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5 October 2021

AA breakdown cover review

The AA is one of the UK's biggest car breakdown services, but is it one of the best? Find out how thousands of AA customers rated it compared with other leading breakdown cover providers
JS
Joe Sharp
Best breakdown cover_ 442530

Now known to millions as The AA, The Automobile Association was founded in 1905 by a small group of motoring enthusiasts. The AA is now the largest UK breakdown provider, covering millions of members across the UK.

The AA has adapted its service to accommodate electric vehicles. Its Freewheeling Hub allows electric vehicles to be moved safely when they cannot be repaired at the roadside, so they can be taken to a charging point or garage at the soonest opportunity. The AA says this allows customers to get back on the road with the least interruption.

However, it's one of the most expensive car breakdown providers, compared with the other brands we analysed. Read on to find out whether its customers think the service is worth the price.


We surveyed thousands of motorists so we can reveal the best breakdown providers.


To unlock our results in the table below and reveal our full analysis, you can join Which?. You'll also get access to all of our online reviews, including our expert, independent new and used car reviews. 

Already a Which? member? Log in to see our results.

AA breakdown cover scores

Which? rating
Score
Total score
Total score rank (out of 12)
Customer score
Customer score rank (out of 12)
Arrived within an hour
Repaired at the roadside
Value for money
Knowledge of the mechanic
Courtesy of the mechanic
Helpfulness on the phone

All ratings based on responses from the 2021 Which? Car Survey (in field from April 2021 to June 2021). Feedback gathered from 8,430 respondents, all of whom said they had called out a breakdown service in the 12 months prior to answering the survey. AA customer score sample size: 2,313

AA levels of breakdown cover

Rather than offering set policy levels, the AA lets you to choose to include at-home cover, national recovery, onward travel and parts or garage cover in any combination you choose, along with compulsory roadside assistance.

This table includes some of the possible combinations you might choose:

Policy name:
Roadside Assistance
Roadside Assistance & At Home
Roadside Assistance, At Home & National Recovery
Roadside Assistance, At Home, National Recovery & Onward Travel
Service provided by
AA
AA
AA
AA
Roadside assistance included
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
At-home assistance included
Optional extra
Yes
Yes
Yes
Nationwide recovery included
Optional extra
Optional extra
Yes
Yes
Maximum callouts per year
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Parts and labour covered for repairs
Labour & £5 parts
Labour & £5 parts
Labour & £5 parts
Labour & £5 parts
Towing distance limit
20 miles
20 miles
Unlimited
Unlimited
European cover
No
No
No
No
Onward travel included
Optional extra
Optional extra
Optional extra
Yes

Table last updated in September 2021.  

Additional features

  • Key replacement cover can be added to a policy as an optional extra for an additional premium.
  • Battery replacement cover can be added to a policy as an optional extra for an additional premium.
  • Emergency overnight accommodation is included if you purchase onward travel cover.
  • AA smartphone app.
  • Smart breakdown - a device that connects to your smartphone that can alert you to faults and give you access to technical help and will help the AA identify what's wrong with your car and where you are if you break down. It's compatible with most cars manufactured from 2005 onwards.
  • If you're travelling with pets when you break down, the AA will still attend your vehicle. Pets will normally be transported in the cab of the patrol vehicle, although this will be at the discretion of the patrol operator. If the pet cannot be transported in the cab (there is not enough room or the animal is agitated, for instance) then it can be towed in the broken-down vehicle if you're happy it is safe, or the AA will assist you in finding alternative transport for it.

How much does AA breakdown cover cost?

Policy name:
Roadside Assistance
Roadside Assistance & At Home
Roadside Assistance, At Home & National Recovery
Roadside Assistance, At Home, National Recovery & Onward Travel
New customer price (per year):
£59
£119
£139
£169
Excess:
No excess
No excess
No excess
No excess
Auto renewal - opt-out necessary:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes​​​​

Price collected in July 2021 and is representative of a retired 61-year-old man living in Brighton, with a Ford Fiesta 5-dr hatchback, with a 1.0 Ford EcoBoost 125PS (92kW) petrol engine, Titanium trim, registered as new 1 Jan 2020.

These prices are for vehicle-specific cover. You can also buy these policies as personal cover, which will cover specified people if any car they are travelling in breaks down, although it's likely to cost a little more.

AA breakdown cover can be purchased online or over the phone direct from the AA and from the following price comparison websites:

  • CBS (comparebreakdowncover.co.uk)
  • Nerdwallet
  • Finder
  • PocketRate
  • Money.co.uk

To avoid unnecessary costs, read our guide to buying the best breakdown cover.

AA breakdown cover: pros and cons

Pros

  • AA's mix-and-match approach lets you tailor your policy so it only includes the cover you want.
  • Unlimited callouts.
  • Covered if you break down due to lack of maintenance (eg not changing oil)

Cons

  • One of the most expensive breakdown cover providers in our analysis. 
  • No cover if you put the wrong fuel in your car (misfuelling).
  • Only £5 cover for parts used in repairs.

Does the AA provide European breakdown cover?

The AA offers single-trip and annual European breakdown cover, which include recovery to a garage, costs of recovery back to the UK if repairs cannot be completed before departure date along with up to £1,500 for alternative travel, £50,000 in legal costs and emergency overnight accommodation up to £500.

There is no limit to the number of claims that can be made on any Single Trip policy, and up to three claims may be made per year on any annual policy.

European breakdown cover must have been arranged before leaving the UK. However, the AA can still offer a quote for one-off breakdown assistance for a single callout.

If you break down while driving in Europe, you will need to call one of the following numbers:

  • Republic of Ireland - 00800 88 77 66 44
  • Europe - 0044 (0) 121 33 66 289

For expert advice on Covid guidelines, vaccine passports and post Brexit rules, read our guide to travelling abroad in 2021.

Does the AA provide cover for other vehicles?

The AA offers breakdown cover for motorcycles, vans and electric vehicles.

For more information, visit the AA website.

How do I contact the AA?

If you are unfortunate enough to have broken down, you can call the AA for assistance on 0800 887766.

You can report a breakdown by email or by using the AA app, which can track the progress of the breakdown patrol vehicle on your mobile phone.

The AA app also allows you to plan a route, get real-time traffic and roadworks updates, find parking and electric vehicle charging station locations, identify warning lights if they appear on your dashboard and access AA Smart Benefits exclusive to members.

How do I cancel my AA breakdown cover?

If you wish to cancel your breakdown cover or membership, you will need to contact AA Customer Services on 0344 209 0754.

A cancellation fee of £20 may apply.

If, for instance, you have bought a new car which comes with breakdown cover included, AA members can put their policy on hold for a maximum of five years and then reactivate-it.

What else does The AA cover?

Find out more about whether The AA's other services are worth your money:  

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