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Aug 18, 2007


MILLIONS of drivers will take to the roads for the great Bank Holiday getaway next weekend.

But with one in five having no breakdown cover, there are sure to be plenty of motorists stranded by the roadside.

Those who don't have cover could end up paying a hefty call-out fee of up to pounds 100 at peak times in the UK, plus anything between pounds 2 and pounds 25 a mile for recovery of a broken-down car. These costs can be even more expensive if you are driving abroad.

And even people who do have cover often fail to shop around for the best deals. Our table on the right shows some of the best-buy comprehensive breakdown cover policies for the UK and Europe.

Richard Mason, of comparison website, said: "Motorists can avoid wasting precious holiday time on the hard shoulder by ensuring they have adequate breakdown insurance. It is important to choose not only the most competitive policy, but one which is comprehensive enough for your needs.

"UK breakdown policies do not automatically provide cover for driving abroad, so those planning to cross the Channel should check they have the appropriate cover. After all, the last thing you want is to stump up an exorbitant call-out fee or organise your own recovery service while stranded abroad."

As well as taking out comprehensive cover, if you are planning on taking your car overseas you should also check you are covered in case you have an accident. Look at the small print of your policy to see if it includes foreign use.

This will either be included as standard, or it can be purchased as an optional extension.

A spokesman for consumer finance website said: "If it is included as standard, your insurer may stipulate that you are covered for a maximum of 90 days driving abroad in total per year, but that each trip must not exceed 30 days.

"So if you were on an extended driving holiday, you would have to return to the UK at the end of 30 days to maintain cover. If this were not feasible, you would need to arrange extended cover at the outset."

You may find your insurance policy includes breakdown cover, but this often doesn't extend to Europe. Only 10 per cent of policies include European breakdown cover and 24 per cent offer this as an option at extra cost. Some providers, such as M&S Car Insurance, include this cover as standard for both UK and Europe, but usually you have to pay extra.

James Harrison, of Insurance, said: "Before you scour the market for a separate breakdown policy, check whether your existing car insurance covers you and to what extent.

"If you are not covered and need to add breakdown on to your existing policy, it won't necessarily be cheaper with your existing insurer.

Be very clear what you want to be covered - don't blindly make do with the cheapest policy."


Based on comprehensive annual cover for man, 25, driving 2001 car 12,000 miles a year

Provider Premium

UK BREAKDOWN COVER* pounds 31.00**

First Call pounds 32.00

Europ-Assistance* pounds 41.30

GEM Motoring Assist pounds 60.75


Drive 24/7 pounds 76.50

First Call pounds 76.95

Car Breakdown Discounts pounds 89.00

* exclusive ** pounds 40 excess for each and every claim


(c) 2007 Sunday Mirror; London. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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