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How to save money on breakdown cover

christmas carAlong with the rest of the country at least part of our Christmas holiday will be spent chugging up and down motorways visiting friends and relations. My car is a boring reliable Japanese tank but this time last year it refused to start - embarrassingly enough in the school car park. After that, I bought breakdown cover for £48.50. I haven’t used it at all over the last 12 months and I’ve just realised that it’s run out.

I don’t know how much it would cost to renew with my existing provider. They did call me the other day but I was in the middle of something else so I’ve no idea if they were going to make me an offer. So I decided as they haven’t called me back, they don’t want me - or, more likely, they aren’t going to waste their time chasing a policy costing less than £50. Instead I went to www.moneysupermarket.com* (other comparison sites are available including www.comparethemarket.com* and www.confused.com) and put in my details. And my, isn’t breakdown complicated? My cheapest quote was £22 a year but for that, there’s an excess of £30 and I can only have six call-outs a year. However, the next cheapest - £23.10 – doesn’t have an excess but only allows one call out a year which is a bit too low, I think. Both these policies would give me national cover, home start and onward journey (so they won’t leave me by the roadside if the car is beyond repair). As I don’t usually drive very far, I don’t need limitless call-outs and of course I haven’t had a single call out this year. And I can stand a bit of an excess.

But I haven’t gone for one of the real bargain basement quotes. Firstly, I’ve never heard of the companies involved. Secondly the two cheapest quotes have low star ratings on Defaqto – two stars for the cheapest and just one for the second lowest. Instead, I’m going for a plan – again with an insurer I’ve never heard of – costing £30.99. It gives me up to six, excess-free call outs a year and covers home/national and onward. And it’s got a four star Defaqto rating. Obviously the only way to test out if it’s good cover is to claim – fingers crossed I don’t have to.

I do wonder why people spend huge sums on this cover: you can easily pay three figures on it unless you shop around. I never used to bother with breakdown cover reasoning that having my car regularly serviced was enough. Now my car is ageing I do see that it’s important to have cover – and frankly it would be a bit mad not to when it’s only costing £30.99. What’s really important, particularly with breakdown cover, is not to take the renewal quote without at least trying to see if you can pay less. According to Moneysavingexpert (see this very comprehensive guide) it’s easy to negotiate a deal on breakdown cover. But getting the balance between a bargain price and quality cover is the challenge: I hope I’ve got it right.

And see our guide to car insurance here

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Saturday, 20 April 2019