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How to choose the right motor breakdown insurance

If your vehicle breaks down, motor breakdown cover can help get you on your way.

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown insurance, or breakdown cover, can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to get help if your vehicle breaks down. For example, if your car breaks down on the motorway or it just won’t start in the morning – you can get it fixed or towed to the nearest garage.

What are the different levels of motor breakdown cover?

There are several levels of cover to choose from, including roadside assistance and home cover. Here are a few of the most common ones you’ll come across:

Roadside assistance

If you’ve broken down on the side of the road, a breakdown van would come and fix your vehicle, or tow you to a local garage. This is usually the most basic level of cover.

There may be limits to this level of cover. For example, if you break down within a certain distance from your home address, you may not be covered for roadside or breakdown assistance. 

Home cover

Home cover, or home start, will include roadside assistance, but will also cover you if you can’t get your vehicle started at, or close, to home. 

National recovery

If you have national recovery, you’ll get roadside assistance and, if your vehicle can’t be fixed, it’ll be towed to your destination, or a garage close to your destination. 

European recovery

European recovery will cover you for travel across the EU. Before you travel, you’ll need to ask your insurer for a green card as proof that you have vehicle insurance when driving abroad.

Other things to consider

You may also need to choose between personal cover, or cover for a specific vehicle. 

If you regularly drive different vehicles, personal cover may be more suited to your needs, as it would cover you for whatever vehicle you’re in – even as a passenger. If you’re only likely to drive your own car, specific vehicle cover may be more appropriate.

Always make sure to read the terms and conditions of the level of cover you choose. 

Ways to buy motor breakdown insurance

HSBC doesn’t offer breakdown insurance, but you can typically buy suitable cover through:  

A standalone policy

There are dedicated breakdown providers that you can buy cover from. Prices and level of cover vary, so it can pay to shop around to find the best level of cover for your needs. 

Depending on the provider, you may be able to add additional extras – such as wrong fuel or battery replacement – to your policy. 

Your existing policy

Some car insurance providers may let you add on breakdown cover to your car insurance policy. There may be an additional charge, and you’ll need to be sure the level of cover suits your needs.

Some banks may also offer packaged current accounts where you can get things like breakdown cover included. There may be a fee for taking out this type of account. Again, you’ll need to make sure this meets your needs and is worth the additional cost.

A multi-cover policy

If your household has multiple cars, it can be a worthwhile to check whether you are already covered. For example, your family or those you live with may have taken out a joint, family, or multi-vehicle breakdown policy.

Keep in mind – multi-car breakdown cover comes with some exclusions. For example, you may not be covered if your car is used for business purposes, so it’s important to check.

New car purchases

If you have a new car, you may automatically have breakdown cover from your manufacturer, although the length of cover and what’s included differs between companies.