How far does your breakdown cover go?

Breakdown cover is a popular way to ensure you’ll be rescued if your car lets you down on the road. It’s also become the preferred option to deal with a flat battery or cold engine at home. You can take out cover as a standalone policy, you might have it as an option through your bank account or you may have bought it as an add-on to your motor insurance.
Whoever your breakdown cover is with, have you checked recently whether it still provides all the protection you need?

Keeping your service record up to date and doing some simple vehicle checks every few weeks is best practice for ensuring your car is roadworthy and safe. You can prevent unnecessary worries on the road by topping up low oil and water levels, checking the tread and pressure of your tyres, replacing worn wiper blades and keeping your windows and lights clean, but the ultimate peace of mind is offered by breakdown cover.

In a survey conducted last September of 660 Saga Car Insurance customers, three-quarters of respondents reported feeling confident driving because of having breakdown assistance, with 54% of customers saying they’d had it for 20 years or more. And 77% reported using their breakdown assistance in the previous five years, so there’s little doubt the service comes in handy.

The two main features of breakdown assistance

The key cover features that the majority of our surveyed customers have in place are roadside and at-home assistance. Both are particularly reassuring during the winter months, when temperatures are low, adverse weather conditions are common and daylight hours are short.

With news of the government’s plan to ease us out of lockdown following a long period where many of us will have only used our vehicles for short and/or infrequent journeys, there may also be an increased need for home call-outs to get cars started. If you’ve got at-home cover with your current breakdown assistance provider, they’ll come to your address – or within a quarter of a mile of it – to deal with things like a flat battery. The mechanic will try to fix your vehicle where it is or take it to a garage for repair.

If you don’t have at-home cover, you can still get help from a breakdown service but this means buying cover in an emergency and it will cost you more. Data from Which? shows that the most you will pay on a call-out basis is £165 if you already have basic cover. However, if you don’t have any breakdown cover at all, arranging emergency assistance over the phone could cost you as much as £245.

Check what you’re covered for

There are many providers on the market and they don’t all offer cover levels in the same way, so it’s important you know how your particular policy protects you. If you have Saga Breakdown Assistance, you will be on one of our five levels of cover, three of which – Home Call, Comprehensive and Premier – include our ‘Repair at home’ service. This means you can call for help if your car has problems at home. However, if you have chosen our Essential or National Recovery, breakdowns are only covered when you are a quarter of a mile or more away from your home address. Go to our cover at a glance page to see what’s included and compare our cover levels.

Whether you have breakdown cover with us or another provider, it’s worth checking that it covers what you expect it to.

You can call us to change or upgrade your cover level, take out a new policy with us, or add it to your Saga Car Insurance policy, if you have one. Just call us on 0800 656 9915 Monday to Friday 8.30am-8pm or weekends 9am-5pm.

Saga's range of insurance products is designed specifically for our customers and is unique to us. Saga Essential, Home Call and National Recovery Breakdown Assistance is provided by RAC Motoring Services. Saga Comprehensive, Premier, Motorhome Assistance and Motorhome Assistance Plus Breakdown Assistance is provided by RAC Motoring Services and RAC Insurance Limited.

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