What is the best breakdown service in the UK 2020? | moneyfacts.co.uk

Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 23/09/2020

At a glance

The best breakdown providers in the UK 2020

Auto Express surveys those who have used a breakdown service to find out more about their experience. The feedback includes the length of time it took for the breakdown service to arrive, the result of the callout and the basis for how customers choose their breakdown service. The majority of customers (42.90%) waited for 30 minutes to one hour for their breakdown provider to arrive and 66.7% had their breakdown either permanently or temporarily fixed at the roadside and were able to continue their journey. A quarter of respondents didn’t pay for their breakdown cover with these either using the service offered with a bank account or credit card and others receiving this as part of the package of buying a new car.
The best breakdown providers as voted for by the respondents to the Auto Express Driver Power Survey are shown below. Where available we have also included the Trustpilot scores for each breakdown service.

 

Breakdown provider

Auto Express Driver Power Score

Arrived within an hour

Top callout result

Trustpilot score (out of 5) 22 Sept 2020

Green Flag

77.42%

76.7%

40% permanent fix

4.3

GEM Motoring Assist

77.27%

60%

32.5% permanent fix

4.5

RAC

67.30%

58.7%

36.5% permanent fix

4.2

AA

66.74%

69.4%

52.2% permanent fix

4.2

Admiral

65.89%

71.4%

52.4% permanent fix

Not available

 

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover is there to help you if your vehicle breaks down and will make sure you are not left stranded at the roadside – this will include sending a trained mechanic out to your car who will then either repair your vehicle by the road or organise to tow your vehicle to your destination, home or a local garage for repair. A breakdown service can include different levels of cover and extras to suit your needs.

What are the different types of breakdown cover?

You can decide between cover for yourself no matter the vehicle you are travelling in (subject to that type of vehicle being included under your policy) or cover for a specific vehicle.
Personal cover applies whether you are a driver or a passenger and, in some cases, can extend to members of your family or those living at the same address as you.
Vehicle cover applies to a specific car, van or motorcycle and sometimes a breakdown policy can cover multiple vehicles.
Vehicle cover is generally cheaper as the breakdown insurer can understand in more detail and more specifically what the level of risk of a breakdown will be.

Which breakdown cover should I take?

Breakdown cover usually comes with different levels of cover. The level of cover you need will depend on the type of travelling, distance and frequency of travelling you do, the type and condition of your vehicle and the amount you are prepared to spend each month on cover.

Basic breakdown cover

This is usually called roadside assistance or local cover; it is the lowest cost of breakdown cover and consists of a breakdown provider coming to the roadside to either repair your vehicle at the roadside if possible or if not tow your vehicle to a garage. With this type of breakdown cover you cannot choose where your vehicle is towed to.

Basic plus breakdown cover

This is sometimes called vehicle recovery or national cover. This costs more than roadside assistance and if you break down on the roadside and your vehicle cannot be repaired there, you can choose any location for your vehicle to be towed to.

At home breakdown cover

This cover allows you to call out your breakdown service if your vehicle cannot be started at home or within a short distance of your home.

Breakdown cover for onward travel

This level of cover allows you more options to get to your destination should your vehicle have broken down and cannot be immediately repaired. This can include hotel accommodation, taxis or public transport or a rental vehicle.

Additional optional extras to breakdown cover

Breakdown services can include a host of extras for you to choose from. This includes replacing keys, tyres and batteries and breakdowns as a result of putting the wrong fuel into your vehicle.

How much is breakdown cover in the UK?

Breakdown provider

Basic breakdown cover price

AA

£6 per month – vehicle only

AutoAid

£59.99 per year – personal cover

RAC

£9 per month – vehicle only includes home cover

Source: Breakdown provider websites September 2020

The cost of breakdown cover will vary across different breakdown companies and by the level of cover you select. If you have bought a new car, have serviced your car through a dealer or have a packaged bank account, then you could find this comes inclusive with free breakdown cover. You will need to check that the level of this free breakdown cover is right for your needs. You may also be able to get cashback on your breakdown service by using a cashback website.

Breakdown cover by provider

Below is an outline of the breakdown cover available from some of the UK’s most well-known brands. The cover shown is not exhaustive and aims to give an indication only.

What is covered with AA breakdown cover?

The AA offers personal and vehicle breakdown cover. You can also add cover for onward travel, national recovery, at home cover and European breakdown cover.

What is covered with Green Flag breakdown cover?

Green Flag breakdown cover includes vehicle cover for one or two cars and personal cover for those travelling in vehicles under 16-years old, privately registered and used in the UK. They can also cover motorbikes, caravans and trailers and offer European cover.

What is covered with RAC breakdown cover?

The RAC offers breakdown cover for rescue at home as well as the roadside as standard. Their standard cover includes a tow to a local garage or another location within ten miles and allows a maximum of five call outs per year. You can upgrade to unlimited cover for national recovery and be towed to any destination in the UK and with no restriction on the number of call outs you may make.

What is covered with GEM Motoring Assistance breakdown cover?

The breakdown cover available from GEM Motoring Assistance includes roadside, home, nationwide and onward travel options. In addition, they offer policyholders a free quarterly motoring magazine containing special offers.

What is covered with Saga breakdown cover?

SAGA breakdown offers Essential Cover, including roadside repair or tow to the nearest garage and the cost of a taxi for you and passengers up to 20 miles. There is also Home Call cover for breakdown help at the roadside or at home and National Recovery that will repair your vehicle at the roadside or tow this to your home or garage nationwide. Premier cover includes all the breakdown cover from Saga plus certain countries and areas in Europe. SAGA offers unlimited UK call outs with support 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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