Last updated:17 August 2020

Car breakdown cover is a kind of insurance to protect you if your car breaks down. Having the right policy - not just cheap breakdown cover - means you could call an engineer who can help in an emergency, such as if you get a flat battery or punctured tyre.

They'll either fix your car there and then at the roadside, or offer a car recovery service to tow it to a garage.

Car breakdown cover is a good way to give you peace of mind that you won't be left stranded at the roadside. Your car breakdown cover is there to help when you need it most. The aim is to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Sometimes car breakdown cover is bought as an individual policy, but other times it's offered as an add-on to your regular motor insurance. You can get car breakdown cover whether you drive a car, van, motorcycle or scooter.

What kind of breakdown cover do I need?

There are two types of car breakdown cover you can choose from. You'll need to choose which one to buy based on your budget, vehicle and how often you drive.

Vehicle cover means only your vehicle is covered. You can only call out for assistance when the covered car, van or motorcycle breaks down.

Personal breakdown cover is for an individual. Personal breakdown cover covers you in any car you travel in, whether you're the driver or a passenger.

If you only ever travel in your own car, a vehicle breakdown cover policy can be a good way to get cheap breakdown cover. But if you regularly drive different cars, a personal breakdown cover policy will give you better protection.

Here's more information on how car breakdown cover works.

How to choose the best car breakdown cover for you

Once you've decided on vehicle breakdown cover or personal breakdown cover, there are more decisions to make. Before you do a car breakdown cover comparison, it's a good idea to think about what kind of cover you might want.

The available types of car breakdown cover, UK wide, include:

  • Roadside assistance. This is included in every car breakdown cover policy. It gives you help at the side of the road if your car breaks down. You can also be towed to the nearest garage.

  • Breakdown recovery. National roadside recovery means your vehicle can be towed to any location of your choice in the UK if it can't be fixed at the roadside. That means that even if you're far away from home when you break down, your car can be fixed near where you live.

  • Onward travel cover. This gives you the option to continue with your journey if your car is taken to a garage. You'll get the choice of a hire car, hotel accommodation and or alternative travel arrangements.

  • Home start: This covers breakdowns that happen at your home, or close to your home (such as a quarter of a mile away).

  • European breakdown cover: This extends your car breakdown cover policy so you're covered for trips in Europe. Here's how European breakdown cover works.

When you're looking at breakdown cover deals think about what might be the best cover for you. Don't just go for the cheapest car breakdown cover you can find. For example, if you often travel long distances, then vehicle recovery and onward travel might be helpful. But, if you don't drive often, roadside assistance may be enough. Extras will generally increase your premiums, however picking the best policy for you over cheap breakdown cover will likely save you money in the long run.

How do I compare breakdown cover?

Compare car breakdown cover using our breakdown cover comparison table at the top of this page. It shows which cover options each breakdown company offers.

Once you know what cover you want, you should compare as many quotes as possible.

Don't just look for cheap breakdown cover. Look for the policy that offers the cover you need at the cheapest price. Here's how to work out what breakdown cover is right for you.

What information do I need to share to get car breakdown cover?

Getting breakdown cover quotes is quick and easy. You'll just need to share a few personal details and information about your driving licence and car.

You'll get to see the best breakdown cover offers and what each policy offers.

How can I get cheap breakdown cover?

Getting the best breakdown cover possible is always a priority, but that doesn't mean that you can't get a great deal.

To do this, it's important that you shop around for the breakdown cover deals by doing a comparison.

Also remember that it's never a good idea to auto-renew your car breakdown cover. Loyalty doesn't usually pay when it comes to insurance, so it's best to look around for a more cost-effective deal.

Can I prevent my car from breaking down?

The most effective way of preventing your car from breaking down is regular maintenance. Some steps you can take include:

  • Check your oil and coolant levels regularly.

  • Keep an eye on your battery.

  • Check your fan belt.

Breakdown cover FAQs


How many times can I claim on my breakdown cover?


It depends on your provider and the level of cover. Some offer unlimited call outs, but basic, cheap breakdown cover may only let you make one claim a year.


Can I get help if I breakdown at home?


Yes, but you will need to make sure you include home start cover in your car breakdown cover policy. Here is how to work out what cover you need.


Am I covered in someone else's car?


Yes, if you choose a personal cover policy, you will be covered whether you are driving or a passenger in any car.


Can I pay for breakdown cover monthly?


Yes, you can either pay for your cover in one upfront payment, or you can spread it over the term of the policy.


Can I earn a no claims discount?


Yes, some providers offer a discount if you do not claim on your breakdown cover policy in the previous year. Not all offer this so check with them before you buy a policy.


Can I get a student discount on my breakdown policy?


No, most breakdown cover providers do not offer a student discount, but there might be other offers like online discounts worth looking out for.

About our breakdown cover comparison


Who do we include in this comparison?


We include breakdown cover policies available from our panel of insurers and brokers. Here is more information about how our website works.


How do we make money from our comparison?


We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.