Breaking down at the side of the road is never convenient but having breakdown cover can mean it’s a lot less stressful. The good news is that you can add breakdown insurance to your car insurance package or you can buy it as a standalone policy. To help you decide whether it’s right for you, here are the benefits along with tips on how to get cheap car insurance.

Peace of mind

One of the greatest benefits of breakdown cover is peace of mind and knowing that help is at hand when you need it the most.

When you search for insurance, you’ll be able to choose a policy that covers different events, for example:

  • Roadside breakdown and recovery — if your car breaks down on your travels, your insurer will arrange for help to come to you. If your car can’t be fixed at the roadside, it’ll be taken to the nearest garage.
  • Home start — if you’re at home and your car won’t start, your insurer will send someone to resolve the problem.
  • National recovery — if your car can’t be repaired by the roadside, your insurer will have it towed to a garage of your choice for your convenience.
  • Onward travel — instead of making your own arrangements, your insurer will make sure you continue your journey using alternative means (typically a courtesy car or taxi).
  • European breakdown cover — provides help if you break down in Europe (always double check the country you’re visiting is listed on your policy).


Breakdown cover isn’t just a safety net that can put your mind at rest, it’s convenient too. If you didn’t have breakdown insurance, the alternatives are:

  • Contact a local garage — if your car won’t start at home, it’s easy enough to call your local garage and arrange for someone to come and help. But if you break down at the side of the road somewhere unfamiliar (or with poor phone reception) it can be much trickier to know who to call.
  • Use the emergency telephones — if you break down on the motorway, you can use the emergency phones which are positioned one mile apart along the hard shoulder. These connect directly to the Highways Agency or the police.
  • Buy immediate breakdown cover — you can buy breakdown insurance there and then which means your new insurer will make all the arrangements on your behalf. This might be the easiest option but it can also work out far more expensive compared to having a policy already.

Policies offer good value for money

Policies will vary in price depending on the features you choose. However, you can expect to pay around £60  for breakdown, recovery, home start, and onward travel. If you only want breakdown and recovery services, you can find even cheaper policies (some as low as £25).

Compared to the cost and hassle of finding a local garage to help you, or tow your car away, this represents excellent value for money.

You can add additional named drivers

If you’ve got more than one car in the family, you can opt for a multi-car policy. This will ensure all family members enjoy the convenience and peace of mind of breakdown cover. As an added bonus, some insurers will also discount each additional car you add.

Some policies will also cover one car with multiple named drivers so no matter who’s driving the family car, you can be confident help is available.

How to get cheap breakdown and car insurance

With day-to-day costs rising, it can be tempting to cut back on ‘nice to haves’ like breakdown cover. But while that might save you a few quid right now, you’ll be left footing the bill if you need to pay for roadside help, towing costs and onward travel.

To make sure you don’t have to compromise on essentials like your car insurance, including options like breakdown cover, here are some top tips to keep costs down:

  • Pay for your policy in one go to avoid interest fees.
  • Only buy the cover you need, so if you never drive in Europe, don’t buy EU cover.
  • Keep your car as secure as you can, ideally in a locked garage but if not, you can also invest in an approved security device like an immobiliser.
  • Don’t modify your car for cosmetic or performance reasons as this can increase what you pay.
  • Be accurate with the number of miles you cover as overestimating can push up your premium.

Of course, the best way to ensure you get the very best value for money is to shop around and compare a wide range of insurers, using a comparison site like