Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide

Cheap Breakdown Cover

Basic cover £25/year, full from £43

Get Our Free Weekly Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Tony | Edited by Dan

Updated April 2017

Too many people auto-renew breakdown cover and pay over the odds. Know where to look and you can often get a cheap basic AA or RAC policy without paying the full price, or comprehensive cover for less than £50 a year.

This guide reveals the best ways to cut the cost of breakdown cover, including tips on how haggling can help.

Breakdown cover need-to-knows...

The days of mutual motoring clubs are long gone – roadside recovery policies are big business. So forget loyalty and focus on getting the top deal. Here are six need-to-knows to read before checking the best buys...

  • Breakdown firms are among the easiest to haggle with

    When it comes to haggling, don't think you need to be in backstreet bazaars – haggling successes are high with breakdown cover. In a poll we conducted in Nov 2016 (see our top 10 service companies to haggle with) of various service companies, AA was rated the easiest to haggle with, RAC 3rd. Here's how MoneySavers fared with the major breakdown firms.

    Haggling success with breakdown cover
    Provider Number of responses Success Fail
    AA Breakdown 473 86% 14%
    RAC 280 85% 15%
    Green Flag 71 79% 21%
    Other 59 71% 29%

    We hear of lots of successes of breakdown cover customers successfully getting a better deal with nothing more than a quick call and a bit of charm. Here's inspiration before you begin..

    Thanks for the haggling advice. Just spent five minutes on the phone to the RAC and got my renewal slashed from £252 to £151. Just over £100 for about five minutes work – that'll do nicely! - Graham, by email

    AA renewal came in at almost £200, final cost around £120, same price as new customers. Always haggle! - @Violet_Aurella

    Just this morning got twenty quid knocked off my renewal and onward travel added onto my RAC policy. Always worth a try.- @PSBWon

    Haggled RAC renewal down by 25%. - @deefer66

    Quick tips

    Here are 8 top haggling tips...

    If your car's shiny and new, do you need the full works?

    If you've a modern, reliable car, then you only need cover as an emergency back-up plan, so basic cover is likely to be enough. If your car's older, or has a history of breakdowns, you should consider a more comprehensive policy.

    There are three main UK cover types. If a policy just has the first, we classify it as 'basic'. If it has all three, we call it 'comprehensive':

    • Basic cover. It typically means your car will be fixed at the roadside or towed to a local garage. But it won't usually cover you if you breakdown close to your home.

    • Home start. In addition to basic cover, you will be covered for a problem if your motor won't start at home.

    • Onward travel. If your car's kept in a garage for repairs, this generally means you'll get a hire car for up to three days, plus a night's accommodation. It also covers costs if you need to continue by public transport.

  • Driving in Europe? Ensure you're covered

    If you're planning to go regularly, consider taking out an annual breakdown policy with European cover.

    If you'll only need it for a few days a year, a cheap UK policy which you can upgrade to cover Europe when you need it, may be better. Always check the option is available before taking out the policy – and ask how long it takes to add before it come into effect – some impose exclusions against claims in the first 15 days from the start of the extension.

    See our Cheap European Cover section for the best deals for annual and single cover.

    Finally, don't forget to arrange travel insurance and notify your car insurer to get that extra protection while you're abroad.

  • Always check whether you're covering a car or a person

    You can either opt for cover for a specific car, or you can take out personal cover which protects you no matter what car you're driving, or a passenger in. Take note that buying personal cover is typically more expensive so only go for this if you think you'll need it.

    If you never swap motors the pricier policy is pointless, but if you regularly drive other people's cars, it's worth thinking about. It's also worth pointing out that, if you're towing a caravan, your policy will usually extend to this as well.

    Most specialist caravan policies don't include breakdown cover so, as a rule, if your caravan hits a pothole and damages its chassis (so it can't move), then your car breakdown policy will cover you for being towed home or to a garage.

  • A joint policy can be cheaper than two (three or four) single policies

    Getting a husband and wife/partner policy (or one for the family) usually works out cheaper than buying individual policies for each person in the home. For example, AutoAid* will cover you and your spouse for £43/yr, the same price as for an individual.

    Alternatively, choose the AA's basic cover of £50 for an individual, £89 for a couple. The RAC equivalent is £59 for an individual, £89 for a couple. You can often undercut these costs (whether buying as a single or joint policy) using cashback sites, but these examples show the principle that joint policies often beat two singles.

Best buys : Cover from £25/year

Once you know the basics, use our best buys below to find your cheapest policy. The order starts with basic cover, see the tabs for other options, incl fully comprehensive or European.

Before getting a policy, always check the full terms to check they suit you. Please let us know if you've any feedback, or think we've missed anything

RAC

Cheapest basic cover using cashback sites

RAC basic vehicle cover £25/yr after cashback

The basic vehicle policy from the RAC* is £39.99 a year. It covers breakdowns when you're more than a quarter of a mile from your home, towing your vehicle back to the garage and includes 24-hour assistance.

You can get personal cover too, which will protect you as a driver or passenger in another car, for £58.99 per year.

Want to save more? Go via cashback site Topcashback* and get back £15, making the cost £24.99/yr for a vehicle-based policy. Choose the personal-based policy and the cashback amount is also £15 via Topcashback*, reducing the premium to £43.99/yr.

The cashback amount via Quidco* is slightly less at £12 if you choose the vehicle-based or the personal-based cover.

Should you choose to use one of the cashback sites, you must pay in full upfront and not on a monthly basis.

IMPORTANT – Cashback is never guaranteed. Cashback sites list retailers and product providers, and get paid if you click through them, then give some, or all, of the cash to you.

Make sure you read our Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. Problems shouldn't arise but payouts are never 100% guaranteed. If cashback sites don't get paid by the RAC, you usually don't either, so you'll pay full price. Check the cashback safety rules.

Feedback for RAC breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • What's included? Basic vehicle cover. No restriction to the age of the vehicle applies.
  • Deal: £24.99 RAC cover after cashback
  • Average call-out time: 34 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: With personal cover only, price varies
AA

Cheapest AA basic cover using cashback

AA basic personal cover £34/yr after cashback

The basic vehicle policy from the AA* costs £49 a year and covers breakdowns which are more than a quarter of a mile from your home.

If you want personal cover instead, which protects you as a driver or a passenger in another vehicle, it's £59 per year.

Want to save more? Go via cashback site Topcashback* and get £15 back on policies where the cost is between £40 and £59.99. This reduces the £49 vehicle-only policy to £34/yr.

For personal cover (where you're covered in more than one car), the cashback amount via Topcashback* is also £15 (where the cost is between £40 and £59.99), making it £44/yr all in.

The cashback amount via Quidco* is slightly less at £12 if you choose the vehicle-based cover or personal-based cover policy.

IMPORTANT – Cashback is never guaranteed. Cashback sites list retailers and product providers, and get paid if you click through them, then give you some or all of this cash.

Do read our Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. Problems shouldn't arise with these deals, but the payout's never 100% guaranteed. If a cashback site doesn't get paid by the AA, you usually don't either, so you'll pay full price. Check the cashback safety rules.

Feedback for AA breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • What's included? AA's vehicle cover. No restriction to the age of the vehicle applies.
  • Deal: £34 AA cover after cashback
  • Average call-out time: 30 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: No upgrade on basic policy

RAC

Cheapest non-cashback deal if with vouchers

Cheap RAC cover using Tesco Clubcard points

If you're a Tesco shopper, hoard your Clubcard points then use them for ultra-cheap RAC breakdown cover, including basic personal roadside assistance for £18 per year.

How does it work? Spend Tesco Clubcard vouchers on goods or services listed in its Deals brochure, and you get back up to four times their face value.

The RAC roadside policy is included and you can sometimes get it for about a third of the cost. For more info, read Loyalty Points Boosting.

Which policies can I get? You can't get every single policy type, so we've listed the ones available and their prices in Tesco points in the table below.

Feedback for RAC breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

RAC policies available on Tesco Clubcard

Stats box
  • What's included? Varies
  • Deal: Cheap RAC personal cover with Tesco points
  • Average call-out time: 34 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Varies
AutoAid

Cheapest full service + improved claims process

£43 full cover for you & your spouse*

Little-known company AutoAid* is our overall top pick. It is backed by Right Choice Insurance Brokers and it has recently improved its claims process and does all the work for you so you no longer need to pay and reclaim.

Considering what's included, nothing really comes close for price unless you've a stockpile of Tesco Clubcard vouchers. picture of oil can

  • It insures the person, so you can be driving any car. This means vehicle age, mileage and reliability are irrelevant, plus caravans and trailers will also be towed if attached to your car. You'll be covered no matter what car you're driving.

  • Free cover for a husband, wife or civil partner. The same cover above applies to a spouse if you're married or in a civil partnership.

  • It provides onward transport. Most budget policies only fix the car at the roadside or tow it to a garage. With AutoAid you'll get transport to your destination for up to six people in total (inclusive of the driver).

  • Home breakdown cover, limited to £65. It pays for labour and recovery, but not parts. So if you need help to get the car started at home, this is usually enough to cover the call-out fee and any basic labour charge.

AutoAid's been our top pick for a few years and MoneySavers who use it almost universally report good feedback – add your experiences.

After roadside assistance, cover at home and national recovery from the AA, a couple would normally pay over £100 – yet AutoAid provides the same for just £42.54 a year.

Stats box
  • What's included? Home cover, onward transport, free cover for a spouse
  • Average call out time: 40 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Available on a separate policy
RAC

At Home cover from big-name provider

RAC £51 fully comp vehicle cover after cashback

Comprehensive RAC* vehicle cover, which includes 'At Home' and 'National Recovery' (which will take you, your passengers and the car to your chosen destination) is £99.99 a year when you buy directly from the RAC*. The personal cover equivalent, which will protect you as a driver or a passenger in another vehicle, is currently at a reduced premium of £124.99 a year (again if you go direct).

Want to save more? Buy this comprehensive At Home and National Recovery RAC* policy via Topcashback* and you can get cashback of £48.51, bringing the cost of the vehicle-only cover to £51.48/yr. The annual premium for personal cover, when using cashback site Topcashback*, is £66.49 once the increased cashback amount of £58.50 has been taking in to account. You must pay in full upfront, not monthly.

The cashback with Quidco* is £38.50 for the vehicle-based policy (where the premium is between £84 and £113.99) or £48.50 for the personal-based level of cover when the premium is between £114 and £143.99.

IMPORTANT – Cashback is never guaranteed. Cashback sites list retailers and product providers, get paid if you click through them, then give you some or all of this cash.

Make sure you read our Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. There shouldn't be problems, but payouts are never 100% guaranteed. If a site doesn't get paid by the RAC, you usually don't either, so you'll pay full price. Check cashback safety rules.

Feedback for RAC breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • What's included? RAC's vehicle cover. No restriction to the age of the vehicle applies.
  • Deal: £51.48 RAC cover after cashback
  • Average call-out time: 34 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro upgrade: Available on personal cover
AA

Home start cover from a big name provider

AA £71 fully comp vehicle cover after cashback

Comprehensive AA* vehicle-only cover, which includes home start with national recovery (which will take you, your passengers and the car to your chosen destination) is £129 a year.

The personal cover equivalent, which will protect you as a driver or a passenger in another vehicle, comes in at £139 a year.

Want to save more? Buy an AA* breakdown policy via Topcashback*, where the premium is between £84 and £113.99, and get £48.49 cashback.

This cuts the cost of the £129 vehicle cover, with national recovery, to £70.51 via Topcashback*.

An alternative is to use Quidco* where their cashback amounts are currently slightly less at £48.50.

Should you choose to use one of the cashback sites, you must pay in full upfront and not on a monthly basis.

IMPORTANT – Cashback is never guaranteed. Cashback sites list retailers and product providers, get paid if you click through them, then give you some or all of this cash.

Make sure you read our Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. There shouldn't be problems, but payouts are never 100% guaranteed. If a cashback site doesn't get paid by the AA, you usually don't either, so you'll pay full price. Check cashback safety rules.

Feedback for AA breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • What's included? AA's vehicle cover. No restriction to the age of the vehicle applies.
  • Deal: £71 after cashback
  • Average call-out time: 30 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Available
RAC

Cheapest non-cashback deal if you've got vouchers

Cheap RAC cover using Tesco Clubcard points

If you're a Tesco shopper, hoard your Clubcard points then use them to slash the cost. Here, you can get roadside assistance plus home start and onward travel for £48 per year.

How does it work? Spend Tesco Clubcard vouchers on goods or services listed in its Deals brochure and you get back up to four times their face value.

One of the deals offered is an RAC roadside recovery policy, meaning you can sometimes get it at about a third of the cost. For more info, read Loyalty Points Boosting.

Which policies can I get? You can't get every single policy type, so we've listed the ones available and their prices in Tesco points in the table below.

Feedback for RAC breakdown cover is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

RAC policies available on Tesco Clubcard

Stats box
  • What's included? Varies
  • Deal: Cheaper RAC personal cover via Tesco pts
  • Average call-out time: 34 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Varies
Compare Breakdown Cover

Comprehensive European Cover

Compare Breakdown Cover – 15% off

European breakdown cover, which will include accommodation costs and travel expenses if your trip is disrupted, is available from the AA* and RAC* on both a single trip and an annual basis.

An alternative is Compare Breakdown Cover* which allows you to choose a variety of levels of cover (UK and European cover).

Buy a new policy via our MSE Blagged Compare Breakdown Cover* link by 30 September 2017, when you use the code MSE04, and you will get 15% off in the first year.

NOTE – New addition with limited feedback

This provider is new to our car breakdown guide and we have very little feedback to share. Let us know your experiences and how you get on in the forum discussion.

One-off and specialist policies

picture of carsIf you're looking for one-off or specialist policies, MoneySupermarket* allows you to compare roadside recovery tariffs.

It misses some of the best deals above so it doesn't always get the very cheapest, yet if you've specific needs it can quickly find a competitive quote.

Check special deals

A few companies have special deals and some car insurers bundle free breakdown with their car insurance cover (see our Car Insurance guide). These currently include:

Green Flag

Halve AA/RAC renewal cost

Provided your car isn't more than 10 years old, Green Flag*  promises to be 50% cheaper than your renewal quote from the AA or RAC if covering your vehicle only, whatever the price. If you want cover for yourself in any vehicle it's 30% off. Also, see this as a chance to haggle with the AA or RAC by quoting this deal.

Key info:
  • There are no minimum or maximum price limits but it will only offer the discount on your renewal notice price, not any special deal you negotiate after.
  • It says you'll get its closest equivalent deal. So if your AA renewal includes home start, you qualify for Green Flag home start cover.
  • The promise applies to UK cover ONLY.
How to get it:
First get a Green Flag* quote online for an equivalent policy. If it's not at least 50% or 30% cheaper than the price of your renewal call Green Flag on 0345 246 1558 to get it reduced further. There's no end date, but as it can be pulled at any time, you may as well do it soon if you want to try it.

It'll ask you to complete the purchase over the phone and then send in your AA/RAC renewal quote for confirmation within 14 days. You could in theory set it up for immediate cover, but you could be charged more or have the policy cancelled if you fail to prove the renewal quote.

Let us know your experiences and successes on it in the forum discussion.

Compare Breakdown Cover

Compare Breakdown Cover – 15% off

This provider is new to our car breakdown guide and it allows you to choose a variety of levels of cover (UK and European cover). Buy a new policy via our MSE Blagged Compare Breakdown Cover* link by 30 September 2017, when you use the code MSE04, and you will get 15% off in the first year.

NOTE – New addition with limited feedback

As mentioned, this provider is new to our car breakdown guide and we have very little feedback to share. Let us know your experiences and how you get on in the forum discussion.

Q&A

  • How safe are these policies?

  • What happens if the breakdown company damages my car?

  • Could I already be covered if I've recently bought a new car?

  • Should you get breakdown cover with your car insurance policy?

  • Can I get covered via my current account?

  • What if I need assistance and my pets are in the vehicle with me?

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that's usually quicker.

Get Our Free Weekly Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out