A Guide To Car Breakdown Insurance

Car Breakdown Insurance GuideBreaking down on the side of a motorway could cost you hours of time, and aside from heavy traffic, it could expose you to the elements. Whether it’s a scorching summer day or a snowy night, no time is a good time for a breakdown, but breakdowns do happen– even if you take preventative measures to avoid them.

Regularly servicing your car, carrying the right equipment, and checking its fluids, motor, lights, battery, tyres, etc. are excellent habits, but only purchasing breakdown cover can truly protect you from having to tackle the trouble that comes with breaking down.

Choosing an Insurer and a Policy

All insurers offer varying levels of cover, ranging from basic roadside assistance, fully comprehensive cover, but the policies themselves and the prices of their annual premiums are not the only details to consider. The purpose of breakdown cover is to ensure you spend as little time as possible stranded on the roadside. No matter which insurance company you choose– or which breakdown policy, breakdown cover will guarantee that a qualified mechanic will be sent to aid you, usually in less than one hour.

The response-time promised by each insurer, then, becomes a top concern, but other facets of the various policies need to be carefully considered as well, starting with the choice to cover the vehicle only or the vehicle and yourself.

Vehicle vs. Personal

The least expensive of the two is the vehicle policy, which covers a specific vehicle, no matter the driver, while personal breakdown insurance guarantees the individual is covered regardless of what vehicle he or she is driving. An extension to this policy is that the individual is also covered if he or she is a passenger in another vehicle.

Autoservice vs. Pay-and-claim Policies

All breakdown policies will be one or the other. Autoservice policies represent the stereotype for breakdown cover: you pay an annual premium for breakdown cover, and if you actually breakdown and call for service, your insurer sends a mechanic to help put you on the road again and pays for his services. If you opt for a Pay-and-claim policy instead, the insurer will still contact the mechanic or recovery firm for you, but you will be responsible for paying for the services when they are completed.

You would then forward the receipts or invoices to your insurer. Though pay-and-claim policies seem more complicated and certainly involve waiting for paperwork and payment, they tend to cost less than autoservice policies. Choosing between the two should mostly come down to whether or not you can be certain you will have the funds to pay for repairs upfront and wait for repayment from the insurer, but also consider how frequently you anticipate needing the cover. More frequent use would make autoservice far more accommodating than pay-and-claim policies while infrequent use of a pay-and-claim policy would be more easily viable.

Extended Benefits and Limitations

Customizing breakdown cover can include more than you might imagine. You can opt to extend coverage to your spouse or partner as well as to children aged 21 and under, or you can stretch your coverage out of the UK to all of Europe. Such continental coverage can save the cost of repatriating a car back to the UK if it cannot be fixed on the roadside.

Another limitation to the most basic breakdown cover is that roadside assistance doesn’t apply to your vehicle at home, so if your car simply will not start, calling for service isn’t an option. If this limitation sounds like one that might be a bother to you, you can choose a roadside and home rescue breakdown cover instead of the basic roadside assistance policy. When comparing insurers be sure to also note limitations regarding the number of times you can use your cover.

Not all insurers set limits like this, but many do set a yearly limit. Lastly, be aware of other limitations and exclusions as these will vary from insurer to insurer, with some making very few and some even stating they will not cover the parts used to repair your car, compensating for labor only.