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JT Hughes

Breakdown Cover: Everything you should know but don't!

Breakdown Cover types

We all know that feeling. You're driving along and suddenly your car breaks down. What do you do? If you have breakdown cover, you can call for help and get your car fixed or towed to a nearby garage. But what are the different types of breakdown cover? And which one is right for you? 

Here's a guide to the 5 key types of breakdown cover.

  • Roadside Assistance Breakdown Cover
  • National Recovery Breakdown Cover
  • Home Start Breakdown Cover
  • Onward Travel Breakdown Cover
  • European Breakdown Cover

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance, also known as" roadside recovery," is a service that provides help to motorists who have broken down or had an accident. The most common roadside assistance services include tow trucks, flatbed trucks, and jump-starts. Roadside assistance services are typically provided by insurance companies, but there are also independent roadside assistance providers. Roadside assistance services can be very helpful if you have a breakdown or accident. However, it is important to remember that roadside assistance is not free. You will typically have to pay a monthly fee for the service, and you may also have to pay for any repairs or tows that are required. Nonetheless, roadside assistance can be a valuable service to have if you are ever in need of it.

Pros & Cons for roadside assistance.


  • Cheap in comparison to other policies.
  • Breakdown outside your home, you're covered.
  • If your car is fixable at the scene, you can continue.
  • No expensive call-out fees to get assistance.


  • Only taken to a garage close to where you broke down
  • If you break down at home, usually not covered. 
  • No cover for alternative transport or emergency accommodation.

National Recovery Breakdown Cover

If you're a frequent traveller across the United Kingdom's highways and byways, you might find National recovery breakdown cover to be an invaluable breakdown service. Anywhere in the UK, if your car breaks down, a vehicle technician will come to your aid and try to fix it while you wait. 

If your car breaks down and can't be fixed on the spot, you'll want to have breakdown cover that includes National Recovery so you can be towed to wherever you need to go in the UK for repair.

To lessen the inconvenience to your journey, you can have your car towed to a repair shop and location of your choosing, be it your home or another location.

Pros & Cons for National Recovery Breakdown Cover 


  • You're covered for long-distance journeys. 
  • Worth it if you regularly drive long distances.
  • Cheaper than paying to tow to a destination.


  • Expensive if you only drive locally
  • No cover for emergency accommodation / alternative transport while your car is being fixed

Home Start Breakdown Cover

On cold, wet, and icy winter mornings, your car is just as likely to not start at home as it is to break down on the road. This is because a car that has been sitting in the driveway all night has a higher chance of having battery problems or other issues. As your car gets older and has more miles on it, this problem will only get worse.

Home Start, also known as "at-home" coverage, means that if your car breaks down at home or within a certain distance of your home (the maximum distance varies from policy to policy), your insurance company will send an engineer to try to get your car going again. If you can't start your car, most Home Start policies will pay to have it towed to a nearby garage if you can't.

Most basic policies have the option to add Home Start as an extra, since many Roadside Assistance or National Recovery policies don't cover breakdowns that happen within a certain distance of your home.

Pros & Cons for Home-Start Breakdown cover 


  • No call-out fees for home breakdowns
  • Gets you back on the road quickly. 
  • Unlike roadside assistance, you're covered for home breakdowns


  • Not worth it if you live close to a garage.
  • Newer cars are unlikely to breakdown at home

Onward Travel Breakdown Cover

Each policy is different, but Onward Travel breakdown includes the cost of a rental car or public transportation, as well as overnight lodging. So, even if your car breaks down far from your destination, you can still get there without incurring any additional costs.

Pros & Cons for Onward Breakdown Cover


  • You can continue to your destination if you break down. 
  • Lodging is paid for while your car is being fixed.
  • You will still get to important meetings. 


  • Not worth it if you don’t regularly travel long distances
  • It's not cheap. 

European Breakdown Cover

If you're planning a trip to Europe, then you'll need to make sure you're properly covered with European Breakdown Cover. This is the only form of breakdown cover tailored specifically for travel in Europe, so you can rest assured knowing that you're covered in case of an emergency.

Flexible and affordable, European Breakdown Cover can be tailored to match your individual needs. If you're only going to be in Europe for a short trip, then a single trip policy may be all you need. But if you travel to Europe regularly on business, then an annual policy might be a better option. Either way, you'll be covered for all eventualities.

Most European Breakdown Cover policies include provisions for hotel accommodation or a hire car in case of a breakdown, which is essential when you're away from home. And if you run into any trouble with language barriers, some providers even offer access to English-speaking assistance.  

Pros & Cons For European Breakdown Cover 


  • Great for one-off or regular trips to Europe
  • Peace of mind when breaking down abroad
  • Call-out fees are expensive. 


  • Not worth it if you don't drive in Europe. 
  • Much more expensive than UK cover.

Optional extras to consider when buying breakdown cover.

Additional policies, beyond breakdown cover, are typically available from most service providers. Some examples of these kinds of add-ons are:

  • Key replacement
  • Tyre replacement
  • Misfuel cover
  • Battery replacement
  • Parts and labour

Breakdown cover can seem like a bit of a riddle at times, it’s important to understand the different types available and what each one offers. This will help you choose the right policy for your needs.

Jon Olsen 10 months ago
This is a comprehensive overview of the different types of breakdown cover available. I appreciate that you highlighted the pros and cons of each type, as well as the extras one can add on. My tip for readers would be to make sure they don't just purchase the cheapest option, as it may not have the coverage that their particular needs require. Shop around, compare different policies, and determine the coverage that suits your car and your lifestyle best.
Tecnova Global More than one year ago
Thanks for sharing this information with us.
Robin Grimmett More than one year ago
So what does Hyundai cover include in the 5 year guarantee and afterwards with your reduced service charges
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