As far as my car is concerned, I have relied on keeping it on the road by having it annually serviced and MOT-d – as well as it being a solid, boring, Japanese-built tank. I didn’t have breakdown cover. I thought it was a waste of money. After what happened last week I do now.
Said car refused to start when I picked up the boy from after school football on Friday night. It just spluttered and died. I thought about enlisting a few sixth formers to give me a push but being a diesel model, apparently that doesn’t work. So I got my brother to come out with his jump leads and hey presto, the car started working again. I’ve now bought a new battery (online, much cheaper) and cashed in more of my family favours and got my brother to fit it.
And because of the experience, I now have breakdown cover. It’s from Axa – I went via Moneysupermarket.com – and cost about £38. I really hope I never have to use it, but at least if the car fails far from home or even outside my own front door I can call on it. As is common with this type of policy, cover doesn’t start straight away but 24 hours after I took it out. Really cheap breakdown cover is probably not worth it – one policy I saw which cost less than £20 had a 48 hour wait period, was limited to one call out a year and there was no home or local rescue.
But if you want immediate coverage, breakdown cover can be frighteningly expensive. Many years and cars ago, one of my tyres burst on the M4 in the dark on Christmas Eve. Of course I didn’t have cover – so I joined the AA from the roadside. I can’t remember how much it cost – it was definitely three figures – but at the time it felt a small price to pay as it was a pretty terrifying experience waiting at the side of the motorway at night.
What with Christmas and all the to-ing and fro-ing across country to visit friends and relatives, it’s worth making sure you have cover – do check before buying that you don’t already have it as part of your motor insurance policy. That’s where most sensible drivers get it from....
See our guide to car insurance here