Breakdown cover for older cars and vehicles

Classic car broken down at the side of the road.

A breakdown can occur at any time to anyone, but if you have an older vehicle, it is fair to say that you’re at an increased risk.

Breakdown cover is the perfect car insurance add-on, giving you peace of mind in knowing that – should your car, motorbike or van grind to a halt – you’ll be back on the open road in no time at all.

The problem is that breakdown cover does tend to be more expensive for older vehicles, simply because they are more likely to run into problems over the course of your policy – but there are a few ways in which you can limit the cost of your cover.

What is breakdown cover and what does it include?

Also known as breakdown insurance, car breakdown cover is a level of insurance which financially protects you against vehicle-related faults that have not been caused by a road traffic accident.

It is most commonly used by people who have suffered a flat tyre or issues with their battery, while some levels of breakdown cover will also protect against misfuelling and lost or damaged keys. You can even purchase European breakdown cover to provide security whilst travelling abroad.

To find out more about breakdown cover, head over to Bobatoo’s guides on breakdown cover.

Cover for older cars – personal cover or vehicle cover?

When it comes to taking out breakdown cover for an older vehicle, there are a few things you should bear in mind.

One of the first questions people ask is: does breakdown insurance cover me or my vehicle?

To put it simply, personal breakdown cover is intended to cover one person in any car they drive, while vehicle breakdown cover covers one single car no matter who is driving.

There are some breakdown cover providers that will not offer cover on vehicles older than 16 years old, while some offer stricter 10-year restrictions, so make sure you fully understand the terms of your policy before agreeing to it.

When you take out a personal breakdown cover policy, there are also likely to be some restrictions as to what vehicles you are covered in – these restrictions will include an age limit, usually between 10 and 16 years.

Classic car breakdown cover

Once your vehicle reaches a certain age, it will become known as a ‘classic car’. These are placed into a different category altogether.

According to HMRC, any vehicle that is aged at least 15 years and worth in excess of £15,000 is considered to be a ‘classic car’.

Many providers offer specialist breakdown cover for classic cars, specifically designed for those wanting cover for their vintage motors.

You can find out whether or not your car qualifies as a ‘classic’ here.

Breakdown cover for older campervans

If you have a retro campervan that you want to cover against breakdowns then you’ll probably need to take out specialist cover as most mainstream providers will not be willing take the risk of your van breaking down.

If you only use your campervan for a short period of time (such as for a holiday), you might want to consider taking out a temporary breakdown cover policy to avoid paying the annual rate.

Which breakdown cover is best? Should I buy the cheapest breakdown cover?

The best breakdown cover is not always the cheapest – in fact, unsurprisingly, cheap breakdown cover can be very limited.

The best breakdown cover is one that comes with a range of optional extras (such as home start breakdown cover, misfuelling cover and onward travel), but this usually comes at a premium.

For your older car, we would recommend that you pull out all of the stops to ensure that you are covered – no matter how reliable your vehicle has been, there is always a chance that it could fail on you.

But is breakdown cover worth it for older vehicles? If you drive them on the regular then we’d certainly say so – older cars are statistically more likely to encounter problems on the road and having a breakdown cover policy in place could save you a lot of hassle, time and, not to mention, money.

Where to find breakdown cover for older vehicles

Your first port-of-call should always be a price comparison website like Confused.comMoneySupermarket or GoCompare – these sites will narrow down your choices, aiding the decision-making process.

You should also enquire about a specialist breakdown cover provider that may offer you a better package for your older vehicle.

For more information on breakdown cover and to read our reviews of companies that offer it, visit our main breakdown page here.

Related articles:

What to do if you break down in the UK

Multi-car and family breakdown cover

Breakdown cover FAQs