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Cheap Breakdown Cover Roadside assistance from £20/year

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Too many people auto-renew breakdown cover and unnecessarily waste £100s. Know where to look and you can often get a basic AA or RAC policy without paying the full price, or comprehensive cover for under £40.

The checks before you start...

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. Before checking best buys...

Best buys : Get cover from £20/year

Once you've decided which type of cover you need, use these best buys to help find the cheapest policy. The first three tabs are the main different types of policy, and the second three are extra techniques you can try to drive down the price.

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.

AA basic cover £20 after cashback Cheapest AA cover using cashback - usually costs £35

AA

For basic cover, for breakdowns more than a quarter of a mile from your home, AA vehicle cover* is £35.

Right now, go via cashback site Topcashback* and get £14.70 back, (Quidco* is £10) making it £20 all in.

If you want AA Home Start*, it's £86, and the cashback is up to £30.45 if you go via Topcashback*. It's a decent reduction but still substantially more expensive - other full service policies are cheaper.

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.

Make sure you read the 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.

  • What's included? AA's vehicle cover. Your car must be under 10 years old.
  • Deal: £20 AA cover after cashback.
  • Average call-out time: 30 mins.
  • Contract length: One year.
  • Euro cover upgrade: No upgrade on basic policy.

RAC basic cover £29 after cashbackCHEAPEST RAC COVER USING CASHBACK SITES

RAC

RAC* basic UK Breakdown Cover – which will cover your car with 24-hour roadside assistance, plus will tow your vehicle to a garage – comes in at £34. If you want to cover your car in the driveway or up to a quarter of a mile away, it's £113.

You can get personal cover too, which will protect you as a driver or a passenger in another vehicle. The basic recovery policy is £44, while the At Home alternative is £126.

Want to save more? Go via Topcashback* and get £5.25 back on basic vehicle cover or personal vehicle cover. Or get £47.25 back on At Home vehicle cover and At Home personal cover.

Go via Quidco* and get back £5 on basic vehicle cover or personal vehicle cover. Or you can get £50 back on At Home vehicle cover and At Home personal cover.

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 the cash to you.

Make sure you read the Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. Problems shouldn't arise with these deals, but the payout's 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.

  • What's included? Basic vehicle cover. Your vehicle must be under 10 years old.
  • Deal: £29 RAC cover after cashback.
  • Average call-out time: 40 mins.
  • Contract length: One year.

  • Euro cover upgrade: With personal cover only, price varies.

Cheap RAC cover using Tesco Clubcard points Cheapest non-cashback deal if you've got vouchers

RAC

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/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 policy, meaning 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.

  • What's included? Varies (see table below).
  • Deal: Cheaper RAC personal cover via Tesco pts.
  • Average call-out time: 40 mins.
  • Contract length: One year.
  • Euro cover upgrade: Varies.

Green Insurance £16 basic cover with code (NO CASHBACK) Cheapest basic cover for cars up to 5 yrs old

Green Insurance

Eco-friendly Green Insurance* sells basic roadside cover for £17.80. Before Sun 1 Jun you can get 10% off by using the code EXPERT when you buy online via the link above, cutting the price to £16.02.

It's for cars less than five years old and breakdowns further than a mile from your house. It includes an hour's roadside labour, after which your car will be towed to the nearest garage.

Green Insurance is a relative newcomer in comparison to the big providers, so we've limited feedback. Please let us know how you get on in the forum discussion.

  • What's included? Basic cover, vehicle-based (covers any driver)
  • Deal: £16.02 cover for cars 5 yrs & younger (see T&Cs for charges)
  • Average call-out time: 40 mins, £10 refund after 1 hr
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Available

AutoAid £39 full cover for you & spouse Cheapest full cover pay 'n' claim for couplesAutoAid

Little-known company AutoAid is our overall top pick. This is a pay and reclaim policy, meaning it works very differently to traditional AA and RAC cover (see full pay and reclaim info).

It's backed by Equity Red Star, which also runs AutoNational's breakdown recovery.

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, not the car. This means vehicle age, mileage and reliability are irrelevant, plus caravans and trailers will also be towed if attached to your car.

  • Free cover for a spouse. You'll also get free cover for a spouse or civil partner. Sadly, this doesn't apply if you're just cohabiting.

  • 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.

AutoAid's stated average call out time is 40 minutes, roughly on a par with others, and it pays back claims in around 14 days. It's now been our top pick for a few years and MoneySavers who use it almost universally report good feedback - add your experiences.

One forumite reports:

Recovery was quick and payout from claim equally so. A great service at a fraction of the cost of the big boys.

A couple wanting roadside assistance, cover at home and national recovery from the AA would normally pay over £100 - yet AutoAid provides the same for just £39 a year.

  • What's included? Home cover, onward transport, free cover for a spouse. Covers the individual.
  • Deal: £39 full cover
  • Average call out time: 40 mins
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Available on a separate policy

RAC £76 fuLLY coMP COVER AFTER CASHBACK BIG NAME PROVIDER DEAL WITH AT HOME AND ONWArd travel

RAC

Buy a £126 RAC* Personal breakdown policy via Quidco* and you can get cashback of up to £50, cutting the cost to £76.

This offers Home Start with National Recovery (which will take you, your passengers and the car to your chosen destination) cover. Onward travel, meanwhile, provides you with a replacement car or overnight accomodation or alternative transport costs.

The Quidco* offer is valid for all RAC Personal policies between £100 and £150. At the moment, Topcashback* is providing cashback of £47.25 for these policies. You must pay in full upfront, not monthly.

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 Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. There shouldn't be problems, but the payout's never 100% guaranteed. If a cashback site doesn't get paid by the RAC, you usually don't either, so you'll pay full price. Check Cashback Safety Rules.

AA £64 fully comp after cashback Big name provider deal with home start and onward travelAA

For a limited time, buy the AA* £110 At Home breakdown 'Personal' policy via Topcashback* and you can get £46.20 cashback, cutting the cost to £64.

This offers At Home with National Recovery (which will take you, your passengers and the car to your chosen destination) cover.

The Topcashback* deal works on all AA breakdown policies between £101 and £150. Alternatively, Quidco* pays £35.

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 Top Cashback Sites guide before doing this. There shouldn't be problems, 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 Cashback Safety Rules.

Cheap RAC cover using Tesco Clubcard points Cheapest non-cashback deal if you've got vouchers

RAC

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/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.

  • What's included? Varies (see table below).
  • Deal: Cheaper RAC personal cover via Tesco pts.
  • Average call-out time: 40 mins.
  • Contract length: One year.
  • Euro cover upgrade: Varies.

Green Insurance £26 full cover with code Cheapest full autoservice cover for cars up to 5yrs

Green Insurance

It's cheaper than AutoAid, but this full service policy only covers a specific car that's less than five years old, while AutoAid provides cover for two people.

Green Insurance* is usually £28.80, but use the code EXPERT to get a further 10% off when you buy online via this link, taking it down to £25.92. It's scheduled to end on Sun 1 Jun.

This covers the vehicle, not people like AutoAid does, and includes home start and roadside repairs, plus onward recovery for you and passengers. We also have less feedback on it, so we can't vouch for its reliability - let us know your experiences in the forum discussion.

  • What's included? Roadside repairs, home start, onward recovery. Vehicle-based (covers any driver).
  • Deal: £25.92 full cover (see T&Cs for charges)
  • Avg call out time: 40 mins, £10 refund after 1hr
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: Available

Green Insurance £53 full cover plus Europe with code Cheapest full cover, incL EuropeGreen Insurance

Usually £58.85, Green Insurance*'s Euro Recovery policy includes roadside repair, onward recovery, home start, and up to 60 days of cover in Europe over the policy (max 31 days cover per trip).

However, use the code EXPERT to get a further 10% off online, taking this down to £52.97 (you'll need to enter the code via the link above to get it). It's scheduled to end on Sun 1 Jun.

This price covers cars aged up to 10 years old - watch out, as it jumps to £99.85 at full price if you don't use the above code and your car is older. If this applies to you, see below for a cheaper alternative.

  • What's included? 60 days Euro roadside repairs, and much more. Vehicle-based cover.
  • Deal: £52.97 full cover incl Europe (see T&Cs for charges)
  • Average call out time: 40 mins, £10 refund after 1hr
  • Contract length: One year
  • Euro cover upgrade: N/A

Quoteline Direct £59 full cover plus Europe Cheapest full cover including Europe for cars under 16

Quoteline Direct

Unlike the Green Insurance deal above, Quoteline Direct*'s £59 policy is particularly good if you've got a car that's over 10 years old (it won't cover cars over 16 years old)).

It includes roadside repairs, home start, onward recovery, and more. Its vehicle-based policy covers any insured driver of the car, and allows up to 90 days abroad per year, for up to 30 days per trip.

  • What's included? 60 days Euro roadside repairs, and much more. Vehicle-based cover.
  • Deal: £59 full cover incl Europe
  • Avg call out time: 45 mins
  • Contract length: 1 year
  • Euro cover upgrade: N/A

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.

How safe are these policies?

Nobody can predict the future - even the most reliable companies can fall into bad times. As with any purchase, you should consider if you've any protection should the company go bust.

We've checked with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and, sadly, you wouldn't be protected on breakdown cover if the worst happened. With this in mind, remember that shelling out less means you've less to lose.

What happens if the breakdown company damages my car?

A breakdown repairman

While this is unlikely, it's still worth knowing the score. If your car's taken away, you'll usually be given a document to sign when it's returned to you.

If you think the car's been damaged by the recovery company, refuse to sign the document and report the issue to the recovery company. It's crucial to do this as soon as you can, even if you're still at the roadside.

  • Get as much evidence of the damage as possible. Take photos - even a decent camera phone can be handy for this if there's no alternative - and write a report of what happened ASAP.

    Take notes as fully as you can, including the name of the recovery firm, times and dates. Then contact the firm to find out how it plans to rectify it.

  • What if it doesn't repair the damage? If you aren't happy with the way they've dealt with the incident, it's time to submit a written complaint. The formal procedure for this will be set out in your policy terms and conditions. You will have been sent a copy of this after you took out the policy. If you can't find it, just ask for another copy.

  • If it still doesn't resolve it... Even though you can't claim money back from the FSCS, if these companies are FCA-regulated you can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). All companies we include are FCA-regulated.

    The independent Ombudsman service settles disputes between consumers and businesses, without costing you a penny. You need to leave eight weeks between registering your complaint with the firm and going to the FOS. See the Financial Rights guide for full info.

Glossary

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