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What is breakdown cover?

| Insurance

Every vehicle will experience problems at some point, whether these are age related or down to mechanical faults. With so many moving parts, something’s bound to go wrong eventually. Whether you need to call someone to have your car towed or give you a lift to the nearest garage, you want to be back on the road as soon as possible.

This is why it’s so important to have breakdown cover. This protection is a form of insurance that will cover you against any costs that could be incurred when your car breaks down, including any call-out and emergency assistant charges. If your car cannot be fixed at the roadside, or it isn’t safe to do so, it will be towed to the nearest garage so that repair work can be carried out.

What does breakdown cover include?

Breakdown cover provides you with roadside assistance should anything happen to your vehicle while you’re driving. For a small monthly or yearly fee, you can call your provider when your car fails knowing that help will be on its way to get it up and running again. The amount of cover you have will depend on your provider and your annual premium.

Most policies will offer assistance within a certain distance from your home. For example, the service may be limited if you break down a quarter of a mile from your home and, in this case, assistance may not be available to you. Alternatively, if you were to break down over 25 miles from home at a late hour, the provider may be able to provide local overnight accommodation until your car can be taken to a garage. To see exactly what your policy includes, you should check your documents.

Does breakdown cover include punctures?

A puncture can be a big problem while you’re travelling. It will likely delay you in getting to your destination as you will need to stop to change the tyre or wait for breakdown assistance to reach you. Unless your car has run flat tyres, it isn’t safe to continue driving with a puncture as the vehicle will be more difficult to steer with an increased chance of losing control, so this shouldn’t be attempted.

In this situation, you have two options - change the tyre yourself or call your breakdown provider. You can change the wheel if you have a spare and you’re in a safe position to do so. However, if you don’t have a spare or you’re in a compromising position, your breakdown provider can come out to help you. They will either fit a temporary spare or, if the damage is repairable, they will seal the puncture as best as they can and tow you to the nearest repair centre. Both of these options are temporary and further action will need to be taken by you to make your car safe to drive again.

This means that your breakdown cover does include punctures, however it will not cover the cost of permanently fixing the damage. You will need to purchase a new tyre at your earliest convenience.


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Does breakdown cover include tyres?

As with punctures, you can call your breakdown provider for assistance when a tyre is damaged. This could include punctures, cracks, bulges and blowouts.

Age Co’s Breakdown policy covers any accidental damage to your tyres, including, for example, if you were to hit a kerb at a funny angle or run over something that caused a puncture. It also includes flat tyres. The policy document explicitly states that any tyres that have been allowed to run flat or those which are below the legal tread limit are not covered and you would need to pay an additional fee for a callout.

It’s worth noting that breakdown will cover the cost of callout and assistance, either at your home or the roadside, and the transportation of the person and their vehicle to the nearest repairer.

Does breakdown cover pay for repairs?

Breakdown cover offers support during the breakdown itself - once your vehicle is at a repair centre, it’s down to you to pay the cost of any fixes that need to be undertaken. Most policies don’t offer to recover the repair work required on the vehicle. Your car insurance may cover this, so carry on reading to find out how this would work.

Does car insurance cover breakdowns?

While breakdown cover is optional, car insurance is a legal requirement. It will provide cover for your vehicle after an accident, whether it was your fault or not, as well as any damage that has occurred.

If you don’t have breakdown cover, you may be wondering whether your car insurance will offer a roadside assistance service to take you to the nearest garage. In some cases, your car insurance provider will offer breakdown cover as an additional extra for a small fee, but it’s uncommon for your insurance to include this as standard. This means that, if you were to breakdown, you may need to take out a breakdown policy at the roadside to be towed to the nearest garage.

When it comes to making repairs to your car for issues that were caused by breaking down, the situation can become more complicated. You will need to check your insurance policy to see what it will cover you for. It may be that your insurance will cover some damage if it’s caused by another road user, but will not cover tyre replacement or breakdowns caused by general wear and tear, such as a snapped cambelt.

To find out exactly what your policy does and does not cover, you should check your documents.


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