The benefits of personal breakdown cover

What are the benefits of personal breakdown cover? Read on to help inform your choices when reviewing your motoring costs and decide if you want personal or vehicle breakdown cover.

Caroline Ramsey Published on 22 January 2019. Last updated on 20 January 2021.
The benefits of personal breakdown cover

Before deciding which level of breakdown cover you want you first need to make a more fundamental decision: do you want a personal-based policy or a vehicle-based policy?

Whichever one you go for we want to help you feel confident in your decision. Read on for a quick guide to help inform your choices and clarify the benefits of personal breakdown cover.

What is personal breakdown cover?

Personal breakdown cover is the term used to describe a breakdown cover policy that covers you as a named driver, as opposed to covering a named vehicle, or vehicles.

This means that whenever you break down, you will be able to call out a recovery engineer under your policy, regardless of what vehicle you are driving.

Some personal breakdown cover policies will even allow you to phone for assistance if you are just a passenger in a car that breaks down. Furthermore, in many instances you can include more than one person on a personal breakdown cover policy by adding multiple named drivers on your personal breakdown cover policy. This means that a number of drivers living in the same household can share a policy, rather than taking out individual policies. This could save you some money, not to mention the administrative time and effort.

Joint and group personal policies

If you live in a household with access to several cars, you might find that you drive different cars and would like to be covered no matter which car you jump in – this can be especially valuable if your usual car breaks down.

Perhaps you live as a couple sharing two cars or your adult children are living at home with their cars. Whatever the situation, there are many scenarios in which members of your family may have access to a number of cars. It can make more sense financially and logistically in such cases to take out a family personal breakdown cover policy, rather than a different vehicle breakdown policy for each car.

Personal breakdown cover vs vehicle breakdown cover

Personal breakdown cover, as explained earlier, covers you as an individual driver. This allows you to use your policy when you break down regardless of what car you are driving. Vehicle breakdown cover, on the other hand, covers the vehicle itself, which means that whoever is driving the vehicle can call for assistance under the policy.

Advantages of personal breakdown cover Advantages of vehicle breakdown cover
  • You can request assistance from your provider when you break down in any vehicle
  • You can often call for assistance even if you are just a passenger
  • You can often include several people on a single multi-person policy
  • You have the freedom to drive a hire cars, work cars, family or friends' cars and still be covered
  • Vehicle breakdown cover is usually significantly cheaper, especially if you are only covering one named car
  • Vehicle breakdown cover can be more appropriate for drivers who only drive one car
  • Vehicle breakdown cover can be better suited for people who share one vehicle

Checking the small print

Remember that there can be exceptions and exclusions to personal breakdown cover policies and it’s worth thinking about these before you confirm your policy. Among the exclusions to be aware of are things like the age and type of the vehicle you are driving.

Details will differ from policy to policy, so make sure you check before committing to a provider.

All we’re saying here is that it’s important to do your research before committing to a policy. It is also worth bearing in mind that when you call out for roadside assistance using your personal breakdown cover, you may need to show the engineer your ID to prove you are the policyholder.

If you have a personal breakdown cover policy and you also have a vehicle registered on your policy, that vehicle will sometimes be covered even if you are not driving when it breaks down. However, this is not always the case and the details will differ from policy to policy, so make sure you check before committing to a provider.

Finding the right personal breakdown cover for you

After you have selected to take out personal breakdown cover, you will be offered the chance to select the level of breakdown cover you require. The levels often start with a basic roadside assistance package, which can then be modified depending on your requirements as a driver. This will allow you to call a roadside assistance engineer who will come and try to get your car on the road again following a breakdown. You will then usually be recovered to a nearby garage for further repairs if this is not possible.

If you want to be able to call for recovery when your car won’t start at home, you can add home start to your cover. If you often drive around the UK and would like your policy to recover you, your passengers and your vehicle to a garage near your home, you could consider adding national recovery to your personal breakdown cover policy. Anyone who wants to be covered when they are driving a car in Europe can also add European single cover or annual cover to their policy.

About the author:

Well-established content creator who specialises in the personal finance industry. More than a decade of working in editorial teams, she offers highly tailored content covering a number of topics. Read more

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