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Detailed guide to buying car breakdown cover

Quite simply breakdown insurance is to help you in an emergency with your car. Traditionally this is when you are on a journey away from home. The increasing sophistication of cars means that repairing a car yourself is becoming almost impossible. This is particularly true if you car experiences a fault while away from home. Even simple repairs like changing a tyre becomes a big job when you have to, for example, jack up a 4x4, inflate and fit the narrow spare tyre. Repairs on the side of the road are also dangerous and our strong advice in do not even attempt it, park the vehicle safely off the road, get out the car and move to somewhere close but safer, call the breakdown company you have chosen and let them solve the problem for you. This is what you are paying them for after all.

Car breakdown cover categories

There are four basic categories of cover.

1. Basic: Designed to help you when your car develops a fault on a journey - this is by far the most popular and best buy breakdown insurance. It could cost as low as £20. In case of breakdown the company will come and try to fix the car for you or if that's not possible – tow it to the nearest garage or your home whatever is nearest within a 10 miles radius. If this journey exceeds 10 miles, you could be paying the excess costs out of your pocket.

2. Basic + International: The same a basic but with an additional premium for international travel - good if you take frequent journeys abroad or drive to France on holiday for example. But be aware that the service from foreign breakdown companies that will help you abroad is often not up to the UK standards.

3. Basic + Home Help/Start: A premium for helping you to get your car going even when you are at home. This is a good choice if you have an unreliable or old car.

4. Nationwide: This cover will help you in case of breakdown anywhere in the country. It includes the transportation of you, a certain number of passengers and your car to a chosen destination.

Why you need breakdown cover?

In the UK, there are almost more than 25,000 calls made to breakdown services every day. The reasons for the calls vary from a serious breakdown to a simple flat tyre. A common misconception is that you cannot call out your breakdown service for simple problems like a puncture or a flat battery. The truth is you can, and you should always call them - even if you have just run out of fuel.

The top breakdown company is the AA and we simply cannot recommend their service enough. However, they are not the cheapest and the RAC and Green Flag are also excellent companies. Different breakdown companies have different joining deals at particular times so make sure you shop around and compare.

Recovering a car without Breakdown Cover?

If you have missed to get breakdown cover for your car, you can still call the assistance company to come and fix the damages. But the recovery will cost you much more than with breakdown cover.

Top Tip: Remember in most cases the breakdown cover you buy covers you not the car. So you can get help whoever's car you are driving.

You may also want to read about: Car Insurance

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