Breakdown cover - it’s yet another expense that pushes the
already heavy cost burden of running a car higher still. Yet it is also
something that millions of motorists conclude they cannot do without.
Why? Because the cost of breaking down and having to pay for
emergency rescue and repair straight out of your own pocket without cover is
considerably steeper. It’s that simple.
But that’s not to say that people shouldn’t be careful about
how they spend their money on breakdown cover. Let’s face it, every penny we
can save on motoring is a bonus. We also want to make sure we are paying for a
service that will actually meet our needs if and when we call on it.
So if you are shopping around for breakdown cover, here are
some things to consider to make sure you get the right service for you at the
best possible value.
Location, location, location
No, we’ve not just veered off into a property blog. It might
seem strange, but location is a key thing to think about when choosing
breakdown cover - meaning, where your car is most likely to fail on you.
According to Which?, the most common location
for a breakdown service to attend is a motorists’ own home, accounting for 37%
of all call outs. And yet the most basic roadside assistance policies do not
cover home start. So if there is a one in three chance of your car being on
your own driveway when you have to call out a mechanic, are you getting good
value from taking out the cheapest available option?
You get what you pay for - but do you need it?
Paying less for basic roadside assistance may well turn out
to be a false economy if you wake up one morning and your car won’t start. Things
get even worse if you break down a long way from home. With roadside assistance
only, the average cost of a call out more than 100 miles from home is nearly
double that of getting your car started on your own driveway.
This takes into account the fact that, with the most basic
plans, you will only be towed to a local garage, and if your vehicle can’t be
fixed immediately, you then have to factor in overnight accommodation or
getting a train or bus home.
More comprehensive ‘national recovery’ policies will include
the option of towing you home, towing you to your onward destination or even
paying for accommodation or for a hire car while your vehicle is fixed. This is
all very attractive, but it comes at a price. If you very rarely drive more
than 100 miles from home, are you paying more for benefits you may never need?
In other words, the message is to match your breakdown cover
to your motoring habits.
Do your research
Reading customer reviews online is a great way to get an
understanding of what a particular service actually provides, rather than just
being bombarded with all the marketing spiel on the sales pages. One thing in
particular to look out for is response times, as genuine customers will tend to
be very complimentary about how quick someone got to them when they broke down,
or else very annoyed at how long they were left waiting.
Obviously a fast response is something we all want from a
breakdown service, so a straw poll of user reviews can be very helpful in
picking out the quickest service.
Save yourself some money
Finally, back to your pocket. There are some good tips for
clawing back a bit of value from your breakdown cover aside from trawling
through online comparison sites and choosing a lower level of cover.
For one, many providers will offer discounts for paying a
full year in advance rather than monthly, so if you have the ready cash this is
a good option. It is also worthwhile comparing the price of standalone
breakdown services and add-ons to your existing car insurance. Your normal
insurance provider may surprise you with a great value add-on offer to your
standard policy, but beware - it is not unknown for these add-ons to be more
expensive than standalone deals sold by the same company!
Whatever you do, check out all pricing options thoroughly
before you commit.
*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.