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Breakdown Cover Guide

When it comes to choosing breakdown cover, things can be a little confusing. There are now so many websites, and so many companies available, all offering "the best deals". Generally, there's often not that much difference between them. Here at Compare Breakdown Cover we prefer to provide the information in a simple and easy to use way, and let you decide what’s right for you.

Our aim is to provide a simple to use comparison website where you will be able to review and compare a selection of breakdown providers after entering a minimal amount of information.

While we cannot choose the best provider for you, we give you all the information you need, including full documentation, comparison tables and a selection of frequently asked questions to help you pick which of our carefully selected providers best suits your needs.

Our providers can offer most aspects of breakdown cover, from UK annual cover, European single trip cover, to full UK and European annual cover. Let’s take a look at some of the different options available to you.

United Kingdom Breakdown Cover

UK

UK Breakdown Cover is designed only for use in the United Kingdom, usually over a certain distance away from your home address unless a nationwide or home start upgrade is selected.

UK breakdown cover normally includes several different levels of cover depending on your requirements. The starting level of cover will usually provide basic roadside assistance anywhere in the UK, where a repair mechanic will come out to the location of your broken down vehicle and spend up to one hour trying to fix the problem at the roadside. If the mechanic is unable to fix the problem, they will usually recover your vehicle, yourself and your passengers to a local garage where further repairs can be carried out. There will usually be a maximum distance that the recovery agent will tow your vehicle, as the basic policies are really only designed to get your vehicle off the road into a garage. The cost of spare parts and labour are not always covered by these policies so you may have to pay for this yourself. Please make sure you read through the relevant Documentation before purchasing.

A relay service, sometimes called ‘onwards travel’ is often included with the mid level covers. This means that once you have had an hour’s roadside repair, and/or have been taken to a local garage for further repairs, your breakdown cover might enable you, your vehicle and passengers to be taken onwards to your original destination, to a garage of your choice, or back to your home address.

If the vehicle cannot be repaired on the same day as the breakdown, there may be an option enabling yourself and your passengers to claim back the cost of public transport, a hire vehicle, or overnight accommodation. This is usually done on a pay and reclaim basis, meaning that once authorised by your provider, you pay this cost initially and it can be reimbursed by your breakdown cover provider, to enable you to continue to your destination or return home whilst your vehicle is being repaired.

Some of our Breakdown Cover providers offer several upgrades to their UK cover. This can include an upgrade from local recovery to nationwide recovery, and also upgrades to include home start. This will normally give you the same cover as you get with the basic roadside assistance, but without the minimum distance restriction. There may also be a European cover upgrade option available as well.

Some UK breakdown policies may also charge an excess if you need to make a claim. Please check your documentation carefully before purchasing.

European Breakdown Cover

UK

European Breakdown Cover is designed for use outside the UK but within Europe, and sometimes beyond. This cover is similar to the UK cover available from our providers; and may be purchased either as a stand-alone policy or as an additional upgrade to one of our UK policies.

If purchased as a stand-alone policy, some providers may include a limited UK cover if it is purchased more than 7 days in advance of travel. This normally covers you if the vehicle breaks down within 7 days of your trip date or on the journey from your home address to the point of exit from the UK. It usually provides the basic level of UK roadside assistance, although it may also offer a hire car if your vehicle is not able to be repaired by the trip start date, to enable you to continue your journey as planned.

Alongside the roadside assistance provided by European breakdown cover, you will have several new breakdown cover features which are different to standard UK breakdown cover.

Repatriation plays an important role in European breakdown cover, as if your vehicle is not able to be repaired by the time you are due to make you're homewards trip then your breakdown cover provider should be able to arrange for your vehicle to be transported back to your home address for you at a later date. Sometimes, depending on the distance, you might be able to claim back the cost of public transport back out to your vehicle once repairs are complete; so that you may drive the vehicle back home to the UK yourself. If your main driver is taken ill and no other passengers are eligible to drive the vehicle, a chauffeur can sometimes be provided to help you get back home.

Similar to UK cover, if the vehicle cannot be repaired at the roadside, then the recovery agent will normally have the vehicle towed to a local garage for repairs. There is often provision in European breakdown cover for onwards travel, overnight accommodation, or a hire vehicle, if your vehicle cannot be repaired within a certain time frame. This will work in a similar way to the UK cover, on a pay and reclaim basis. Make sure you check through your documentation for any restrictions to the hire vehicle clause, as you will usually be using local hire car companies there may be restrictions on driver’s ages, license types, or other limitations that may apply.

If your vehicle needs repairs, the costs of spare parts are usually not included in the policy, make sure you read through the Documentation for full details before you travel. One handy point though is that European breakdown policies sometimes do include free delivery of the spare parts if the parts are not available locally. So, although you may have to pay for the part itself, at least you don’t have to worry about how it gets to you.

UK & European Combined Breakdown Cover

UK

Combined Breakdown Cover is designed for use both in the United Kingdom and in Europe. This breakdown cover combines the best of both policies, giving you full roadside assistance and recovery from your front door all the way across Europe, and back again.

Generally a combined breakdown policy will offer a full comprehensive range of policy options. It generally combines the maximum level of UK cover with the best level of European cover as well, starting with basic roadside assistance, where a repair mechanic will come out to the location of your broken down vehicle and spend up to one hour trying to fix the problem at the roadside. If the mechanic is unable to fix the problem, the recovery operators will normally tow your vehicle, yourself and your passengers to a nearby local garage where further repairs can be carried out. However, as mentioned above the cost of spare parts and labour are not always covered by breakdown cover and you may have to pay for this yourself. One handy point though is that European breakdown cover can sometimes include free delivery of the spare parts if they are not available locally.

Your breakdown cover will usually cover you for onwards travel, overnight accommodation, or a hire car, if your vehicle cannot be repaired within a certain time frame. Make sure to check through the Documentation for any restrictions to this hire vehicle clause, as you will be using local hire companies there may be restrictions on driver’s ages, license types, or other limitations that may apply. Please make sure you read through the relevant documents before purchasing.

Repatriation is also a key feature of a UK and European combined policy, if your vehicle is not able to be repaired by the time you are due to make the homewards trip then your breakdown cover provider can arrange for your vehicle to be transported back to your home address for you after you return to the UK. you might be able to claim back the cost of public transport back out to your vehicle once repairs are complete; so that you may drive the vehicle back home to the UK yourself. Also, if your main driver is taken ill and no other passengers are eligible to drive the vehicle, a chauffeur can sometimes be provided to help you get back home.

Single Trip or Annual Trip

Deciding between Single Trip Breakdown Cover and annual breakdown cover will largely depend on your future travel plans. If you are only going abroad once in the next year, a single trip policy is a quick and simple way of getting yourself that important breakdown cover for the duration of that one trip.

However, if you are planning on travelling more than once, annual cover might save you money.

For UK cover, annual cover is by far the best option. This means you will be covered for all the journeys you make in your vehicle, within the policy limits, rather than just a single trip. At CompareBreakdownCover we only offer annual cover for UK breakdown for this reason. A basic roadside assistance policy will be the cheapest option, but you might be able to save money on a UK and European combination cover as well.

For European cover, annual cover will normally have a specified day travel limit of either 31, 60 or 90 days. This means that each trip you take is limited to a maximum number of days. However, you can make as many trips as you like within this limit over the year. So, have a look at your trip length, and if it is less than 90 days then you could save some money with an annual cover rather than a single trip.

You will sometimes find that an annual cover is actually cheaper than a single trip cover in the first place, but do make sure you are under the specified day limit. If you are planning on travelling more than once to Europe, then you are very likely to save money by taking one annual cover than multiple single trip covers.

If you are planning just a single holiday this year, and the trip is a weekend away or a brief trip abroad, then you may be better off with a single trip cover. There are no limits to the number of times you can do this, and you may find it easier to purchase cover each time you travel.

Here at Compare Breakdown Cover we have added a feature on our quote results page that shows you the price difference between our available single and annual trip covers. This way you can see at a glance if you can save money by selecting the annual option over single trip.

UK Breakdown Cover

  • Annual cover from just £17.50
  • Home Start cover available

European Breakdown Cover

  • Single trip cover from £5.10
  • Annual cover from just £54.95

UK & European Cover

  • Single trip cover from £5.10
  • Annual cover from just £54.95

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