GEM Motor Assist breakdown cover review
Freedom to use preferred garage/mechanic
GEM Motoring Assist – more commonly referred to as just ‘GEM’ – is an award-winning breakdown cover provider that was founded as a road safety association in 1932, before beginning to offer independent breakdown assistance more than 30 years ago.
They claim to offer policies up to 46% cheaper than their competitors, providing what they state to be ‘the best breakdown cover available on a budget’.
Unlike other breakdown cover providers, GEM Motoring Assist only offer fully comprehensive emergency breakdown cover.
Rather than offering various levels of cover on top of basic roadside assistance, GEM offer 2 different packages which both include:
- Roadside assistance – emergency repairs at roadside
- Nationwide recovery – recovery of you and your vehicle to anywhere in the UK
- Home start – covers you at or within a quarter-of-a-mile of your home
- Onward travel – help with travel/accommodation if you can’t get home
- Club membership – quarterly magazines, discounts and advice
The key difference between their 2 breakdown cover packages is that, for a cheaper annual premium, you have the choice of reclaiming any appropriate repair and recovery costs after paying for them yourself. Their more expensive package, on the other hand, would take care of this for you.
Also unlike other providers, they only offer personal breakdown cover and not vehicle breakdown cover. This means that they will cover you personally for any vehicle you drive, rather than an individual vehicle.
If you’d like to learn more about emergency breakdown cover and the different kinds of policies available, read our Complete Guide to Breakdown Cover here.
Both of GEM Motoring Assist’s UK emergency breakdown cover packages come as standard with the following features:
- Fully comprehensive breakdown cover (roadside assistance, nationwide recovery, home start & onward travel all included)
- Cover available for up to 4 people at the same address
- Unlimited callouts
- Cover for vehicles of any age, including cars, classic cars, motorbikes, motorhomes, towed caravans and vans up to 2,500kgs.
- Cover against driver illness if you become too ill to drive mid-trip
- Cover as a passenger, if the vehicle belongs to you
However, their policies do not provide cover for:
- The cost of parts, components or materials used in the repair of a vehicle
- Assistance outside of the UK
- Repair and labour costs other than an hour’s labour at roadside
- A breakdown which has occurred prior to purchase
GEM’s ‘Recovery EXTRA’ policy is their most popular cover, taking care of everything that you would expect an emergency breakdown cover provider to take care of with a quick call to their Rescue Control Centre.
They will arrange for a mechanic to come out and fix your vehicle, as well as arranging for the transportation of you and your vehicle to a UK location of your choice.
If needed, they will provide you with a hire car to continue your journey, overnight accommodation or reimbursed public transport funds.
GEM’s ‘Recovery RECLAIM’ policy is slightly different to those offered elsewhere and allows you to choose your own specialist garage or be seen by a preferred mechanic.
In order to do this, you are required to pay for your repair or recovery yourself and claim back the appropriate costs afterwards.
If you are far from home or do not have access to your preferred garage or mechanic, you still have the choice of calling GEM’s 24-hour Rescue Control Centre if you’d like them to source assistance from their nearest approved garage – help will usually arrive within 40 minutes.
You pay for your costs of recovery or repair by card before filling in a claims form from the GEM Motoring Assist website, with claims usually processed on the day of receipt and reimbursement issued within 48 hours.
GEM Motoring Assist do not provide European breakdown cover themselves, put work closely with travel insurance providers P J Hayman to provide a discounted European breakdown cover policy.
With an extra 10% discount for GEM members, the European breakdown insurance provides:
- Cover in 35 European countries
- 24 hour roadside assistance and vehicle recovery breakdown cover provided by Allianz Global Assistance
- Cover for vehicles up to 15 years old
- The choice of either a single trip (up to 90 days) or annual policy
- Optional cover for towed trailers and caravans
- Up to £2,000 towards a hire vehicle if you break down before you leave or while in Europe
- Up to £450 (£45 p/night) towards emergency accommodation
- Up to £750 towards getting your vehicle back to the UK
For more information on your European breakdown cover policy, be sure to read your insurance policy thoroughly.
Members of GEM Motoring Assist are provided with a range of benefits in the way of services and discounts, both vehicle-related and otherwise. These include:
- Motor-related discounts for services such as car insurance, additional driving courses, vehicle inspection and car hire.
- Discounts for other services such as home insurance, health insurance, medical services, airport parking and hotels.
- Free subscription to ‘Good Motoring’ – a quarterly magazine offering a range of features, interviews and news from critically-acclaimed journalists and industry experts.
- £20 M&S voucher if you refer a friend.
Fully comprehensive breakdown cover (roadside assistance, nationwide recovery, home start and onward travel all included).
GEM will source and fund your recovery, as well as any necessary onward travel.
1 Person: £96.66/year
2 People: £129.21/year
3 People: £184.69/year
4 People: £184.69/year
Fully comprehensive breakdown cover (Roadside Assistance, Nationwide Recovery, Home start & Onward Travel all included).
Pay for recovery yourself, but claim back necessary costs through the GEM website.
1 Person: £78.50/year
2 People: £98.86/year
3 People: £143.15/year
4 People: £143.15/year
European breakdown cover
Roadside assistance and vehicle recovery breakdown cover in 35 European countries, provided by Allianz Global Assistance.
GEM members get 10% off.
Prices vary depending on your vehicle and policy type.
- Comprehensive cover at a good price, when compared to competitors
- Unlimited callouts
- Freedom to use preferred garage/mechanic if preferred
- Useful extra benefits
- Lack of optional extras, when compared to competitors
- Only cover costs for one hour’s roadside assistance (after mechanic’s arrival)
- No option to cover the cost of parts, components or materials used in the repair of a vehicle
GEM has a smartphone app for both Android and Apple devices – albeit one which hasn’t been updated in some time – offering limited services.
- ‘Assist Me’ feature allows provider to send help to your exact location.
- Renewal date reminder 3 weeks prior.
- Outdated – last update for both iOS and Android was published more than 2 years ago.
- Slow – frequently crashes/closes down.
- Extremely limited (at best!) availability of traffic updates.
When does my breakdown cover start?
The earliest that your cover will start is midnight of the day after purchase. You can also choose a specific date up to 2 months in advance.
Is there a GEM breakdown recovery operator near me?
GEM work with a nationwide network of 446+ approved independent recovery operators, so one of their recovery services should not be too far away from you.
How quick is GEM’s roadside assistance?
Response times can vary depending on the time of day, location and the weather, but GEM will aim to have an approved recovery service at your side within 40 minutes of contacting their Rescue Control Centre.
Do GEM provide breakdown cover for business vehicles?
Not specifically, but their personal breakdown cover protects you for any vehicle you break down in.
Can you pay monthly for GEM breakdown cover?
No. GEM only accept annual payments for their policy, which can be purchased online or over the phone.
Can I buy breakdown cover with PayPal?
Yes, GEM accepts PayPal payments on their website.
Can I cancel my GEM breakdown cover?
You can cancel your GEM breakdown cover at any time, but will only be refunded if you do so within 14 days of your policy starting, without requesting a callout within that time.
Customer reviews from reputable and accredited sites like Trustpilot give a fairly good representation of what you can expect from your breakdown provider.
GEM Motoring Assist have over 100 reviews on Trustpilot and average 4 out of 5 stars in their ratings. Trustpilot labels this score as ‘Great’.
Recent reviews are complimentary of the ‘excellent service’ provided by GEM Motoring Assist employees over the phone, with happy customers ranging from those with classic cars and motorbikes to campervans.
Their response rate to comments on Tripadvisor is also good, with most reviews responded to with an attempt to resolve an issue within 24 hours.
There are, however, reviews which accuse GEM Motoring Assist of sending inadequately prepared recovery services to the location of a breakdown, causing further delay.
Generally, all breakdown cover providers will encounter issues in some cases, so it is better to take a look at a range of ratings and reviews, rather than just individual ones.
- Defaqto – 5/5 for both ‘Recovery EXTRA’ & ‘Recovery RECLAIM’ policies
- AutoExpress have labelled them as the best breakdown provider in the UK for 2018, placing them ahead of other popular providers such as the AA, GreenFlag and RAC.
If you have a membership with Wish? you will also be able to see a host of reputable reviews on GEM’s breakdown cover there.
If you break down and are covered by GEM, there are a number of ways to get in touch with them:
- Phone – Call 0330 999 2505, open 24/7.
- App – Use the GEM Motoring Assist app to inform them of a breakdown.
If you have a Recovery RECLAIM policy, you can either contact GEM directly or contact your preferred mechanic or garage. Once you have had your vehicle recovered/repaired, you can then claim your reimbursement on the GEM website.