The majority of Brits rely on their cars for getting around these days, and, unfortunately, there are times when our vehicles let us down. Breakdown cover is therefore on most driver's list of must-haves, but are you paying too much?
Here's how to get the best breakdown cover deal for your needs.
The first thing to consider if you're looking for a cheaper deal is how much cover you really need. If your car is used for leisure purposes and not for getting you to work in the morning, then basic cover is probably all you require and could save you a fair whack of cash. You'll get roadside assistance if you break down more than a mile from your home (although the distance does vary), and if your car can't be fixed there and then, you'll be towed to a local garage.
Those who need their car to make it to the office, or anyone who's vehicle has a nasty habit of failing to start (particularly in the winter), are well advised to opt for home start, which, though obviously more expensive, means they'll come to you even if you're stuck on the drive.
For drivers who travel longer distances, onward travel is a further option, and will generally give you a hire car for up to three days or cover the cost of public transport. There will be a limit on how much you can spend though, so do check the details.
And anyone that regularly takes their car abroad should add European cover, or at least upgrading from a cheaper policy if you're planning a trip.
If you're highly organised and don't mind putting in a little work, check out a pay and claim policy, where a local recovery firm comes out to your car, you pay for any repairs and send the receipts in to the provider to reclaim the cash. However, this option is not recommended if your car has a long history of breakdowns.
Stick or switch?
Just as many of us switch our car insurance from year to year, it's worth checking out the best offers when your breakdown cover comes up for renewal, and comparison websites are a great place to start.
Many insurance providers offer cheap breakdown cover if you buy it along with your insurance, and while this might end up being the cheapest deal, it's still worth looking into separate cover. If nothing else, it's worth mentioning the fabulous price your insurer has offered to your existing breakdown cover provider. Since it's all about customer retention, you'll be amazed how quickly they'll be able to knock a sizeable chunk off their renewal quote.
Grab a discount
Basic cover from giants like the AA and the RAC is relatively inexpensive at around £30 a year, but according to Money Saving Expert, you can drive even that cost down by checking out cashback websites. For example, Quidco is offering £21.21 off an AA policy if you buy through their site, giving you a year's cover for just £9. Topcashback is offering a similar discount on RAC cover. Both sites also offer bigger cashback sums on comprehensive cover so they're always worth checking out.
If you're a regular Tesco customer and have plenty of Clubcard points to spend, exchange them for vouchers and get up to four times their original value to use against RAC cover.
And another way of getting a cheaper quote is to agree a lower call-out limit. Most roadside assistance policies impose a limit on the number of times you can call for help, and if your car is ultra reliable or you're not using it on a daily basis, it could pay to negotiate a discount for a lower number. Similar discounts may be available if you have more than one vehicle covered with the same provider.
What are your top tips on getting a better breakdown cover deal? Leave your comments below...