Car Breakdown Services
There is no way you are going to fix that
Even the best mechanics need car breakdown services
We all want to keep our car costs down, but car breakdown cover might not be
one of the best things to do without - it could end up costing you alot more
Example 1 - breaking down on the motorway without a car breakdown service in place could cost you a small fortune. Unless you are fortunate enough to breakdown whilst going through roadworks (then you will get towed for free), it will most likely cost you around £100-150. Also, they will probably only tow you to the nearest garage. A car breakdown service, with the right cover will tow you back home or the the garage you designate.
Example 2 - being stranded with family and especially children in the car can be scary, stressful and dangerous - for you as well as them. Most car breakdown services can now locate you from your mobile phone signal - so even if you don't know where you are they can still find you.
Example 3 - you can be covered for the simplest of things too, flat battery, flat tyre, putting in the wrong fuel and even running out of fuel, your breakdown cover can come galloping to the rescue.
Some of the Car breakdown services available in the UK
GEM motoring assist, The
RAC, AutoNational, IC Breakdown,
Tesco Finance, Asda Finance, MoreThan roadside assist ........
What type of breakdown cover do I need ?
Most providers will offer 3 or 4 levels of cover, these are ;
Home or roadside recovery,
Recovery and onward transport,
Typically this will result in a mechanic arriving at your vehicle to try and get it going. If they can't, they will either tow it to your home or the nearest garage, whichever is closer. Some cheaper breakdown plans will have a maximum towing distance, whereby anything further may carry additional charges. Standard or basic breakdown cover does not normally cover you if the breakdown occurs at your home (see home or roadside recovery).
This level of cover is useful if you could normally get your car going if it broke down at home, say because of a flat battery or a puncture. It is also useful to have if say you break down on the motorway and need to get the car towed to safety.
NOTE - with some standard policies your car may not be eligible for mechanical assistance if it breaks down within a set radius of your home. So don't think you can get the cheapest cover and it your motor breaks down at home you can push round the corner and then cal them - they have that one covered :o)
Home or roadside recovery (homestart).
As you would imagine, this level of cover means that the mechanic will attend your car if your vehicle breaks down whilst you are at home (unlike standard cover). It will also include the things that are covered by the 'standard recovery'. Your car should be covered anywhere in the UK.
This level of cover is useful if you can't sort out things like a flat battery or a puncture yourself. Also, it offers peace of mind when running out of the house for work and the damn thing won't start. Give work a call and tell them you are waiting for the breakdown service. Hopefully they will be able to get it going for you and you will be on your way. If they can't fix it, at least they should be able to tell you what they think is wrong, say a duff battery or a faulty alternator.
Recovery and onward transport.
Now this cover normally means that you will get the cover of the 'standard' or 'homestart' but if you breakdown on your way somewhere, say holiday, the cover will mean you and a pre-designated number of passengers will be taken on to your destination i.e. your holiday hotel. The mode of 'onward transport' will vary between car breakdown service i.e in recovery vehicle or via hire car.
This level of cover will normally include everything mentioned above as well as alternative transport/hire cars to help you complete your journey or get you to and from work whilst repairs are being carried out. Some also include payment of accommodation if you breakdown far away from home and have to stay over.
Which are the biggest car breakdown services ?
Well as you are probably aware, the RAC and AA are the largest vehicle recovery companies in the UK. The AA is the largest with over 4000 trained mechanics, they claim an average breakdown response time of 40 minutes and state that more cars and vans are fixed at the roadside than any other company. The AA has around 15 million members and their website says they aim to fix your car within 30 minutes.
The RAC also boasts an average response time of 40 minutes, it is about half the size of the AA with just under 2000 trained mechanics and about 7 million members. The RAC website states that 4 out of 5 cars are fixed at the roadside and that they have more patrols per member than any other breakdown service.
Both currently claim that their breakdown covers starts from just £28.
Greenflag claim an average response time of just 30 minutes. They have around 5 million members, and their car breakdown services start from just £20. Figures show that they repair 86% of breakdowns at the roadside. Established in 1971 and originally known as National Breakdown.
Other car breakdown services
Started in 1983, has over 600 thousand members and claim an average response time of 39 minutes. They claim to be cheaper than the top 3 car breakdown services whilst offering higher levels of cover. They use a network of 1250 AVRO or RRRA qualified recovery specialists with access to over 5000 vehicles.
Auto-Express winners and runners up in the 2008/09 'best breakdown cover'. GEMs website states that their car breakdown services provide 'personal cover' and are not vehicle specific - so no matter what you are driving - you are covered.
They aim to be with you within 35 minutes, using a network of some 3,500 recovery crews - cover starts from £41 and policies are tailored to your individual needs so you don't pay for others breakdowns.
Cover from £6.16 per month. Provided via Britannia Rescue who achieved a 'Which Magazine' Best Buy award. Network of 3,000 breakdown professionals. You can pay by installments, nationwide recovery and HomeCall are included as standard.
Other considerations with car breakdown cover ;
Does the policy cover my car or does it cover me ? Some policies cover the driver and and not the car they own, meaning that if you are in someone elses vehicle and it breaks down then you can still call out the recovery service. This is often referred to as 'personal cover' as opposed to 'vehicle based cover'.
Vehicle based cover is ideal for the family car that is driven by more than one person. It will always be covered in the event of a breakdown or accident and it is normally cheaper than 'personal cover'.
Personal cover is also good if you own more than one car, say you have a 2nd car for the weekends or for nipping into town. They are also good if your drive one vehicle for pleasure and another one for work (say a van). As your cover is personal, it doesn't matter what you are driving. Personal cover normally costs more.
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