What is commercial breakdown cover?

It is an insurance policy that helps recover your commercial vehicle if it breaks down.

You have access to a 24 hour helpline that you can call to get help in the event of a breakdown. Here is what you need to do if your vehicle breaks down.

There are two types of commercial breakdown cover you can get:

Fleet cover

If you have several business vehicles you want to cover, you can protect them all with a fleet breakdown policy.

You can cover up to 500 vehicles under one policy, depending on the provider. Most policies offer a discount if you add more than a certain number of vehicles, for example over five.

You can usually only pay for fleet cover with one up front payment, so you cannot spread the cost monthly. Most providers send an invoice and give you 30 days to pay.

Pay for use cover

This means you only pay if one of your vehicles breaks down. Not all providers offer this, but those that do charge an annual administration charge.

How much you are charged depends on what services you need. You should be sent confirmation of the prices when you sign up to pay for use cover.

After your breakdown has been dealt with, your provider will send you an invoice detailing what payment is due for the call out.

Do you need it?

You need commercial breakdown cover if you want to protect vehicles that are registered to a business address, and are driven by more than one driver.

If you only have one work vehicle, for example if you run a van from home, you should look at standard breakdown cover, because you may get a better deal.

What does it cover?

Your commercial vehicles get the same protection offered by a standard breakdown policy, including:

  • Roadside assistance: This provides help if your car breaks down in the UK. Your provider will try to fix it there, or tow you to the nearest garage if they are unable to.

  • Homestart: This provides help if your vehicle has broken down or will not start at your business address, or within a quarter of a mile.

  • Onward travel: This gives you a hire car if your vehicle cannot be repaired locally, or it can cover the cost of public transport.

Most providers offer different levels of breakdown cover, so you can choose the protection that best suits your business or fleet.

If you drive a commercial vehicle in Europe, you can add European cover to most policies. Here is more information on European breakdown cover.

What types of vehicle can you cover?

Commercial breakdown cover can protect most vehicle types, including:

  • Cars

  • Vans

  • Trucks

  • Taxis

  • Minibuses

  • Motorcycles

Most policies only cover vehicles that weigh no more than 3.5 tonnes, and have a maximum width of 7 feet 6 inches.

Specialist vehicles

Some vehicles need specialist cover, and you need to confirm when you get a quote if you want to cover:

  • Taxis: This includes any vehicle, except minibuses, that are used to transport passengers for a fare, or for hire.

  • Minibuses: This includes any vehicle that carries between 8 and 16 people as well as the driver, and can be used to transport passengers for a fare, or for hire.

  • Delivery vehicles: This includes any car or van used to courier personal or commercial packages and documents.

  • Large or heavy goods vehicles: This includes vehicles that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes or are more than 7 feet 6 inches wide.

Not all providers protect these vehicles, and those that do may offer limited cover, for example some providers do not offer European cover for minibuses.

Some insurers will ask you to call them to discuss breakdown cover for specialist vehicles.

How to find the best policy

To get the right commercial breakdown cover think about:

  • How many vehicles you want to cover

  • What cover you need, e.g. do you need European cover?

  • Whether you need to cover a specialist vehicle

Look at how quickly each provider can get to you; some estimate they will be with you within 45 minutes or less. The faster you get back on the road, the better for your business.

When you know what cover you need for your vehicle or fleet, shop around to find the right policy at the best price.