Types of breakdown cover

Types of breakdown cover



You can choose to cover yourself in any vehicle, which would be useful if you drive different cars or often get a lift.  All the benefits attached to the policy would be available to you, even if you are not driving.


With this type of breakdown cover, the policy is attached to a specific vehicle.  This means that whoever is driving (legally, of course) will be able to take advantage of the policy benefits in the event of that vehicle breaking down.  The policy does not carry through to another vehicle, or cover the original policyholder in someone else’s car.


Roadside Assistance

This is the basic level of cover, although it might be called something else depending on the provider.  It essentially means that you are covered for assistance during a vehicle breakdown; one of the provider’s breakdown recovery experts will attempt to get you going again from the roadside or point of breakdown.  If this is not possible then you’ll usually get a tow to the nearest garage.

National recovery

This is a popular choice due to the peace of mind it offers, and it’s one tier up from basic roadside assistance.  You’ll get the attempted roadside fix, but if that fails then you’ll be towed to a garage of your choice anywhere in the UK, or back to your home.

Home start

If you want to be covered outside your home then you’ll usually need to pay a little extra for a higher tier.  Roadside assistance and national recovery would often exclude anywhere that is within a certain distance from your house, a 1-mile radius for example.  Adding home start will ensure that a breakdown close to home can get the expert treatment, with a tow to a garage offered as well.

Onward travel

The exact inclusions in this can vary, but it is designed to give you alternative options should you experience a vehicle breakdown.  This can include money towards emergency accommodation, a courtesy car or alternative transport.


European breakdown cover will provide you with roadside assistance and vehicle recovery in a number of European countries.  It’s always best to check exactly which countries are covered, and this can vary depending on your chosen provider.  It’s one of those where you really need to check the small print, or you could give the provider a call before you make your purchase.


Misfuelling cover

If you stick the wrong fuel in your car then chances are you could have to pay out for a garage to pick up the vehicle and drain the tank.  If your policy includes misfuelling cover then this is all dealt with for you.

Key replacement

Having this in your policy means that if you lose your keys you’ll be able to get it sorted, and it should include re-programming immobilisers and alarms.

Extra call-outs

Some breakdown cover policies have a call-out limit, and any beyond that number in a single year would be subject to additional charges.  There are policies with unlimited call-outs, or some will let you tag on extra call-outs from the start for a slightly higher premium.