The AA, Green Flag and RAC are the companies that spring to mind when it’s time to renew your breakdown cover. But do they provide the best service and are there cheaper alternatives?
Taking the easy option and sticking with the same provider for another year rather than facing the rigmarole of shopping around is appealing. But we’ve discovered that staying put year after year may not be the best option.
It pays to shop around. Here’s how to go about securing a better, cheaper deal.
1. Don’t go without breakdown cover
You could be driving the most reliable car on the road and we’d still recommend you take out breakdown cover. The costs just aren’t worth the risk no matter how confident you are in your car’s durability.
We found that signing up for cover at the scene of a breakdown could set you back more than £400. On average, that’s four times more than the average comprehensive cover.
Find out which cars won’t let you down with our lists of the most reliable cars in each class.
2. Look beyond the big three providers
RAC, the AA and Green Flag may be the most well known, but that doesn’t make them the best. Our latest Which? car survey gathered information on 13 different companies and there are many more.
Don’t be put off because you haven’t heard of the company or its prices are lower than those of the more recognisable brands. Our survey found that some smaller companies offer an equal or better standard of cover than the big players.
Buy with confidence – click through to our breakdown cover providers guide to see the companies rated highest by customers and which arrive quickest.
3. Make sure you haggle
Haggling is a good idea when negotiating any deal, be it insurance, the price of your car or breakdown cover. It doesn’t matter if you’re renewing with the same provider or trying something new, it’s always worth haggling.
Ultimately, companies want your business and you’d be surprised what they are prepared to do to get it and keep it. Let your current provider know you’ve found a better deal to see if it will match it or at least improve your level of cover. Be careful not to get suckered in to paying the same money for additional cover you don’t want or need – if you want a cheaper rate you shouldn’t settle for less.
If it won’t budge on price go elsewhere, as our survey found there are plenty of options for getting excellent cover.
Don’t be nervous about haggling. Read our foolproof guide to how to haggle.
4. Are you buying a new car?
Most manufacturers have their own breakdown services and if you’re buying a new car the cover is often provided for free, so check whether you’re already covered.
Despite branding like Hondacare Assistance and Ford Assist it’s actually AA, RAC and Allianz who provide the cover – see the customer ratings in our breakdown providers guide to find out how good the cover is.
Looking for a new car? Narrow your search by checking out our Best Buy cars for each class.
5. Is breakdown cover provided by your bank?
If you have a ‘packaged’ bank account you may already have breakdown cover as part of it, so check what your account includes.
The Nationwide Flexaccount and NatWest Reward Platinum account both provide free cover in the UK – the Flexaccount even covers you in Europe. You may need to pay a monthly fee for the account, but this could be cheaper than paying for separate breakdown cover.
Find out which banks are offering the best rates and benefits with our best bank accounts guide.