Best Breakdown Cover UK 2024

Find the best UK breakdown cover providers in 2024.

There are a lot of different breakdown cover providers in the UK, meaning that motorists have a lot of choices when it comes to deciding which provider to go for. 

The vehicle you drive is likely to be one of your most important possessions, meaning getting the right cover for your car is crucial.

When choosing the best UK breakdown cover, information is power. Knowing the prices for the leading breakdown cover providers and the different services they provide, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which one to go for. 

Plus, comparing reviews and statistics, such as the time it takes for a company to deliver roadside assistance, can help you narrow down your choices. By knowing which providers have excellent service, you’ll be able to find one that offers the best value for money. 

Here’s a detailed look at some of the top-performing UK breakdown cover providers in 2024, analysing their strengths and weaknesses to help you decide which is best for your needs. 

The best breakdown providers in the UK 2024

  • RAC
  • QDOS Breakdown
  • The AA
  • GEM Motoring Assist
  • Allianz Assistance
  • Motoreasy
  • Green Flag
In this guide

Car Breakdown Cover Prices Compared

This price comparison table is for illustrative purposes and quotes prices for both basic level and top-level personal breakdown cover for the UK only. This should allow you to evaluate your options and better understand which breakdown providers suit your budget. The prices included in the table are plans with no excess. 

For most providers, their basic level of cover only includes roadside assistance. The top-level cover will usually include roadside assistance, home start, national recovery, and onward journey services, with some offering more features. 

Provider

Basic Cover Price

Top Level Cover Price

RAC

£126.50 per year

£176 per year

QDOS Breakdown

£59.99 per year

£85.99 per year

The AA

£79 per year

£199 per year

GEM Motoring Assist

£78.50 per year

£96.66 per year

Allianz Assistance

£119.88 per year

*Need a quote

MotorEasy 

£36.30 per year

£86.04 per year

Green Flag 

£54.88 per year 

£108.64 per year

What are the different types of breakdown cover?

Before looking at the providers more in-depth, it’s essential to understand the different types of cover these businesses provide. Across the breakdown cover industry, you’ll usually have the option to take out two different types of cover: personal or vehicle. 

Although similar in that either option will help protect your car if it was to break down, the characteristics of each type of cover are unique, with each best suiting distinct situations and scenarios. 

Personal Breakdown Cover 

Personal breakdown cover is where you get cover for an individual. This means that regardless of the car you drive if you break down, you’ll be able to get help through your policy. 

This type of cover is great if you drive multiple cars in your daily life, such as one vehicle for work and one family vehicle. 

With a personal breakdown cover, you’re protected if you’re a passenger in someone else’s car. This means that even if you’re not driving, you’ll be able to get the help you need when you need it. 

Vehicle Breakdown Cover

Vehicle breakdown cover is where instead of getting the protection that covers an individual, it instead covers a specific car. This means that no matter who’s driving the car when it breaks down, you’ll be able to get assistance. 

This type of cover is great if you’re in a family that all share one vehicle. Instead of having to get cover for each person, you can instead just cover the car. This means that you only have one policy to worry about, which can make admin easier and reduce how much you have to pay. 

Of course, if you get vehicle cover and breakdown in a different car to the one you’ve insured, you won’t be able to access roadside assistance. 

Usually, most providers will give you a choice on if you want either personal or vehicle cover. However, some providers specialise in one type of cover and do not give you that option. This is something you’ll have to consider when selecting your cover.

What are the different levels of breakdown cover?

In addition to there being different types of breakdown cover, the cover you can get can also be broken down into different levels, with the basic level of cover being cheaper. In contrast, the more comprehensive level of cover is more expensive. 

What each provider offers in their basic level of cover is down to them. Some may only offer you the bare bones and then let you add on other features to your plan, while others include additional features as standard.

A few providers don’t even have what you’d consider a ‘basic’ level of cover, offering a comprehensive service for all their customers. 

To better understand what to expect from breakdown cover providers, here are the different levels of cover that you can usually get with each provider. 

Roadside Assistance

For most providers, their starting level of cover is roadside assistance. This is where you’ll be able to call out a mechanic to come to fix your vehicle at the side of the road. 

You can only enable roadside assistance if you break down more than 1/4 of a mile from your home. Plus, if you need to get your car towed to a garage for them to fix it there, you can only be towed up to 10 miles. 

Home-Start

Also known as Home Assitance, a home start is a level of cover that you can add to your basic plan where you’ll be able to call for a mechanic if your car breakdowns while at your home. 

This is a good bit of cover to have, as it means that if your car has a drained battery or other issues preventing it from getting started, a mechanic can come directly to your home to fix the issue and get you back on the road. 

To give them a competitive edge, some providers offer home start for free in their basic plan, but you’ll have to add it to your policy for most. 

National recovery

This level of cover allows you to have your car towed to any garage or location in the UK. This means that if you break down while travelling away from where you live, you can have your car sent to a garage closer to home. 

When adding this level of cover to your policy, some providers will need you to first add home assistance as well, while others will let you add just this single service to your plan. 

Onward journey

Onward journey is a level of cover where the breakdown provider will make arrangements to ensure that you can continue your travels while your car is getting repaired. This is usually done by providing you with a hire car. Providers can also organise public transport to get you home and even pay for hotel accommodation if your vehicle is being repaired in a garage away from home. 

Adding this level of cover to your plan, alongside all the other services, means that you’ll be able to get one of the most comprehensive levels of protection available. 

Many providers also include other features, such as European breakdown cover and tyres or key replacements. These additional features are add-ons and can be purchased when you need them, allowing you to create a more bespoke plan. 

After fully detailing how the best UK breakdown cover providers work and operate, here’s a look at how each provider performs to help you better understand which is best for you. 

RAC

RAC is the oldest breakdown provider currently active in the UK market, having first formed in the late 1800s. Alongside the AA, RAC has built up a good reputation among British motorists and remains one of the most popular choices for breakdown cover. 

You can get roadside assistance, at-home cover, national recovery, and onward journey services with RAC. 

What makes RAC breakdown cover stand out? 

With RAC breakdown cover, you will always get at-home serving, no matter what level of clever you choose. This means that even at the base level of cover, you get a more comprehensive policy when compared to many other competitors. 

RAC also offers legal advice to help motorists who may have been involved in an accident, which can be very useful during a stressful time. 

Plus, a membership with RAC gives you additional perks and discounts that can be used at various merchants in the UK. For example, you’ll be able to claim free hot drinks, money off gym memberships, discounts on fuel, and even cheaper MOTs. These additional perks provide greater value when getting breakdown cover with RAC.

How much does RAC breakdown cover cost? 

RAC has one of the most expensive basic level cover across all of the providers reviewed in this article, costing around £126 for personal cover for a single individual. It is possible to justify this price because of the added at-home protection that’s included in the price point, although even when compared to other policies that include this service, it does rank high. 

Interestingly, when comparing the most expensive plans for each provider, RAC is pretty cheap, costing nearly £170 a year. This is less than the AA, meaning it’s a good option if you’re looking for cover from one of the more established brands in the UK.

How long does RAC roadside assistance take? 

RAC aims to have its mechanics arrive at each call-out within an hour. However, despite these intentions, only 57.5% of mechanics get to a roadside breakdown within this timeframe. This is much worse than the AA. In fact, RAC is one of the worst-performing providers when it comes to call-out time. 

What is RAC’s success rate on call-outs?

When a RAC patrol van gets a call out, you can expect it to have a good chance of fixing your car on the side of the road without having to tow it to a garage. 

80% of vehicles are fixed on the roadside, which is comparable with the majority of other breakdown cover providers. However, sometimes these fixes will not be permanent and will need additional work at a garage at a later date. 

57.5% of broken-down cars are permanently fixed by a roadside mechanic provided by RAC, essentially identical to the AA, meaning that you can rely on RAC to fix your car once they arrive. 

RAC breakdown cover reviews

RAC has a score of 4.1 out of 5 on Trustpilot, meaning that it can be considered a great service. Over 84,000 people have left reviews for the RAC, indicating that this score can be trusted and is a good indicator of the brand’s quality. 

69% of reviewers gave RAC 5 stars, meaning that the majority of people have had a good experience with this brand. However, 16% of reviewers have issued a 1-star review, suggesting that they can be pretty bad when things go wrong. 

From these 1-star reviews, the common complaint is the lack of communication when waiting for roadside rescue. This may not be a problem if you are seen quickly; however, if you have to endure a long wait before a mechanic arrives, not having regular updates can be very frustrating.

rac-breakdown-cover.svg
Customer score