Want to save money on breakdown cover? Then take out new cover every year through a cashback provider. You could find cover for as little as £16 per vehicle.
Breakdown cover has always been an optional extra, but I wouldn’t leave home without it. If it was a choice between getting to a garage safely or being stuck in the middle of nowhere with something from The Hills Have Eyes, I know which I would prefer.
But you need to consider the most suitable cover for you so that you don’t spend more than you have to.
What kind of cover?
Do you do a lot of motorway driving? If not, then the Recovery and Onward Travel options may not be best for you. After all, how often will you and eight passengers need to be taken to a destination of your choice? If your car can’t be fixed at the roadside then it can just be towed to your local garage and you travel with it. From there you can get a taxi or a lift from friends or family.
Do you need home recovery? This depends on how desperate you would be to start the car in the morning. If your boss is likely to tell you not to bother coming in or a taxi or public transport is an option, then this is not an essential extra. If you’re able to stay at home, then calling a mobile mechanic to take a look should be a simple task.
A lot of it is about weighing up cost vs risk. Consider how often you’ve needed your breakdown cover over the years. In 17 years of driving, I have called out for recovery once. If I paid over £60 every year into my bank instead of a breakdown firm, I could have paid for a helicopter to come and collect me!
So how much will the breakdown cover cost?
At the time of writing, a Roadside Rescue package from RAC will set you back £34.99. With the added extras (Recovery, Onward Travel & At Home), this will cost £114.99.
But how do you get a better deal? If you have two cars in your household, then the Roadside Rescue option will cost £64.99. And if you go through TopCashback, you will get £33.25 back. That’s a total cost of less than £16, per car, for the year!
If you need cover for one car then the deal is not so good. Cashback will range from around £6-15, which makes the cost of a year’s membership for one car the same as two!
The AA also offer similar cover, but not at such a competitive rate. Their cashback figures are similar but their Roadside cover is usually more expensive.
And what happens after a year? Cancel your renewal and take out a new policy again as before.
But if you can’t be bothered to do that, phone up and haggle. I was offered a renewal price of £54 on my policy (cheaper than a new customer). When I called to cancel, I was offered 15 months cover for £41.
Always check out the prices on both TopCashback and Quidco, as prices can vary. Find out more about cashback sites.
Some alternative ways to save money on breakdown cover
Check to see if there is a paid current account that provides breakdown cover. If there are other services included that benefit you, it could save you money. Or see if your car insurance company offers the cover at a decent price – although be warned, they rarely do.
And if you shop at Tesco, you can exchange Tesco Clubcard points for RAC vouchers worth 3 x their value. So, if you’re breakdown cover costs £60, it will only cost you £20 in vouchers. However, RAC is a little sneaky when it comes to this. My last policy would have cost £68.99 if I visited the RAC site directly. But visiting through the Tesco site, this price rocketed to £84. Okay, so using Clubcard vouchers saved me money, but it was still annoying that the price was higher. Take a look at the Tesco site for more information.