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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 motor breakdown insurance?

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 conks out on the side of the motorway or you can’t get it started to get to your hair appointment, you can get it fixed, or towed to the closest 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 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. 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

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. 

As an add-on

  • Car insurance 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.

  • Bank account

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

Multi-cover policy

If you’re looking to cover other things alongside motor breakdown, such as your mobile phone or trips abroad and in the UK, you may want to look at our multi-cover insurance policy.

Select and Cover lets you pick 3 or more insurance options, and pay just one monthly premium. So you can build a policy that covers the things you need. You can choose from:

  • motor breakdown

  • mobile phone

  • gadget

  • worldwide travel

  • home emergency

  • excess protection

  • starter life

Motor breakdown in our Select and Cover policy covers you for home and roadside repairs, in the UK and across Europe. It’ll also cover any car that you or an eligible family member is travelling in. 

This applies to you, your partner and any children under 18 who live with you. It also covers children under 23 who are in full-time education, but are at home outside of term time. 

Always check the terms of each insurance option to make sure it provides the right level of cover for you. 

Select and Cover is exclusive to HSBC customers with online banking. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

HSBC UK Bank Plc acts as an insurance intermediary for Select and Cover. Motor breakdown insurance is underwritten by RAC. Starter life insurance is underwritten by HSBC Life (UK) Limited. All other Select and Cover options are underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited.