GUIDE TO BREAKDOWN COVER
The modern car is complicated and DIY repairs, even to the most savvy of amateur mechanics, are not as easy as they used to be. With approximately 35 million vehicles on the road in the United Kingdom in 2012 and this number increasing, even a relatively simple job like changing a tyre on the side of the road can be more dangerous than it was in the past.
With this in mind, having vehicle breakdown cover could be a safer option, but with a multitude of different providers, cover options and protection levels to choose from, how do you know what type of cover you need? We have prepared this guide to help you make the right decision when selecting the type of breakdown cover that will suit your individual requirements. Read on and hopefully you will not be left on the hard shoulder with only your hazard lights to keep you company!
THE BENEFITS OF BREAKDOWN COVER
During the winter months breakdown cover providers in the UK report high levels of call outs for a variety of different reasons ranging from punctured tyres to flat batteries. Even the most well prepared and careful motorists cannot predict weather conditions and the weather is always capable of causing motorists a problem. With the weather in the UK being rather unpredictable, one of the great advantages of having breakdown cover is that no matter what the conditions, help is always available. Call out times are generally relatively short with some companies averaging less than 40 minutes to arrive on the scene, so you could be back on the road in no time.
Breakdown cover can be particularly important for inexperienced, younger drivers who may be more vulnerable; having breakdown cover can provide the peace of mind that if something does go wrong, help will soon be on its way.
Breakdown cover does, of course, usually come at an additional cost and with fuel and servicing costs increasing, the financial pressures on UK motorists has never been greater. However, there are many different cover options available from a wide variety of companies. You can select a product to suit your budget that provides the correct level of cover you require.
TYPES OF BREAKDOWN COVER
Breakdown cover is split into two levels of protection – vehicle and personal. Vehicle cover enables you to call for assistance if a specific vehicle breaks down, regardless who was driving at the time. The other type of cover is personal cover and provides breakdown cover to an individual, regardless of whether they are a driver or passenger in a vehicle.
Of the two levels of cover, personal cover is generally the more expensive option as the cover is more extensive. However, depending on your circumstances, personal cover might be better suited to your needs than vehicle cover. For example, if a person has access to multiple cars in the household and regularly drives several of them, then personal cover could be the best option despite it being the more expensive.
WHAT IS COVERED?
Different levels of breakdown cover will provide different levels of protection. There are generally four different levels of cover available:
This is the most basic level of cover available. The breakdown cover provider will send out assistance to repair your vehicle at the side of the road if possible. If the vehicle cannot be repaired at the roadside then a tow will be provided to the nearest suitable garage for repair. The cost of any replacement parts required for the repair will not be provided by the breakdown cover.
This level of cover includes all that is provided in Roadside Assistance but also provides transport for the driver and any passengers to any address of choice whenever a breakdown occurs.
A higher level of cover which includes all the features offered with National but also includes repair services at your home if required. Having a repair vehicle come out to your home can be a very useful feature if you are very reliant on your vehicle, especially as National and Roadside Assistance predominantly only cover repair work if the car is a specified distance from your home.
Onward Travel is the highest level of cover available and includes the benefits of all three previous levels of cover (Roadside, National and Home) and also includes services to ensure that you can continue your journey. This cover includes the cost of car hire and also the cost of alternative accommodation, all paid by the breakdown assistance provider.
BREAKDOWN COVER ON THE CONTINENT
European cover can be added to your standard breakdown policy and if you are a motorist who drives in Europe regularly this type of cover is worth consideration. Breaking down whilst driving in Europe can be very difficult, especially if you do not speak the language which can make communicating the problem and arranging a solution very difficult. In addition, breaking down on the continent without sufficient breakdown cover can also be very expensive. If you are planning on driving in Europe, even only for a short period, European breakdown cover can be beneficial.