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As the vehicles that consumers drive around in change and become updated in line with technological and automotive developments, so too do the ways in which those vehicles require different standards of breakdown cover and support.
Breakdown cover is essentially a form of insurance which covers the consumer and their vehicle and makes sure that they are entitled to support and assistance, should they breakdown at the side of a road. In assessing the value of various breakdown cover deals and packages, consumers will find themselves faced with a wide range of different options; each promising varying levels of cover which begin with the most basic cover and move upwards to include additional features and service provisions.
As a standard, breakdown cover entitles the consumer to a call out vehicle which will assess the problem with the vehicle and either do what they can to provide a solution, or else provide assistance in getting the vehicle to a garage if it needs further work. Beyond this, the cover that any given consumer gets will depend on the package that they are signed up to and which provider they have decided to get their breakdown cover with.
One of the interesting things to note about the breakdown cover industry is that not only does it provide support in an area that most consumers know little about, but it also capitalises on the idea that the average consumer has little idea about what kind of cover they need – until they suddenly have a reason to find out. A quick search on the internet for information about the breakdown cover industry throws up almost as many questions as it does answers and facts – with entire sites and forums dedicated to consumers looking for answers to their most common questions: for example “What kind of breakdown cover do I need?”
The responses to these kinds of questions are often concealed sales pitches, with very few receiving unbiased answers. It is this uncertainty which many breakdown cover providers are capitalising on in the industry, guiding consumers towards the highest levels of cover in the event that they might, perhaps, one day, need it.
And that is how the breakdown cover industry - just like many other insurance industries - works. It is essentially an industry which is built on the idea of protecting consumer interests in the event that something should go wrong.
First thing’s first, breakdown cover is not a legal requirement and while it is strongly advised, it is not something that consumers have to invest in. And many don’t! The fact is that for those who decide not to invest in breakdown cover, the potential of expensive garage bills if you do breakdown is high, and you are likely to be waiting for a long time to receive any kind of help if you breakdown at the side of a road. Investing in breakdown cover is just that – an investment – but it is not just financial, it is also an investment in your own peace of mind and the knowledge that if anything happens to your vehicle while you are out on the road, you won’t have any problems in being looked after.
We have done a lot of the legwork so that you don’t have to – bringing to light some of the features and things that consumers can expect to get across the different level of breakdown cover.
Of course, much of this information will be dependent on the cover provider you decide to go with, however for the most part these are the different elements of cover and assistance that you can expect to get and can often add to any existing policy as distinct areas of focus to tailor your own policy in line with your needs.
For those consumers who are accustomed to and familiar with their own level of breakdown cover, there will likely be a few names on the following list which stand out. Most consumers are covered by one of the big names in the industry as these are the providers offering the most benefits at the best prices. Top names include:
The fact is that while you may choose to go to a small local garage to get your vehicle service, repaired and upgraded, it is one of the big names which will be providing the insurance to allow you to do so – mainly because they have the huge backlog of resources to support a multitude of consumers.
It is also worth noting that many of these breakdown cover providers are big names in other industries as well, mainly the insurance industry which covers a multitude of different scenarios and provides consumers with ongoing support in the face of different challenges across daily life.
One of the first things we observed in this article is that vehicles are changing and updating all the time – and so the provision of breakdown cover is also having to change alongside those vehicle upgrades. A major example of this is the rise in electric vehicles across the UK and on a global scale, with more and more consumers opting for electric vehicles due to the support promised by governments which make the upgrade a cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions, as well as the promise of hugely reduced ongoing running costs. Electric vehicles operate in a different way to traditional motor cars, calling for different levels of expertise when it comes to repairs and often causing problems in very different ways when compared with motor cars. As a result, breakdown cover operators are having to train their mechanics in different ways – educating them on the safe running oh high voltage batteries so that they are able to look at and assess any damage to electric vehicle batteries, as well inducting them into the safety precautions added to these vehicles in line with the construction and build.
Another trend in the breakdown cover industry, and one which is especially popular with long standing consumers, is the rise in providers which are offering discounts and added benefits to consumers who have been with them for an extended period of time. A great example of this is The AA, which is arguably the most widely used breakdown cover provider in the industry and which now offers members a chance to move from standard membership to silver and gold membership over time – giving them access not only to more features within their package deal, but also extending the benefits outside of the breakdown cover industry to include restaurant deals and retail discounts. This relates to another trend which is making the breakdown cover industry more popular and highly regarded with consumers – its partnership without outside industries and the fact that in today’s market, an AA membership card can get you a discount in any service station eatery or retail store to support deals on the move.
Another growing trend in the breakdown cover industry is the rise in providers and companies which have designed and created apps to increase convenience for their members and consumers – creating a central hub of information where members can read and access all of their cover features and information in one place, and ensuring that members are always able to contact their provider through a call or messaging no matter where they are. These apps also work with smartphone location systems to help the provider and mechanic pinpoint the location of the broken down car, creating more of a seamless process of breakdown recovery; one which works independent of the amount of signal that the consumer may have in their breakdown location.
And then we have the growing trend which sees breakdown cover being used as a benefit in itself – with everything from banks to new car dealerships using breakdown cover as one of the many benefits they can offer to consumers who choose to bank with or purchase a new car through them. An example of this can be seen across many top car makes and brands, with the brands partnering with breakdown cover providers to offer consumers a chance to access everything from basic to premium packages free of charge. This is used to entice consumers to purchase a car through a specific make or dealership, just as it can also be used as a premium benefit for those willing to change banks or sign up to new accounts. What this trend in particular does is tap into the idea that breakdown cover is a luxury that consumers should not be forced to invest in but which they should be willing to consider as a precaution in the face of future challenges or issues with their vehicle.
To look at the breakdown cover industry as a whole is to view the industry and its offering as a luxury but one which is linked intrinsically with necessity. Consumers who do not invest in breakdown cover are inevitably facing much heftier bills and fees should they require breakdown support in the future – thus, the spend associated with signing up for and paying ongoing membership fees to various breakdown cover providers is an investment which can actually save money in the long term. With providers now allowing consumers to tailor their own package deals in line with what they think they will need, how many drivers they want to cover and how many vehicles they have, the opportunity for savings and discounts are rife – with many homes choosing to cover more than one vehicle under the same breakdown cover package in order to benefit from additional savings. And the deals expand beyond the breakdown industry itself, encompassing everything from food and drink to experience days and car parts thanks to the partnerships created between breakdown cover providers and third party businesses.
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