If you're planning on making a long road trip, having a decent breakdown policy in place should be high on your list of priorities. We take you through what you'll need to consider to make sure you aren't left stranded.
If your travel plans include a cross-country trek to visit family and friends far and wide, you’d be well advised to have the right breakdown cover in place. Whether or not your car is prone to break-downs, covering yourself is a good idea.
With the recent bout of snow and the UK roads being nothing less than treacherous, it really isn’t worth setting out on a road trip until you have the right cover in place. Here’s what you’ll need to consider.
When choosing your breakdown insurance you’ll need to choose a level of cover to suit your circumstances as the benefits included can range from basic to very comprehensive. You'll also need to decide whether to go for vehicle or person cover.
Levels of cover can vary from basic roadside assistance where a mechanic will attempt to fix your car at the roadside, to more comprehensive policies that pay out for accommodation or a hire car to get you on your way. Read our guide on how to buy breakdown cover for more information on which level of cover is likely to be most suitable for you.
This will certainly be an important consideration when buying breakdown cover over the winter period – no-one wants to be waiting in a freezing car any longer than they have to if they break down on a snowy road! Some insurance providers will offer shorter average callout times than others, so it’s worth looking into the terms and conditions of your cover.
While some break-down victims could be waiting on the road for assistance for over an hour, others could be seen to in less than 30 minutes – so this is definitely something worth weighing into your decision.
It may be worth looking at the terms and conditions of your cover to find out who exactly you will be assisted by in the event of a break-down.
While some insurance providers such as the AA and RAC have a dedicated team of mechanics who will be sent out to you when you call for help, others employ the services of local patrol networks around the country – so you’ll be assisted by mechanics sent from whichever garage is nearest to you. It may be worth looking into how many patrols will be on hand and where they are sourced from.
Many breakdown cover policies will specify a maximum number of times you can call out for help in a certain period. If your car is often unreliable and you’re concerned it may let you down more than once over the festive period, it’s a good idea to go for a policy that doesn’t set the cap on callouts too low.
Similarly, it’s worth finding out if certain kinds of calls are given priority over others. For example individuals or cars with children on-board are often give priority over other callouts, so if you fall into one of these categories see if you will be given priority if you need assistance over the holidays.
Finally, remember to read up on any exclusions before you decide on cover as these can really make or break a policy; after all, the reason you pay out for breakdown cover is to actually be able to claim when something goes wrong.
For example, some policies won’t send out assistance if you accidentally lock your keys inside the car, need a tire changing, or if you break down a mile from your home but don’t have home start cover. As such it’s really important to make yourself acquainted with these exclusions before you opt for a policy that won’t cover you when you need it to.