Breakdown Cover

Breakdown Cover is a must for Motorists

Most motorists in the UK are quite familiar with vehicles breaking down on the road. Not only is this a source of aggravation and embarrassment, it can also be a rather costly expense. That is why availing of breakdown cover is a very important consideration for vehicle owners. From a small mini to the widest trucks and everything else in between, having breakdown cover is a must for all motorists.

The Origins of Breakdown Cover

From the time of the earliest motorised cars, people have endured mechanical failures on the road. Getting mechanics to fix the problem required either pushing the car over great distances or waiting for someone to pass by who will help or get help – both instances would certainly end up in too much time lost. After a while, motoring associations provided the forerunner to breakdown cover offered as roadside assistance services to their members. Eventually, insurance firms took on the load of offering what we know now as breakdown cover policies.

During the earlier stages of the service, emergency roadside assistance consisted exclusively of patrolling motorbikes. This strategy proved rather costly overtime. To minimise the expense, emergency phone boxes were installed at intervals along the roadside. Today, mobile phones have almost entirely replaced the network of emergency phone installations with vans and breakdown lorries, otherwise known as tow trucks, responding to the call within minutes. The associated costs for these services are now all within the context of the breakdown cover.

The Need for Breakdown Cover

Even the most well-maintained car will at some point stall or require emergency roadside assistance for a number of reasons – hence the need for breakdown cover. Whilst many vehicle owners may have some knowledge of basic troubleshooting for their particular car make and model, not all motorists are successful at reviving a vehicle from a serious breakdown. Furthermore, exacerbating circumstances such as being stranded in foul weather clearly justifies the option to have breakdown cover.

Note however that breakdown cover is not mandatory when purchasing a vehicle. In the UK as well as in most countries, the basic minimum vehicle insurance requirement is only third party insurance. Be that as it may, getting a breakdown cover from your local automobile association, car manufacturer or dealer or from a vehicle insurance provider will certainly add to a motorist’s peace of mind.

Situations Insured in Breakdown Cover

There are many reasons why a vehicle might stop dead in transit or fail to respond as they were designed whilst on the road. Such breakdowns may be classified as total or partial breakdowns for purposes of rationalising the necessity for towing a vehicle in accordance with a breakdown cover policy. Total breakdowns means that the vehicle have ceased operating entirely and must therefore be hauled by a suitable breakdown lorry. On the other hand, vehicles that have a partial breakdown may still be driven to a nearby service garage or else be repaired to full functionality on the spot.

A typical breakdown cover policy will include vehicle breakdowns from both categories. Of course, as a marketing strategy, many breakdown cover providers will also incorporate additional services external to the customer’s broken down vehicle. The following items below are just some of the common inclusions with popular breakdown cover firms.

  • Roadside Repair – This is the bare standard of service provided with most breakdown cover policy. The objective of roadside assistance is to get the vehicle back and running on the road. This includes replacement of flat tires, jump starting or replacement of dead batteries, providing a limited amount of fuel when the vehicle runs out, assistance to free a vehicle that is trapped; for example in snow or in a steep ditch, spark plug replacement, helping with an overheated engine, and similar other services.
  • Vehicle Recovery – This service refers to towing ones vehicle to an applicable repair garage or to the vehicle owner’s home. The use of towing services is usually the most expensive consideration in a breakdown and is understandably the most sought after service included in a breakdown cover policy. The lorries used in towing a vehicle are sometimes also called “wreckers”.
  • Relay or Alternative Transport The major breakdown cover providers offer relay or alternative transportation allowing assistance to vehicle owners to get to their desired destination. This may come in the form of a chartered service, a replacement car or a cash amount for public transport. In some cases, the service may also include the cost of overnight accommodations.

Other services that many breakdown cover providers offer to their customers include assistance in opening a locked-in car and free periodic vehicle check. For an additional premium, some also provide coverage for the cost of standard repairs.

The cost of breakdown cover is quite cheap compared to commercial towing and vehicle repair services. This makes availing of breakdown cover the practical choice for today’s motorists.