That feeling when you realise your car won’t move right in the middle of a line of traffic definitely ranks as one of life’s less pleasant experiences. Before you have a chance to flick your hazards on, horns start blaring around you and your mind races with thoughts of how this is going to mess up your day.

Then, just as you thought your stress levels couldn’t go any higher, it hits you - you haven’t even got breakdown assistance on your insurance and you’re not a member of any of the big roadside recovery specialists. With your car not budging, you’re going to have to call a mechanic directly. And it is probably going to cost you handsomely.

It is the sort of experience most people are only prepared to go through once. You might not be able to guarantee your car doesn’t break down in the future. But what you can do is make sure you are protected so that getting help doesn’t cost the Earth and can be easily arranged whenever you need it most. They are certainly two weights off your mind in a tricky situation.

Breakdown Assistance Explained

Unlike road traffic accidents, mechanical faults with your car are not usually covered automatically by your motor insurance policy. That means that unless you take action to protect yourself in the event of a breakdown, you are on your own when it comes to arranging (and paying for) help.

Breakdown assistance comes in two forms. You can join one of the ‘motor clubs’ - the AA, RAC or Green Flag being the biggest - which offer roadside assistance and recovery to members. Alternatively, you can look for insurance policies which offer breakdown cover as an extra.

Many people find the service provided by the big clubs to be convenient, reliable and high quality. However, there are advantages to taking out breakdown cover as part of your main insurance which suits a lot of people more. For one, it means you have everything all in one place, and you call the same people to get help whether your car has packed in or you’ve been involved in an RTA. You could even get cost savings from having both services bundled into one package, rather than paying twice.

Different insurance providers offer breakdown assistance in different ways and attach different conditions. Most will offer it as a paid-for optional extra, but it is possible to find higher-value policies which include it as part of the core package. It is important to look at the details of the cover and select an option that will make it worthwhile for you. For example, there is little point in having a breakdown policy that kicks in when you are 30 miles from home if you do most of your driving and commuting in the same town or city.

Another thing to consider is whether to take out personal breakdown cover or vehicle breakdown protection. The former means you can call for help if any car you are in breaks down, whether you are a driver or a passenger - great if you often get lifts in a car pool, for example, or have more than one vehicle in your household. Vehicle protection, however, means help is available whoever is driving that car - great for concerned parents of newly qualified drivers sharing the family car, for instance.

*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.

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