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Breakdown services. Worth it?

My car insurance policy expires on the 25th June.

Last year I included a roadside recovery add on at £55.

I have just realised that in the last 11 years I have not once used the breakdown cover that I religiously buy for anything that I couldn't have fixed myself.

The last use was an AA policy year before last during which the AA man was rude, irritating and seemed to believe that I should be greatly thankful that he decided to fix the problem.

Given a fully featured service is well over £100.

Is it actually worth it?

They won't

Help in an accident.
Help if the car breaks down within 250yards of a garage
Help if you misfuel

But they will

Charge for all parts used, at full price plus a bit
Stick to the letter of the mileage restrictions (A mate of mine suffered head gasket failure last year and the policy said 10 miles transit. He was within sight of his house when 10 miles clicked over and as he didn't want to pay the extra £50 added transit fee for the maybe 200 yards, the guy stopped and unloaded the car on the road and drove away.)

All in all. Are there any decent, cheap policies available? If so, from who?

PS Its annoying that my wife's Ford gets free 12 months breakdown cover if she has it serviced at a main dealer.
 
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I've had it for nearly three years. I used it once, when I locked the keys in the boot on Christmas Eve.

You should re-check about whether they'll help in an accident. I think the RAC recently announced a change in that sense.

Last week I did consider whether I needed breakdown cover for a trip around Ireland; as it turned out, 700 miles or so, sometimes through single lane mountain passes. I decided not. It was fine, but I did worry a little.

If your car's reasonably reliable, then really the question is, is it worth the peace of mind?
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I've got mine included (with RAC) through my Bank Account. I pay for the privilege, but I've got phone and travel insurance also included, plus a £1000 interest free overdraft, Freephone number through to telephone banking and a few other bits, so I'd rather pay one £25/month direct debit than a fiver to the RAC, £7 ish for phone insurance, fees for the overdraft, etc etc.

I know a few people that have paid-for bank accounts that totally forgot that breakdown was included, so it's worth checking to see what's included if you pay a monthly fee for your account. Otherwise, if you've been with the AA a couple of years I'd phone up to cancel because 'whilst you'd like to stay with them, you just can't stretch to what they want you to pay' and see what they pull out of the bag
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To be honest, I wouldn't dream of not having any cover on my Transit or spider...I'm with Green flag and have used them on my transit.
It's not a huge part of a yearly budget and I also have the European cover for 90 days.
It's probably no different from house contents or buildings ins. You may never use it, but one day, it may save you £00's. It's just peace of mind really.
 
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I used it once a month so far, so I'd say yes.
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I wouldn't leave home without RAC cover. I've paid for full cover for myself and family, driving or as passengers in any vehicle since 1996. Used it three times last year all of which would have caused me a lot of expensive grief without it. Break it down to a weekly price for each person and it's less than a pound a week.
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Been with Green Flag for years and now get it as part of my banking arrangements.

They use the local operatives closest to where you break down, and I have always found them to be helpful and reasonably prompt (busy times accepted).

The best was a relocate back to Norfolk from Matlock as part of my "onward travel" and they took me to a garage of my choice.

Funniest was when my 126 was too small to fit on the tow bracket on the back of the repair van so they had to get a flat bed transporter to relocate me home..
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I find the hike in premium from the basic service to something useful to horrific.

Just been looking at RAC and AA.

Both do an advertised headline price of about £40. But that is for away from home only, and only an hour on site max. The small print lists so many exclusions, bits that won't be covered.

Assume the worst case scenario. A cambelt breakage. Unless I am paying a policy of £120+ They will drag the car 10 miles. No more. To a local garage of their choice only.
 
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I pay £15 p/m with natwest and get breakdown cover with greenflag. Although i originally bought because they give loan discounts for advantage gold members. Other benefits are travel insurance, phone insurance, electrical insurance etc. Etc. Well worth it imo. The thing is you pay for years without needing it and the time you desperately do, you dont have it
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I get free AA cover with my bank account, the relay cost £55.00p plus I have a breakdown policy with them for about £65.00p for mechanical breakdown ,last year my fuel pump packed up the AA man came out then the relay truck came and took me to my workshop of choice (my own garage DAY and WHITES ) 14 miles away
We fitted the new fuel pump sent them the bill they paid in 3 days
SoI would would reccomend having a policy ,Lets face it there is not much you can do to fix a modern car at the side of the road


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I get 'free' AA cover as part of an insurance policy. I had to pay (£20???) extra for Relay (essential I think).
If your insurance policy offers a cheap policy I'd seriously think about it. £55 is 'only' about a £1 per week?? But you might be able to find a better deal if you do an internet search BEFORE deciding to sign up with your agent. And before you commit to a new policy ask your existing insurer for their best deal. Insurance agents are quite prepared to 'keep you on-board' by cutting their own commission -
eg Cheap Car Breakdown Cover Comparison

Like all insurance companies the (usually cheap) first years premiums are subsidised by those of us who don't look around every year or so. You have been warned.
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Ok, Mine is probably expensive (£160 a year for all singing, dancing +european cover) but...this only equates to 3quid a week (price of a pint). This also covers my wife and me in any vehicle besides our transit camper and the Alfa.
Even the thought of my window wipers packing up on a cold windy and wet sunday evening 150 miles from home, nudges me to pay up, but also the fact that if my wife gets a puncture...She would never ever get the wheel nuts ondone. All that covered for the price of a weekly pint? bang on for me.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycarb View Post
Ok, Mine is probably expensive (£160 a year for all singing, dancing +european cover) but...this only equates to 3quid a week (price of a pint). This also covers my wife and me in any vehicle besides our transit camper and the Alfa.
Even the thought of my window wipers packing up on a cold windy and wet sunday evening 150 miles from home, nudges me to pay up, but also the fact that if my wife gets a puncture...She would never ever get the wheel nuts ondone. All that covered for the price of a weekly pint? bang on for me.
My point exactly. last November on a Saturday night my wife had to rush the 15 miles over to her mother. When she came to leave at 11pm the batttery had given up on her car. I'd been drinking so the RAC came to the rescue. Also got the Vectra recovered from Cambridge to Nuneaton last July when the turbo let go. £170 is a bargain for what you get.
Basic service or service that comes free is always going to be just that, a cheap basic service.
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Originally Posted by JTD_Liam View Post
I've got mine included (with RAC) through my Bank Account. I pay for the privilege, but I've got phone and travel insurance also included, plus a £1000 interest free overdraft, Freephone number through to telephone banking and a few other bits, so I'd rather pay one £25/month direct debit than a fiver to the RAC, £7 ish for phone insurance, fees for the overdraft, etc etc.)
I've got the same deal and I think it is worth it. I was going abroad recently and decided to check what was covered - the first time I've read the small print since taking it out - and I fully expecting loads of nasty exclusions but was pleasantly surprised to see you get the full 'Rolls Royce' cover, onward journey, hire car, hotels etc. I've not had the misfortune to use it yet but good to know its there.

Coming with all the other benefits you get with the account I think it's worth it but if I was ponying up ±£100 just for the breakdown cover I would hesitate.

So in answer to the OP: check what your bank offers.
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There was a point that the deal with the bank included Green Flag and didn't include Home Start, but it then changed to RAC and that seems to include Home Start as I've had them out a couple of times at home for a flat battery and a broken suspension spring on the Stilo, so it seems like a pretty good deal. The travel insurance doesn't need any prior phone calls to arrange or anything either, you just have a number to phone if anything happens whilst away & they sort it.

That's pretty much why I don't mind paying perhaps a bit more than I would for each individual item - one monthly payment, no reams of paperwork to read through for every item, just straightforward back-up when you need it. The interest free overdraft is worth its weight in gold, too!
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Never had occasion to use ours yet.

Feel somewhat disloyal in the service we subscribe to as I was an RAC patrolman at one time.

Anyone on here from Herts. remember good old 'Park Jack' back in the seventies? :
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Depends on the policy as they all differ in they will offer in breakdown assistance. Sometimes feel like your paying for something you'll never need...until you do...then it happened, after 8 years of having this I finally needed it...with an Alfa =)

Was coming home last week after being out for the day enjoying the drive as I had just bought the car, wasn't accelerating much as was coming down hill and BANG! thought i'd hot a pot hole or burst a tyre because the car started jumping up and down, tried turn the steering and car was all over the place felt like I'd lost all control, pulled over to the side of the road and put my hands on my head knowing this wasn't good. Got out and took a look under the car both tie rod ends had snapped off from the column.

BUT I remember I had breakdown assistance and thank god because I was in the middle of nowhere, very easy have to say called up,gave reg no waiting 30 minutes. Driver came, had a look, confirmed it was the tie rods, put the car on tow and brought me to a garage then gave me a lift home!No charge!

My advice, better safe than ****ed!
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Autoaid Breakdown recovery is £37 a year for me and the misses. Granted you have to pay them up front and then reclaim the £ after a breakdown, (got ours back within a week) but its very cheap insurance, last time used when the alternator seized on the 147, and goosed the battery so we were lifted from Salisbury to Red Motori at Spetisbury.
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You will never save money by buying insurance. The average punter has to lose financially, otherwise there'd be no profit and no business. Insurance is to protect against some event you'd find unthinkable. I don't want to be stranded one wet night with a carload of family, so basic roadside recovery is worth the £26.50 I pay. It's Green Flag, and you can get it directly from them on line - I wouldn't have an add on to a car insurance policy, in case they stitch you up, or you want to change insurers.

£55, AndyMac? Aaaargh....
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I'm with the AA and just renew each year. I am a member mainly for the recovery option. If I can't fix it at the roadside then odds are that the AA can't either. I don't actually know what I pay but I am sure it is top whack but less than £200 pa. It comes out of our household account which we both feed as required - sorry but there it is.

It is a massive bargain though. In the last few years we have been rescued four times. The best part is that the service is linked to me and not to a particular vehicle. The longest relay was 450 miles on a Sunday back home. The next day they relayed the car 12 miles to the local Indy for no extra charge.

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it's the old spare wheel adage - better to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it

i've got AA cover through my bank account, only used it once and it was excellent. 2 days before driving to france on holiday in 2010, numbnuts here decides to do a trackday at oulton park. got home and the clutch went. phoned the AA, no quibbles whatsoever and 45mins later i was on a flatbed truck on the way to mangoletsi 40 miles away. they were happy to take me anywhere of my choice.

only other time i've ever had to rely on a breakdown firm was in 1990 when my then girlfriend's morris minor gave up the ghost half way from manchester to london. flatbed truck from somewhere in staffordshire to south london at 2.30am

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Aye... I think mine costs £90 RAC for me and the Younger Mrs S. If you break down and need your car towing then that'll cost you £200 so I only have to break down once every three years to be worse off.

In the past the RAC have driven me home over 100 miles several times: when an alternator failed on my old Uno (middle of the night and raining so the battery didn't make it), I had some matey drive into the side of my 33P4 breaking the suspension, I had a TCD sensor go on my 155, and the fuel pump pickup pipe became detached inside the fuel tank (RAC couldn't diagnose at the roadside)..

On a couple of occasions the Younger Mrs S. had a DNF in Titch - a clutch cable snapped and a few months later the clutch plate collapsed (heavy pedal probably also did for the cable...) so it's a no-brainer for me..


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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelyred159 View Post
Autoaid Breakdown recovery is £37 a year for me and the misses. Granted you have to pay them up front and then reclaim the £ after a breakdown, (got ours back within a week) but its very cheap insurance, last time used when the alternator seized on the 147, and goosed the battery so we were lifted from Salisbury to Red Motori at Spetisbury.
Just took that out myself. Seems pretty good too that I now know of someone whom has used the service with a good result

As Pulco suggests it's just like carrying (or not) a spare wheel.
Since about 98 until this year (Autoaid now) I paid the AA about £70-£110/year and only used them a few times. Still think it was worth it for peace of mind.
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I agree with the last few posts about recovery insurance being being worth it for peace of mind, but why pay £200 or £90 when it's available for less than £30?

Like so many services, some organisations overcharge, and all of them try to sell you extras when the "peace of mind" comes from the basic service.
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[QUOTE=Sterzo;5378190]I agree with the last few posts about recovery insurance being being worth it for peace of mind, but why pay £200 or £90 when it's available for less than £30?

Like so many services, some organisations overcharge, and all of them try to sell you extras when the "peace of mind" comes from the basic service.[/QUOTE

Depends what you have for your £26.00.
So there you are with all your family on a wet sun night with your basic service. So they drop you 10 miles down the road, and then wave you goodbye!
How do you get your family home and safe the other 180 miles in the rain?
None of us realise what we have till we use it and I happily pay my £160 a year or whatever it is for my families welfare and my peace of mind.
Penny pinching normally results in big bills eventually, through lack of cover.
Very few green flag mechanics want to repair a car at the side of the rain on a wet night.
Take you to their garage and thats when your wallet starts to open in accommodation, blah blah blah. They will only do what your basic cover, covers you for ....basically....nothing much.
 
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