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Information written by Rhiannon Philps Last updated on 19 April 2022.

What are the different types of multi-car breakdown cover products?

There isn’t one single type of multi-car breakdown cover. Providers offer different policies to cater for different circumstances, which can help drivers find cover to suit their particular situation.

Multi-car breakdown cover is simply a policy that can cover more than one car. It is often a vehicle-based policy, so anyone who drives a car named on the policy will be covered.

Family breakdown cover is slightly different from multi-car as it is typically a personal-based policy. This means that you can cover more than one person on a single policy, and the named individuals will be covered in whatever car they are driving or are a passenger in.

Some providers will also offer joint breakdown cover that can cover two people under one policy.

Most multi-car policies will work by paying a premium for cover for the year. Some will allow you to pay monthly if you prefer.

Who might benefit from multi-car or family breakdown cover?

Multi-car and family breakdown policies can cater for a range of situations. For example, a multi-car policy may be able to help you if:

  • Your family has two or more cars at the same address.
  • You live in a shared house with other drivers.
  • You want to cover all the drivers in your household, including a family member temporarily living away, if they’re at university for example.

If you want to cover other vehicles, like motorbikes or vans, as well as cars under one single policy, some providers will allow you to do this.

What’s included in multi-car breakdown cover?

There are different levels of cover to choose from when you take out a multi-car policy. Details will vary between individual providers, but essentially the levels of protection available are:

  • Roadside assistance is the minimum level of cover your policy will give you. You will be able to call for immediate roadside assistance where a mechanic will try to repair your car. If they can’t fix it, they will tow you to a nearby garage.
  • Home start could be included in a policy or may be available as an add-on. This simply means that you are covered if you break down at home, or close to home. Many standard policies without “home start” will only cover you if you break down a certain distance from your house.
  • National recovery is similar to roadside assistance but, instead of towing you to the nearest approved garage, you can choose to go to a destination of your choice, including your home.
  • Onward travel is the level of cover that offers the most protection. If you break down, this policy will allow you to get towed to a destination of your choice and, if your car will be out of action for a while, will cover the cost of alternative transport and accommodation.

» MORE: Learn about the different levels of breakdown cover

What optional extras are available?

You may be able to add some additional features to your multi-car breakdown cover, although this will differ between providers. Some common optional extras include:

  • Misfuel cover
  • Key cover
  • Spare parts and labour cover
  • Battery replacement
  • Tyre replacement

What exclusions should I be aware of?

Multi-car breakdown cover will come with some exclusions, just like individual policies. For example, your policy may not cover you if:

  • You call for help multiple times for the same issue e.g., a faulty battery.
  • You exceed the maximum number of call-outs.
  • Your problem isn’t an emergency and you can still drive your car.
  • You haven’t properly maintained or serviced your car or kept it in good condition.
  • You use your car for business, or for any other excluded activity.
  • Some policies will require all cars/drivers to be at the same address.

Check your policy documents to find out exactly what is and isn’t included in your cover.

How much does multi-car breakdown cover cost?

The cost of a multi-car breakdown policy will differ between providers and will depend on whether you want a vehicle or personal policy and which level of cover you choose.

Multi-car policies that simply cover a number of vehicles could be cheaper than a family policy that may cover a combination of cars and drivers. The more vehicles or people you cover, and the more comprehensive your policy is, the more it is likely to cost you.

Can I save money getting a multi-car policy?

If it’s a choice between taking out a multi-car policy or two separate breakdown policies, then the multi-car cover is likely to be cheaper.

Vehicle-based multi-car policies that cover specific vehicles will normally be cheaper than personal-based policies that cover specific drivers.

However, it won’t always make sense to take out a multi-car policy even if you have two cars. For example, if you only need a policy that will cover you when you use different cars, it may be cheaper to buy personal breakdown cover instead of a multi-car policy. Similarly, if you and your family share one car, it would be cheaper to buy vehicle breakdown cover rather than a family policy.

» MORE: Tips on saving money on breakdown cover

Multi Car Breakdown Cover FAQs

What is the difference between family and multi-car breakdown cover?

The exact definition of multi-car and family breakdown policies may differ slightly between providers. However, as a rule, multi-car policies apply to vehicles while family policies will often apply to a combination of vehicles and drivers.

What types of breakdown cover should I consider if I have two cars?

The type of breakdown cover you should go for if you have two cars will depend on who else drives the cars. If you are the only person who drives the cars, then it may be cheaper to take out personal breakdown cover so you are protected whatever car you drive in. However, if a partner or another member of your household also regularly drives the cars, then multi-car breakdown cover may make more sense.

Does it cost more to cover two or more cars with breakdown cover?

A multi-car policy that covers two or more cars will cost more than a single breakdown policy. However, it will be cheaper to cover multiple cars with one multi-car policy, rather than buying separate policies for each vehicle.

How many cars or drivers can I cover?

This will depend on the policy. Some will allow you to cover up to five drivers or cars, while others may only cover two or three. In many cases, you will be able to say how many cars or drivers you want to cover, so you don’t pay for more cover than you need.

Can I add cars or drivers to my policy?

Yes, if you already have a breakdown policy, you may be able to add extra cars or drivers by contacting your provider and paying an additional fee.

How many times can I claim on my breakdown cover?

The number of times you can make a claim on your multi-car or family breakdown cover will depend on the terms of each individual provider. Some policies may set a limit of five callouts in a year, while others may offer unlimited callouts. But, however many callouts they allow overall, providers will set a limit on the number of times you can make a claim for the same issue.

Do I have to pay an excess?

With most breakdown policies you don’t need to pay an excess. However, some providers will allow you to add an excess to your cover that you would pay whenever you make a claim.

About the author:

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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1 product found
  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Multi-Car Cover

    • Available
      • Roadside Assistance
      • National Recovery
      • Home Start
      • European Cover
    • Personal
      Price (From)
    • Multiple Vehicle
      Cover (From)
      Option unavailable

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