to wherever you are. Most companies won't come out if you are less than a quarter of a mile from your home. Hopefully they will fix the problem there and then but if this isn't possible they will take you and your car to the nearest garage or back to your home, depending which is closer. Each company and each policy varies as to how far they will tow you and what type of problems are covered for free.
Vehicle Recovery is usually offered on top of the basic policy as an extra premium to ensure you, your passengers and your car are towed to anywhere in the UK.
Home Assistance is another option in case your car doesn't start one morning or comes to a stop just as your setting off from home. Most companies cover you while you are less than quarter of a mile from home and will either come immediately or at a later time if more convenient for you.
Full Cover allows you to extend your policy to include onward travel. This normally includes a replacement vehicle for a set period of time, overnight accommodation while your car is being repaired or alternative transport costs. Each company provide slightly different cover so be sure to check out the details to ensure you sign up to the right policy for you.
Cover Yourself Or Your Car?
When you ask for a quote you'll be asked whether you want the recovery to cover the driver or the car. If you get cover for yourself it means you are covered in any car (useful if you often drive another family members car). If you choose to cover your car then the car is covered even if another driver is behind the wheel when it breaks down.
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