Compare Breakdown Cover for Older Cars

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  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Older Car Cover

    • No car age restrictions (personal-based cover).
    • Personal
      Price (From)
      £78.50
    • Vehicle
      Price (From)
      n/a
    • Available
      Options
      • Roadside Assistance
      • National Recovery
      • Home Start
      • Onward Travel
      • European Cover

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Information written by Rhiannon Philps Last updated on 10 August 2021.

How to get breakdown cover for older cars

The process of getting breakdown cover for an older vehicle will be the same as getting cover for any other car. However, you should make sure you look carefully at the terms of each policy to check your car is eligible for cover.

Unfortunately, even if you take great care of your older or classic car, their age means there is a greater risk that they will break down. Because of this, finding breakdown cover for an older car may not be as straightforward as getting cover for a newer car.

While some standard breakdown policies will cover vehicles of any age, including classic cars, others will only cover cars up to a certain age. Other providers may cover older cars, but place limits on what kind of policies and protection are available.

When you apply for a breakdown policy, the provider will ask for information about your car, including its age, which will help you to see what policies you are eligible for.

If you can’t find any standard breakdown policies that can cover your classic car, you may need to look at specialist classic car breakdown policies. These may be more expensive than standard cover, but it is still likely to be cheaper than calling for emergency help after you’ve broken down.

Are classic cars eligible for breakdown cover?

Classic cars and bikes are eligible for breakdown cover, although whether that’s from a standard breakdown policy or a specialist policy depends on the provider.

Some providers don’t set an age limit for their breakdown policies and are happy to cover classic cars, although there may be some restrictions to elements of the cover.

However, other providers won’t cover cars above a certain age. They may offer specialist classic car policies, or you may have to get cover from a different provider.

Aside from meeting the age requirements, classic cars will also need to meet any height and weight requirements set by the provider to be eligible.

What types of policies are there for older cars?

If you want to cover an older car, you have the choice of personal or vehicle cover.

Vehicle cover simply means that the car named on your policy has cover. So, you, and anyone else, will be covered when you drive that vehicle, but not when you’re in another car.

By contrast, a personal breakdown policy will cover the individual named on the policy. So, you would be covered whatever vehicle you use. This is useful if you have more than one car as it’s likely to be cheaper than buying cover for each vehicle separately.

However, bear in mind that some providers may only offer vehicle breakdown cover for older cars and may set age limits for vehicles that can be covered under a personal policy. So, before choosing a policy, make sure that all the cars you want to cover are eligible.

If you have more than one classic car, as well as any other vehicles, you may also be able to get multi-car breakdown cover so you can cover all your vehicles under one policy.

What level of cover can you get?

What you get from your breakdown cover will depend on the level of cover you choose and the provider. Exact details will vary, but some of the main features of breakdown cover are:

  • Roadside assistance is the foundation of all breakdown policies as it simply means a mechanic will come out to help you with your car in an emergency. They will try to fix your broken-down car and, if it needs further repairs, they will take you to a local garage.
  • Home start covers you if your car stops working at home or if it breaks down close to your home.
  • National recovery, sometimes called vehicle recovery, covers the cost of an emergency call-out and a tow. However, rather than a tow to the nearest garage, with this policy you can choose where you get towed to.
  • Onward travel is the most extensive level of cover available. It covers the cost of alternative transport and accommodation if your car will take some time to be repaired.

Other features such as misfuel cover and tyre cover, may be included in some policies, or they may be available as an optional extra that you can add to your policy.

» MORE: Main types of breakdown cover

Can you get European breakdown cover for older cars?

If you want to drive your older car or classic car abroad, then you can take out European breakdown cover. Having a European breakdown policy will help you to get roadside assistance quickly while you’re abroad, without having to look up where the nearest garage is and paying for an emergency call-out.

Breakdown cover isn’t the only thing you’ll need to think about before you go to Europe. For example, you need to make sure you have all the required documents and equipment (such as red warning triangles and a reflective jacket), and also be aware of what has changed about driving in Europe post-Brexit.

» MORE: What you need to know about driving in Europe

Older Car Breakdown Cover FAQs

Can a vehicle be too old to get breakdown cover?

It is possible that a vehicle might be too old for a breakdown policy as some providers will set maximum age limits for the vehicles they will cover. However, other providers don’t have any age restrictions and will cover vehicles of any age.

Is breakdown cover more expensive for an older car?

Some breakdown providers may charge more to cover an older car because they could be more likely to have problems and break down than a brand-new car. However, other providers may not charge more and will cover older cars on a standard policy. It’s worth comparing policies from different providers as they won’t all cost the same.

Can I claim straight away after taking out a policy?

This depends on the provider. Some will allow you to make a claim once you have paid for your policy (as long as you haven’t already broken down), while cover from other providers may only begin after 24 hours.

Can I pay monthly or annually?

Most providers will allow you to pay annually or monthly for your breakdown cover.

Do I have to pay an excess if I claim?

In most cases you won’t need to pay an excess if you make a claim on your breakdown cover. However, if you choose a policy with an excess, you will have to pay the agreed amount whenever you break down and call your provider for help.

Will I be covered if I break down in Europe?

You will only be covered to drive in Europe if you have chosen to take out a European breakdown policy. Standard UK cover won’t be valid if you break down abroad.

Should I choose the cheapest breakdown cover for an older car?

Although cost is an important factor when choosing breakdown cover, you should always make sure you choose the cover that offers the protection you need, which may not always be the cheapest policy.

Can I cancel my breakdown policy?

After taking out a policy, you will have a 14-day cooling off period when you can cancel your policy without penalty, as long as you haven’t made a claim. Depending on the provider, you may need to pay a fee if you want to cancel your policy after this time and you may not get your money back.

About the author:

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