How to buy breakdown cover for multiple people or vehicles

Joint, family or multi-vehicle breakdown cover can save you money if you want to cover more than one car or driver. There are different kinds of policies depending on who and what you want to cover, which you can read more about in our guide.

Jim Kersey, Rhiannon Philps Published on 09 September 2019. Last updated on 09 September 2020.
How to buy breakdown cover for multiple people or vehicles

Breakdown cover can be a lifesaver if your car won’t start or if it stops working on a long journey.

However, with many of us owning more than one car and living with at least one other driver, taking out individual policies can be confusing and more expensive than necessary.

Instead, there are breakdown policies that can cover multiple people and/or vehicles. These can be a simpler and more cost-effective way to ensure that everyone who needs cover has it, but you may be uncertain which policy is best for you.

There are both personal or vehicle-based breakdown policies for multiple cars and drivers. In this guide we explain the differences between joint, family and multi-car policies to help you understand which one may be most suitable for your situation.

What is joint breakdown cover?

Joint breakdown cover can be beneficial if you live with another driver and share two or more cars. By choosing a joint policy, both drivers can often save money on one combined policy, instead of paying for two separate policies.

These policies tend to be set up as personal cover, so both drivers will be covered whatever car they’re in, whether they’re the driver or passenger.

When might it be cheaper to purchase a joint policy?

For two people sharing a car, it may be cheaper to just buy a single vehicle-based policy to cover the vehicle regardless of who is driving.

However, if you both want cover for other vehicles too, then a joint personal-based policy could be the cheapest option.

» COMPARE: Joint breakdown cover

What is family breakdown cover?

Family policies are essentially multiple personal-based breakdown policies bundled together. They allow you to cover multiple drivers in one household under one breakdown policy, so everyone named on the policy is covered both as a driver and passenger, whatever car they’re in.

Family breakdown cover can often work out cheaper than taking out two or more individual policies, so it is a good option for families who live together and share vehicles.

But keep in mind that prices vary between providers, so a family policy is not guaranteed to be less expensive than buying separate policies – it’s always worth checking the details before you take out a particular policy.

You can often name up to five family members on your family breakdown cover, although the exact number will vary between providers

Parents can normally include learner drivers in their family policies, as well as students temporarily living away at university, making this a suitable choice for a family with older teenage children near driving age, for example.

Do you need to be blood relatives to benefit from a family breakdown cover?

No, provided you live together, you can usually enjoy the use of a family policy. Family policies can also be suitable for groups of friends in a flat share.

» COMPARE: Family breakdown cover

What is multi-vehicle breakdown cover?

Households with multiple cars could benefit from adding them all to one multi-car breakdown policy.

Multi-car breakdown policies differ from joint and family policies as multi-car cover is vehicle-based. So, because the cover applies to specific vehicles rather than specific drivers, anyone driving a car named on the policy will be covered.

With multi-car policies, families and shared households can add any vehicles registered at the same address to a single policy. Having just one policy for multiple vehicles can remove the hassle of signing up to more than one different policy and can work out cheaper than taking out separate policies.

You may be able to add up to five vehicles to your multi-car policy, although this varies between providers.

» COMPARE: Multi-car breakdown cover

Choosing the right cover for you

If you decide that breakdown cover is worth getting and you’re looking to cover multiple cars and/or people, as well as choosing a multi-car, family or joint policy, there are some other things to consider as well.

One decision you have to make is what level of cover to select. Depending on how much protection you want and how much you want to spend, you can choose from the basic Roadside Assistance or the more comprehensive Home Start and Onward Travel.

To help you decide which level of cover you need, you can read more on the different types of breakdown cover.

Once you have an idea of what cover would best meet your needs, you’ll be ready to compare the policies offered by different providers.

» COMPARE: Breakdown cover

Source: Getty Images

About the authors:

Jim brings together unique data insights, contextual knowledge and thought provoking themes, to shed new light on important issues affecting both UK businesses and individuals. Read more

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

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