Compare Onward Travel Breakdown Cover

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

What is onward travel?

Onward travel breakdown cover is one of the most comprehensive types of breakdown policy.

If your vehicle breaks down and needs taking to a garage for repairs, onward travel helps you to continue your journey while it’s being fixed. This can minimise the disruption caused by a breakdown, as you’re able to carry on with what you need to do rather than changing your plans and sorting out other arrangements yourself.

The exact details of onward travel cover will vary between policies and providers, but will often include cover for a hire car or reimbursement of public transport and overnight accommodation costs, if necessary.

Onward travel cover can offer peace of mind when driving, especially if you regularly travel long distances. It ensures you won’t be left to fend for yourself should your vehicle stop working, helping you to get back home or go to another destination until your vehicle is ready to drive again.

Bear in mind that providers may call this level of cover different names.

» MORE: What is breakdown cover?

What does onward travel breakdown cover include?

Like other breakdown policies, onward travel policies cover the cost of a mechanic coming out to try to fix your vehicle at the roadside if you break down. If they can’t fix it at the scene, they will take your vehicle to a garage for further repairs.

What happens after this will depend on individual onward travel policies. In general, the breakdown provider will arrange a hire car for you to use until your vehicle is fixed, or it may reimburse the costs of public transport for you to travel to your chosen destination. It may also cover the costs of accommodation if you need to stay overnight while your vehicle is out of action.

Alternative transport and accommodation costs will also be covered for up to a certain number of passengers.

What exclusions usually apply to onward travel breakdown cover?

Providers will set various limits on their onward travel cover. For example, you may only be able to use the hire car for a certain number of days, and there is likely to be a cap on the costs you can claim for public transport or overnight accommodation.

You generally won’t be covered for other related costs you incur while using the transport or while staying in the accommodation, such as fuel, toll charges or food.

These restrictions are in addition to the common exclusions you could find with other breakdown policies. For example, you may not be covered if:

  • You make repeated claims for the same issue.
  • Your vehicle breaks down at home, or within a certain distance of home (unless you choose home start cover).
  • The fault with your vehicle doesn’t prevent you from driving to a garage to get it fixed, such as windscreen damage or a problem with your vehicle’s interior lights or entertainment system.
  • Your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan, which doesn’t meet the criteria set by the provider. Check the terms of a policy to see if you require specialist cover.
  • You exceed the number of passengers covered by a policy.

Is onward travel worth it?

Taking out onward travel breakdown cover could be a good idea if you want the reassurance that, should you break down, you can continue your journey. Whether you’re on holiday, or driving for another reason, having onward travel breakdown cover can help you to carry on your journey.

It can remove the stress of making alternative arrangements yourself, as your provider will have replacement transport and accommodation covered while your vehicle is being fixed.

It may be worth taking out onward travel cover if:

  • You drive long distances, whether for work or for leisure.
  • Your vehicle is older and perhaps more susceptible to problems.
  • You don’t want the stress of arranging and paying for alternative transport yourself, immediately after breaking down.

» MORE: Do I need breakdown cover?

What are the pros and cons of onward travel breakdown cover?

Onward travel breakdown cover has many benefits, but it may not be right for everyone. Some of its advantages include:

  • You can get assistance if you break down on the road.
  • You can get alternative transport if your vehicle needs repairs at a garage, minimising the disruption of breaking down.
  • If you are far from home, you may be able to stay overnight in accommodation chosen by your provider while your vehicle is repaired.

However, onward travel cover has some disadvantages:

  • It’s typically one of the more expensive breakdown policies.
  • There are limits to the transport and accommodation costs you can claim for.
  • It may not be necessary if you tend to drive locally.

How do I get onward travel breakdown cover?

Once you have chosen a provider, you will be asked to confirm whether you want personal or vehicle cover and the level of cover you want. You will normally get roadside assistance as standard, and then have the option to upgrade your cover to onward travel. You may also be able to add extra cover to your policy, such as home start.

Providers will need to know personal details including your name, address, date of birth and contact details. If you choose a vehicle-based policy, they may also need information about your vehicle.

You will also need to decide how you are paying for your cover. In many cases, you can choose between annual cover, paid upfront or cover on a monthly basis until you cancel the policy.

How to choose the best onward travel breakdown cover for me?

If you decide you need breakdown cover, it’s important to choose the policy that’s right for you. Some factors to think about while you compare policies are whether:

  • You need personal or vehicle cover.
  • You want to be covered if your vehicle breaks down at home.
  • You prefer to pay for annual cover or pay on a monthly basis.
  • You want to extend your cover with optional add-ons, such as parts and labour cover.
  • The limits to cover offered by a policy, including call-out limits and the maximum amount you can claim for transport and accommodation costs, suit you.

You can use our comparison table above to compare policies and their prices to help you find the best cover for your requirements.

Breakdown cover – onward travel FAQ

Is onward travel included as standard with breakdown cover?

Not usually. Standard breakdown policies will often only include cover for basic roadside assistance and recovery to a nearby garage. You will need to choose a more comprehensive policy if you want onward travel cover.

Can I get onward travel for multiple people or vehicles?

Yes, you can get onward travel breakdown policies that cover more than one vehicle or driver. These are typically called multi-vehicle and family breakdown policies.

Bear in mind that, if you choose personal-based onward travel breakdown cover, you will be covered in whatever vehicle you use (as long as the vehicle meets the provider’s eligibility criteria).

Does onward travel cover start straightaway?

Cover for many policies will usually begin 24 hours after you take out cover. Some providers will offer a limited amount of cover for the first 24 hours after taking out a policy. However, this may be basic roadside assistance and not the full onward travel cover.

Are there other breakdown cover products I could consider?

Yes, onward travel isn’t the only type of breakdown cover available. If you only want basic help to ensure you won’t be stranded if you break down, a roadside assistance policy may be sufficient. With this policy, you can call for help and get a tow to a local garage if necessary.

Alternatively, a national recovery policy may be an option if you want to be able to choose where you are towed to, but don’t mind about getting transport or accommodation beyond this.

About the author:

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

Compare Breakdown Cover

Choose your breakdown cover options

9 products found
  • RAC logo

    Roadside, Recovery, At Home & Onward Travel

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £165
      Now £99
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £145
      Now £145
  • AA logo

    Roadside + At Home + National Recovery + Onward Travel

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £199
      Now £199
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £179
      Now £179
  • Emergency Assist logo

    Premium Cover

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was Option unavailable
      Now Option unavailable
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £20.50
      Now £20.50
  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Recovery RECLAIM

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £78.50
      Now £78.50
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was Option unavailable
      Now Option unavailable
  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Recovery EXTRA

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £96.66
      Now £96.66
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was Option unavailable
      Now Option unavailable
  • Green Flag logo

    Recovery Plus

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £80
      Now £80
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £60
      Now £60
  • Rescuemycar logo

    National & Home

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £48.49
      Now £48.49
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £20.99
      Now £20.99
  • Cover My logo

    National & Home Cover

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was £39.97
      Now £39.97
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £22.83
      Now £22.83
  • MotorEasy logo

    Nationwide Recovery + Home Assist

    • Roadside Assistance
    • National Recovery
    • Home Start
    • Onward Travel
    • Personal Price (From)
      Was Option unavailable
      Now Option unavailable
    • Vehicle Price (From)
      Was £55.79
      Now £55.79

Our comparison service features a selection of providers from whom we receive commission. This table is initially ordered according to our commercial arrangements. Use the drop down menu at the top of the page to order by other criteria.

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