Cheap Breakdown Cover

Get breakdown cover from less than £16 a year

  • How much is breakdown cover?
  • Find cover from as little as £16
  • Compare breakdown cover prices

While you may never need breakdown cover, it's still a necessary and important thing for most car owners to have - even just as peace of mind.

But when buying breakdown cover, balancing the cost with the service is a key factor. Does more expensive mean a faster response time and more extras? Or is cheap breakdown cover just as good.

That's where we come in. As well as finding the cheapest breakdown cover and the best deals around, we also list the best breakdown providers, as rated by our readers. So you can find out how your potential breakdown provider actually performs when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Best rated breakdown companies 2024

Here we also compare similar cover across the main providers, so you can see at a glance the difference in price. Of course, not all breakdown cover is created equally, so as we always say, it's key to read the small print and make sure you understand what you are - and more importantly are not - covered for.

    

Best breakdown buys 2024

Provider

Cover

Annual cost

Is it any good?

AA* Roadside Assistance £85

 

You get 24/7 help by the roadside (over 1/4 mile from home) and if the AA can’t fix the vehicle they will tow you to a nearby garage. Not the cheapest, but the AA has the largest patrol fleet in the UK.

 

Emergency Assist Multi-car cover £53.92

   

Emergency Assist has been highly rated by our readers for several years now. This covers two cars and gives you roadside assistance, national recovery and home assist.

   

Green Flag Recovery Plus  £50.94 (average)

    

Roadside, home and national assistance is included, plus unlimited call-outs and free mis-fuelling protection. Prices vary depending on age of vehicle. 

   

LV= Britannia Rescue Roadside & Home Assist £66

The top rated breakdown company by our readers. This includes home start, roadside assistance and recovery to a local garage. Good value compared to the AA and RAC.

    

RAC* Roadside Recovery £126.50

   

There's a large network coverage of RAC patrols so, despite not being cheap, you shouldn't be left waiting. It's limted to five call outs a year but does include a free car health check. If they can’t fix your car, they will tow it anywhere in the UK. 

   

Start Rescue Three Star £36.40

    

Very comprehensive cover at a very affordable price. Coverage includes roadside assistance, nationwide cover and home assist along with key cover and misfuel cover.

    

Compare breakdown cover

We've compared prices for different levels of breakdown cover across a range of providers from household names like the RAC and AA to others you may not be so familiar with. We used a 2021 MINI Clubman for our quotes and looked at cover for the car, rather than an individual, as this is cheaper. 

Roadside assistance

Most basic policies will provide roadside assistance to fix your car or tow it either to your home or a reputable garage to be repaired at your expense. It doesn’t include offering help at your home address and there’s often a quarter mile exclusion clause to ensure you’ve not pushed the car to the end of the road.

How much does Roadside Assistance cost?

Car Breakdown Company Breakdown Cover Includes Annual Cost
The AA* Roadside assistance £85*
The RAC* Roadside assistance £77*
Green Flag Roadside assistance £39.20
Emergency Assist* Roadside assistance £15.60*
Start Rescue Roadside assistance £19.75
LV=Britannia Rescue Roadside assistance £33
MotorEasy* Roadside assistance £36.30*

 

Home start cover

This is in addition to basic cover, so the breakdown service will get your car going at your home address or take it to a garage.

How much does Homes Start cost?

Car Breakdown Company Breakdown Cover Includes Annual Cost
The AA* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £87.10*
The RAC* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £77*
Green Flag Roadside assistance and home start £46.10
Emergency Assist* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £26.96*
Start Rescue Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £36.40
LV=Britannia Rescue Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £66
MotorEasy* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £67.66*

 

National recovery

This is a more comprehensive cover that will aim to repair your car at the roadside or take it to a garage of your choice. They will also arrange to have you transported anywhere in the UK, so you don’t need worry about missing a holiday or getting your car home safely with no added expense. However, check the policy for any mileage limits.

How much does National Recovery cost?

Car Breakdown Company Breakdown Cover Includes Annual Cost
The AA* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £87.10*
The RAC* Roadside assistance, national recovery and home start £126.50*
Green Flag Roadside assistance, national recovery £50.94
Emergency Assist* Roadside assistance, national recovery £26.96*
Start Rescue Roadside assistance, national recovery £30.60
LV=Britannia Roadside assistance, national recovery £73
MotorEasy* Roadside assistance, national recovery £45.47*

 

Multi-car cover

If you have several cars in your household (and different drivers), multi-car cover - also known as family cover - will be cheaper than having separate cover for various vehicles. Several providers have switched to personal cover rather than multi-car cover, so we have quoted for that where applicable. If a second car was required we used a 2022 Skoda Karoq.

How much does Multi-Car cover cost?

Car Breakdown Company Breakdown Cover Includes Annual Cost
The AA* Personal cover for two people, home assist, roadside assistance + national recovery £160.80*
The RAC* Two cars, roadside assistance + national recovery £174.50*
Green Flag Two cars, roadside assistance, national recovery, home assist £74.41
Emergency Assist* Two cars, roadside assistance, national recovery, home assist £53.92*
Start Rescue Two cars, roadside assistance, national recovery, home assist £69.16
LV=Britannia Personal cover for two people with national recovery + home assist £150
MotorEasy* - N/A

 

European breakdown cover?

If you’re driving abroad on holiday or for business, a European breakdown policy is an essential. Not only will it cover the cost of repairs, most will pay to get you and your car home. The most comprehensive will also provide money so you can continue with your trip. Another important consideration is you’ll deal with English-speaking call centre staff who can take help with local language barriers, laws and currency rates.

You can get cover for a single trip or an annual policy, the latter is what we've used to compare quotes. Alternatively, you can add European cover to most policies for the duration of your trip. Make sure it will be in place when you travel as it can take up to three weeks for some providers to activate the cover.

How much does European Cover cost?

Car Breakdown Company Breakdown Cover Includes Annual Cost
The AA* Roadside assistance in 45 countries £156.40*
The RAC* Roadside assistance in 48 countries £145.16*
Green Flag Roadside assistance in 40 countries £80.01
Emergency Assist* Roadside assistance in 31 countries £65.64*
Start Rescue Roadside assistance in 43 countries £65.40
LV Britannia Roadside assistance in 45 countries £195
MotorEasy* Roadside assistance in 45 countries £102.36*

 

Breakdown cover: What do you need to know

As with any insurance policy, it pays to read the detail when buying breakdown cover. Make sure you know what’s included with any breakdown cover you buy and make sure you take copies with you when travelling abroad.

Never auto-renew

Automatic renewals are common with all types of insurance policy. That's because most companies hope you won't noticed your renewal price has crept up. At HonestJohn.co,uk, we always tell motorists to turn off the auto-renew on their policies. So when your breakdown cover is due for renewal, shop around and be prepared to haggle with the existing provider - money saved is time well spent.

Don't buy what you don't need

Know what you want. There are many different levels of breakdown cover, so decide what’s necessary for you and stick to it. Don’t add extras such as European cover if you only drive locally, but you might consider homestart, lost keys and mis-fuelling as useful extras.

Always try to haggle

Always haggle. Breakdown providers are among the most likely to reduce their prices if you haggle. Use online comparison websites to shop around and try phoning the most suitable for a better deal. Never be afraid to say 'no' to the initial price offered and move on to another company. Even if the price isn’t reduced, you may get extras included for free.

Is it personal or vehicle cover?

Vehicle-only cover is usually cheaper, but a personal policy means you can call for help regardless of what car you’re in as a driver or passenger. Be certain you know which type you have.

Are there unlimited call-outs?

Most policies have a maximum number of call-outs you can make in a 12-month period to avoid some drivers abusing the system. If you’re unlucky enough to need more than this, it will result in a higher premium in the following year.

What age and types of vehicle are covered?

If you drive an older car, breakdown providers will assume it’s less reliable than a newer vehicle and will charge more for a policy. You could also face higher costs for larger SUVs, pick-ups and motorhomes because the cost of recovery is higher.

What about caravans, trailers and classic cars

There are caravan-specific policies, but they don’t cover your car. It’s best to take out national recovery deal and state that you occasionally tow a caravan or trailer. For classic cars, there are dedicated policies available that recognise they need specialist care in the event of a fault and allow you to nominate the garage it gets taken to. On the plus side, older cars are much easier to fix at the roadside.

Off-road and on-track driving is different

If you drive on unmade roads or race tracks, normal breakdown assistance will not be able to reach your location. There are specialist policies for these types of driving, but they are expensive due the specialist equipment needed to attend to vehicles in these conditions.

Is mis-fuelling covered?

One of the most common causes of a call-out is putting the wrong fuel in your car. Most comprehensive policies will include this, but some might demand a separate payment for disposing of the waste fuel, so check your documents. Other regular reasons for calling the breakdown service are running out of fuel, lost keys and flat batteries. Depending on your policy and the provider, these problems could be sorted at no additional cost or could incur a charge.

What about tyres and punctures

Flat tyres are a frequent call-out and most companies now include this in basic cover, especially if the puncture happens on the motorway where safety is a prime consideration. Make sure you have the locking wheel nut with the car, otherwise is may be difficult for the recovery agent to replace the wheel.

Don't forget general maintenance

The onus is on you to keep your car in good condition. If the breakdown policy provider or recovery agent thinks you are using their services in place of proper maintenance, they might refuse assistance. You cannot replace routine servicing with breakdown cover. Also, if your car’s MoT or road tax has expired, the recovery team will reserve the right to take your car to a safe area and then leave you and the vehicle there.

Remember the dog...

Surprisingly, some recovery companies won’t help if you have pets or animals in the vehicle. So, check the policy before you buy it and, if necessary, insist pets are included in the deal at no added cost.

Breakdown cover FAQs

Do new cars need breakdown cover?

Almost all new cars include breakdown cover for the first 12 months of your ownership. This often extends across the whole of Europe, but read the documents before heading over the Channel and always inform your insurer and breakdown provider that you’re going abroad.

With breakdown cover available from around the £20 mark or lower with a range of providers and under £120 for full breakdown cover with The AA, there's no reason to to allow a breakdown cover promotion to affect your buying decision when it comes to a new car.

Am I covered or the car?

If you regularly drive more than one car, a personal breakdown policy is a good idea. It covers you for whatever car you’re driving and even if you’re a passenger.

However, it tends to be more expensive so for those who only drive their own vehicle, it’s better to stick with a car-specific deal. The RAC, for instance, will let you use your personal breakdown cover in any vehicle for a £10.50 payment*. 

Can I cover more than one car with a single policy?

Breakdown cover for multiple cars is very rare, so it’s better to have a personal policy that means you are looked after whatever car you’re in. Another option is to choose a joint policy where you and another driver, typically a spouse or family member, share the same cover for a single payment that’s often cheaper than two separate deals.

Adding another person costs much less than a seperate policy and means that they have the same level of cover as you in any vehicle they're in.

How do I make a complaint?

If you experience a problem with the service from a breakdown provider, you’re entitled to complain. In the first instance, you should call the breakdown service and ask them to resolve the issue. As well as the phone call, put the complaint in writing and send it by email and registered post to be certain that it’s been received.

Should that not get a result you think is fair, the next step is the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), but this must be done within eight weeks of making the complaint to the policy provider. The FOS will look at the case, the policy terms and conditions, and give a verdict. That decision is binding for the breakdown provider, but it’s only legally binding for you if you decide to accept the verdict.

Like all insurance policies, breakdown cover is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Any firm that does not mention this in its small print should be avoided.