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What is breakdown cover and do I need it when I finance a car?

Breakdown cover is an essential part of any motorists life, giving peace of mind and assistance in those rare occasions when something goes wrong with your car.

Whether you’re paying annually or monthly, covering a classic car or new lease vehicle, it can help you in a number of ways if worst comes to the worst. 

Below we’ll go through some frequently asked questions so you can decide which level of cover is right for you.

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover is a form of insurance which, well, covers your vehicle if it breaks down. Sounds simple right?

So whether your car has a flat battery, you’ve blown out a tyre, or there’s a fault with the engine, you won’t be left stranded or unable to get to your destination.

And if the issue with your vehicle can’t be fixed at the roadside, the recovery service will tow you to a local garage, back home or anywhere else you’d like for it to be fixed.

You can opt for two forms of breakdown cover – personal or vehicle – which offers various perks. Personal will cover a named person, meaning any vehicle that person is driving or is a passenger in will qualify as part of their breakdown cover.

Vehicle cover simply applies to the specific make or model you have so if anyone is driving the car it is still covered in the event of a breakdown.

What is included with breakdown cover?

The most basic cover will involve roadside assistance. This will see a mobile mechanic come to you if you’ve broken down to attempt to fix the issue. If the fault can’t be fixed he will then tow you within a set mileage radius to either your home or a garage. If you have National Recovery cover then it will let you be towed anywhere in the UK.

Additional levels of cover will be offered which might include Home Recovery which will offer assistance if you’ve got a flat battery or you’ve broken down at or near your home. Onward Travel will help you continue your journey and may also include the use of a courtesy car or overnight hotel accommodation.

No matter what level of breakdown cover you have, all providers will offer an emergency helpline and assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What extras are offered with breakdown cover?

Some providers will offer various extras to compliment breakdown cover for an additional cost.

This could include tyre replacement cover if you get a puncture, key replacement if your car keys are lost or stolen, and wrong fuel cover for if you accidentally put diesel in your petrol car.

How much is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover is usually offered when you renew or take out car insurance on a new vehicle, with prices varying depending on who you choose to insure with.

If needed, it can also be bought as an individual policy from the likes of the AA and the RAC, but this can be more costly than rolling it in.

Furthermore, if you are leasing a car and take out a maintenance package then breakdown will usually be included as standard.

Is breakdown cover worth it?

How much is peace of mind worth to you? While it might seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if you’re trying to budget, breakdown cover is one of those things that you don’t need until you really need it… and then what other options are available to you? 

For example, if you break down on the motorway and don’t have any cover in place then Highways England can charge you anywhere from £150-300 for motorway recovery under statutory removal powers. Compare that to paying anywhere as low as £30 per year for basic roadside assistance and all of a sudden it seems worth it.

How do I get breakdown cover?

There are plenty of companies out there vying for your business with all kinds of deals, discounts and incentives to entice you.

This guide from MoneySavingExpert reveals the best ways to cut your cover costs, including for AA and RAC policies, plus other tips to really drive the savings.

Failing that, you can try a price comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket to compare breakdown polies from several well known insurance brands such as AXA and Green Flag.

Can you cancel breakdown cover?

You can cancel your policy, however there might be various terms and conditions involved. 

For example, Green Flag will refund the unused period of your cover minus an admin fee as long as you’ve not called them out. Generally, if you have agreed to a policy term, or you are paying for cover monthly, you will likely have to pay a cancellation charge. 

Representative Example of Credit

We expect more than 51% of our customers to achieve this rate.

Loan Amount Total Cost of Credit Representative APR 60 Monthly Payments Deposit Amount Loan Term Total Amount Payable
£7,500 £3831 19.1% APR £188.85 £0 60 Months £11,331

All offers are subject to change at any time, you must be 18 or over and finance is subject to status, vehicle availability and terms and conditions apply. We can introduce you to a limited number of finance companies, a commission may be received. Failure to maintain payments may result in termination of your agreement and the vehicle being returned, this could affect your credit rating and make it more difficult to obtain credit in the future. All prices correct at time of publication.

We purchase a wide variety of vehicles from all over the country to ensure the best quality and value for our customers, all of our cars go through a thorough inspection process and if they do not meet our standards we do not sell them. We endeavour to inform our customers (where possible) the provenance of the vehicle they are buying and as such we will always inform you if the vehicle has previously been either an ex fleet or hire car. Should your vehicle be an ex hire/fleet car please do not be concerned as we would never value this vehicle differently when you come to part exchange it and there is no difference to the CAP valuation either.

You should try and estimate the distance you will travel as accurately as possible to try and avoid excess mileage charges at the end of your contract.

All pictures and/or photos and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily the vehicle on offer. All offers are subject to change at any time and are subject to finance approval and vehicle availability. All prices correct at time of publication. E & OE.

Hippo Vehicle Solutions t/a Hippo Motor Finance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FRN 658076. We are a Credit Broker not a Lender and can introduce you to a limited number of lenders. Subject to status and to UK residents only (excl. the Channel Islands). Individuals must be 18 or over. Guarantees and indemnities may be required. We typically receive a fixed commission calculated by reference to the vehicle model, product or amount you borrow, for introducing you to a lender but this does not affect the interest charged on the agreement, all of which are set by the lender. Images for illustrative purposes only. Hippo Vehicle Solutions t/a Hippo Motor Finance is an Appointed Representative of AutoProtect (MBI) Limited for insurance distribution purposes. AutoProtect (MBI) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Its firm reference number is 312143. You can check this at

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