Flood-hit motorists facing extra breakdown fees

Motorists hit with charges for flood rescuePic: AFP/Getty

Thousands of British motorists are being forced to pay a fee to breakdown firms after becoming stuck in flood water.

According to the AA, some 1,600 drivers have been rescued in just ten days after their cars broke down on flooded roads, and many have found their breakdown policy won't cover them for the event.

Exclusions in many breakdown cover policies mean some firms will not rescue vehicles stranded in the floods, while others are charging motorists a £150 on-the-spot fee.

Meanwhile some drivers have been forced to recover the cash spent on the rescue from their insurer, losing their no-claims bonus or facing a steep increase in their premium.

The reason for the policy exclusion is that most firms class engine failure caused by driving into flood water as an accident rather than a breakdown. And with the AA claiming that almost three-quarters of cars stranded in the floods will be written off, the consequences for drivers can be serious.

According to the Daily Mail, the RAC, for instance, charges customers a £156 call-out fee, plus £1.68 per mile to recover vehicles that cannot be fixed with a roadside repair, and such charges usually need to be paid there and then. The AA may also charge, though it depends on the circumstances of the breakdown.

Green Flat, on the other hand, claims to be the only major breakdown service that will not charge customers for a flood-related rescue.

Scott Kelly, head of motor at GoCompare, told the Mail: "Drivers need to be aware that the cover available from the breakdown companies varies considerably, so if you live in a flood-risk area, it is sensible to check your car and breakdown policy so that you know exactly what protection you have.

"If you are unlucky enough to encounter flood water, don't automatically assume your breakdown company will rescue you for free."

Have you been forced to pay fees for getting stranded in the recent floods? Leave your comments below...