Breakdown Insurance


 Breakdown Insurance

There are several different types of insurance that a person can purchase to protect themselves in the event their car, boat, or other vehicle malfunctions. One type of insurance is breakdown insurance. This particular type of policy will reimburse an individual for expenses incurred if their car breaks down and prevents them from continuing on with their journey.

A breakdown protection plan can only be purchased with the purchase of a new vehicle or before the original manufacturer's warranty expires. The cost for this kind of coverage varies depending on the age and make/model of your automotive property but generally is in the range between ten and twenty-five dollars per month. The average price for breakdown insurance is between $11 and $26.

This type of policy should not be confused with a roadside assistance plan, which is only used in case of an automobile accident or other roadside emergency, such as a dead battery.

There are several things to be aware of with breakdown insurance:

Breakdown insurance can provide coverage against the following risks:

These are the most commonly claimed benefits under the policy. 

A vehicle breakdown occurs when:

Claims under a typical Vehicle Breakdown Policy may be made by telephone, letter, fax or on-line depending on the terms and conditions of the individual policy.

When a breakdown occurs, the insured may contact their insurer via one of these methods:

If the insured finds that the vehicle's registration number is blocked, they should call their insurer immediately. To call their insurer, they should refer to the telephone directory and find the nearest name and address of their company or agent. 

Insurers will usually send a representative to check out the breakdown within 24 hours of receiving notification from the insured. However, this depends on whether or not a breakdown occurs during normal working hours (usually 8am to 5pm Monday-Friday). Failure to notice a breakdown can give rise to liability issues given that businesses are open during normal working hours.

Breakdown insurance is not a comprehensive policy and covers only a breakdown that prevents the use of a vehicle. It does not cover accidents or other natural disasters. 

Breaking the mould is a term used to describe the action of making use of the fewest possible number of resources in order to create something unique. Breakdown insurance companies are able to cut down on this type of cost by covering vehicles on their insurance policies when their car breaks down. The term also refers to a company not adhering to the latest trends and instead sticking with what they have in order to gain an advantage over other companies and maintain market position.

Breakdown insurance is provided to vehicles that have been provided with breakdown cover. It is offered as a form of non-income protection against the financial costs of breakdowns. Breakdown cover is usually purchased by businesses and individuals with the intention of keeping their cars running and ensuring that they can carry on with their regular journeys or businesses without any issues.

The provision of breakdown insurance at no additional cost to a car's basic insurance policy allows people to have assurance that, should anything go wrong, they will be reimbursed for costs associated with a car breaking down.

The provision of breakdown cover is usually subject to the driver having a clean records for a period of 2 years. This can, however, vary depending on the individual policy and different insurers. Additionally, the driver must be over 21 years of age and hold a full UK driving license. In addition to this, it is recommended that they do not have access to another vehicle that they can use for travel if their own breaks down.

Any risks of damage or loss are only covered up until the vehicle has reached its destination, at which point it becomes the responsibility of the driver. This means that, should the vehicle be stolen or damaged in any way other than breakdown, the passenger if it would become responsible for these costs.

If an insured vehicle is stolen whilst the driver is using this type of cover, they will be required to pay a sum of money to get their vehicle back.

Breakdown insurance is usually purchased alongside a policy for a specific vehicle as opposed to being purchased separately. This particular type of insurance scheme can only be acquired when signing up for a new car or before the expiry date of its original manufacturers' warranty.

The provision of vehicle breakdown cover becomes more available as the market demands it. As a result, vehicle breakdown cover is now available at a lesser cost to what it would normally be (compared to having breakdown cover as part of a car's policy).

It is often considered that vehicle breakdown covers are often not provided with the correct amount information about how much money will be needed for repairs or other expenses associated with a car breaking down. It is thought that this is because companies do not want consumers to know this information so that they do not buy the policy outright. This means that people having breakdown insurance cannot actually gauge whether or not they will need to budget for repair or other costs on their own.

Additionally, it is thought that companies are sometimes very slow in making payouts when claiming for a vehicle breakdown. This can mean that people are not able to get to work or even run their business as they were before and this can put a huge strain on their life.

Borrowing money from friends or family members to cover the costs of breakdown repairs instead of using a breakdown insurance policy can be problematic as well. A person receiving the loan may refuse to accept repayment if they feel it is too much or if they want the loan repaid by someone other than the person borrowing it from them, such as an insurance company. Once again, this means that the person borrowing money will be unable to use their vehicle in order to get around or run their business.

Car owners, or the driver of a car if they are covered under a policy, may not know what is covered by breakdown insurance and what is not. The fact that such claims can sometimes take weeks or months to pay out and that some companies charge for call outs contributes both to this problem and consumers' frustration when making a claim. In other cases, drivers may not understand how much they will have to pay in terms of medical claims when travelling with breakdown insurance versus if they had arranged for non-income protection separately.

There have been cases where customers have been charged for repairs that were not necessary and therefore, they were ultimately not covered. In these situations, the policyholder is unable to claim from their insurer if the repairs are unnecessary.

It is commonly understood that breakdown insurance companies do not cover drivers who are living abroad or 'on the road' when their car breaks down as they can use a local garage for any repairs. This means that drivers could be left stranded in a foreign country without cover if their vehicle breaks down. In these instances, it is believed that it would cost more to pay for a tow truck to bring them and their vehicle back to the UK than it would be worth spending on any necessary repair work done overseas.


Breakdown insurance can be an issue for some consumers as they may not know how much it will cost or how to claim on it. It is always recommended that people engaging with a breakdown company takes advice from their insurance advisor or other broken down vehicle experts before making any arrangements.

Written and produced by Paul Mahoney, Insurance Knowledge Hub content partner.

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