RAC breakdown cover review

4/5 vehicle fixed at roadside

RAC Key Return

Van-for-van replacements

RAC logo

Who are RAC?

RAC has been trading since 1897, now boasting what they claim to be ‘the world’s most advanced computer systems to deal with calls for roadside assistance’.

While they have branched out into other products such as home and car insurance, RAC’s main focus is on breakdowns, with policies covering everything from motorbikes to European roadtrips.

RAC website home page


Breakdown insurance packages – what they have to offer

RAC offer the three core levels of breakdown cover: roadside assistance, vehicle recovery and onward travel. They claim that their basic roadside assistance service fixes 80% of all breakdowns at the side of the road, within an average time of 30 minutes. For the 20% that they can’t fix, their vehicle recovery policy allows for you to be taken wherever you need to go in the UK.

If upgrading to their vehicle recovery policy, you also get the option of bumping yourself up to an onward travel policy free of charge, meaning that RAC will attempt to provide you with either a hire car, overnight accommodation or up to £150 per person towards public transport costs.

They also offer home start breakdown cover, promising to tow you up to 10 miles to a garage should your vehicle break down within a quarter-of-a-mile away from your home address.

They offer both personal and vehicle breakdown cover, allowing you to tailor your policy to fit your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about breakdown cover and the different kinds of policies available, read our Complete Guide to Breakdown Cover here.

UK Breakdown Cover

An umbrella term for all of their UK breakdown cover policies, RAC’s UK breakdown cover can be adjusted to suit your needs.

  • Roadside assistance with every policy – 4/5 vehicles with RAC emergency breakdown cover are fixed roadside and within 30 minutes.
  • Upgrade to vehicle recovery – Upgrading to vehicle recovery will allow you and your vehicle to be taken anywhere in the UK if you break down.
  • FREE onward travel – Bump up your cover to onward travel for free when you choose vehicle recovery.
  • Key replacements – Also get up to £1500 of cover on vehicle or house keys, new lock fittings and resetting alarms and immobilisers when you add key replace to your policy. It’s free with vehicle recovery until June 26, 2019.
  • ‘At home’ cover – For an extra £2/month, make sure that you are covered against breakdowns within a quarter-of-a-mile of your home.
  • Personal cover – For an extra £1/month, upgrade to cover yourself in any vehicle that you drive.
  • 20 mile taxi – After breakdown included on all cover level – As well as getting your car to a garage, RAC will pay a taxi fare for you and any passengers for a journey lasting up to 20 miles.

European Breakdown Cover

RAC’s European breakdown cover is available as either a standard or premium package, offering varying levels of support. They also offer short-term breakdown cover in Europe if you don’t require a full year of cover.

Standard European Breakdown Cover

  • Available in 49 countries across the continent, available to purchase for either a single trip or the whole year
  • Valid for 1 claim in Europe only
  • Will pay up to £500 to get your vehicle back to the UK
  • Will pay up to £1,250 towards costs of towing your vehicle to a garage for repairs
  • Will pay up to £150 towards labour costs when repairs are completed on the same day as breakdown
  • Either a hire car or accommodation provided whilst vehicle is in for repair
  • Covers up to 9 people
  • No Roadside Assistance in the UK
  • No hire car for if you break down in the UK and cannot take your own vehicle to Europe

Comprehensive European Breakdown Cover

  • Available in 49 EU countries and you can get cover for either a single trip or the whole year
  • Only 1 claim can be made in the UK and 1 claim in Europe per trip
  • Will pay up to your car’s market value to get it back to the UK
  • Will cover all costs of towing your vehicle to a garage for repairs
  • Up to £150 labour costs covered if repairs are completed on the same day of breaking down
  • RAC will provide a hire car or accommodation for you during the time your vehicle is in for repair
  • Up to 9 people covered
  • Roadside Assistance in the UK up to 48 hours before departure
  • Hire car for 6 days if you break down in the UK and you are unable to take your own vehicle to Europe

Comprehensive Plus European Breakdown Cover

A screenshot of what RAC offer

Motorbike Breakdown Cover

RAC’s Motorbike Breakdown Cover is almost identical to that offered for cars and can be personalised to meet your needs.

  • Roadside assistance – 4/5 vehicles are fixed roadside and within 30 minutes.
  • Upgrade to vehicle recovery – By doing this, you and your vehicle can be taken anywhere in the UK in the event of a breakdown.
  • FREE onward travel – upgrade your policy to have onward travel at no extra cost when choosing vehicle recovery.
  • Key Replace – Up to £1500 of cover is provided on vehicle or house key replacements, new lock fittings and resetting alarms and immobilisers when you add this to your policy. If you choose vehicle recover, it’s free – only until June 26, 2019.
  • ‘At home’ cover – For an extra £2 a month, this covers you against breakdowns that occur within a quarter-of-a-mile of your home.
  • Personal cover – For an extra £1 per month, upgrade to cover yourself.

Breakdown Cover for Business Vehicles

RAC’s Business Breakdown Cover allows you to cover any specified driver of your business vehicles.

  • Cover available for cars, vans, taxis, motorcycles, minibuses and trucks.
  • Fixed prices for 2 years – Get a fixed price on a policy for 2 years, avoiding potential annual renewal increases.
  • Van-for-van replacement – RAC is the only provider who can offer you a van-for-van or car-for-car replacement with their onward travel policy.
  • Online vehicle management – Manage MOTs, services, repairs and more with access to RAC’s Business Club, fleet management tools and member benefits.
  • Free months – Get up to 5 months free – spread over the length of your policy – when buying online, depending on your chosen level of cover.

Family and Multi-Car Breakdown Cover

RAC’s Family and Multi-car Breakdown Cover provides cover for anybody who is named on a family breakdown cover policy, or anybody who drives a vehicle registered to on a multi-car breakdown cover policy.

Family Breakdown Cover

  • Provide comprehensive breakdown cover to family members, whether they are a driver or passenger.
  • Name up to 5 people on a family breakdown cover policy.
  • Save money on purchasing several individual policies.

Multi-Car Breakdown Cover

  • Get breakdown cover for up to 3 vehicles registered to one address under a single policy.
  • Save time and money on taking out several individual policies.
  • Perfect if you have more than one vehicle registered to your address.

Other Benefits

Members of RAC are provided with a range of benefits in the way of services and discounts, both vehicle-related and otherwise.


  • Accident care – Whether you were at fault or not, RAC can come to your assistance if you have an accident.
  • Legal advice – Free, 24/7 legal advice on anything from writing a will to buying a house.
  • Key return – Attach your free RAC keyfob to your keys and somebody can send them straight back to you by posting them into a post box.


  • Car maintenance discounts – Save up to 50% on car maintenance with registered garages.
  • Days out – Save as much as 54% on days out at some of the UK’s most popular attractions.
  • Travel extras – Save up to 25% on travel extras from UK breaks to airport parking and travel insurance.
  • Member prize draw – Be entered into a monthly draw to win trips around the world.


How much does RAC breakdown cover cost?

NOTE: The prices of the following policies and add-ons can vary, depending on your specific requirements.

UK Roadside Breakdown Cover

Mechanic sent out to fix your vehicle at roadside.

Tow your car to a local garage if it can’t be fixed.

Monthly: £4.50 / Annually: £45


UK Vehicle Recovery

Mechanic sent out to fix your vehicle at roadside.

Tow your car to anywhere in the UK if it can’t be fixed.

Monthly: £11.50 / Annually: £115


UK Onward Travel

Overnight accommodation, a hire car or reimbursed public transport costs while your vehicle is being fixed.

Monthly: £11.50 / Annually: £115


'At Home' Recovery (optional extra)

They will fix your vehicle at, or within a quarter-of-a-mile of your home address

With Vehicle Recovery: £2 per month OR £20 per year

Without Vehicle Recovery: £7 per month OR £70 per year


Key Replace (optional extra)

Cover your vehicle and house keys – as well as any damaged locks and alarms – for up to £1500

£2 per month OR £20 per year


Personal Cover (optional extra)

Cover in any vehicle either as a driver or passenger

£1 per month OR £10 per year


RAC breakdown cover pros and cons


  • 4/5 vehicles fixed at roadside – around 80% of callouts made by RAC customers are fixed at roadside.
  • RAC Key Return – helps to recover your lost car keys.
  • Van-for-van replacements – the only UK emergency breakdown cover provider to offer this service for onward travel policy holders.
  • Member benefits – additional services and discounts for members.
  • 20 mile taxi fare covered after breakdown included on all levels of cover.


  • Mobile app – smartphone app is temperamental and lacks some features.


Breakdown cover provider app

RAC have a smartphone app, available on both Android and Apple devices, which offers a range of services.


  • Route planner - use the app to plan your route.
  • Real-time roadworks and traffic congestion alerts.
  • Connect to an RAC employee with the touch of a button in the event of a breakdown.
  • Manage your account.
  • Expense calculator - calculate travel expenses with a mileage calculator.
  • Get reminders when your MOT, service or tax is due.
  • The app uses your phone's GPS service to pinpoint exactly where you are.


  • Users have suggested that the app is temperamental.
  • Some users have stated that the app is slow, from sigining in to everyday use.
  • Sometimes traffic information is unreliable.
  • Users have experienced some trouble when loggin into the app.
  • It cannot track your recovery service like on competing apps.
  • Users have suggested that adverts on the app can get in the way.

RAC also have another app, RAC Telematics, which can be used to track vehicle and driver performance if you have had telematics installed into your vehicle by RAC.



When will I receive my RAC membership card?

RAC members should receive their membership card in the post within 7-10 days of taking out their policy. After this, a new one will not be issued until you have been a member long enough to change loyalty tier or request a new one due to loss or damage.

When does my RAC breakdown cover start?

If you have not already broken down, your RAC breakdown cover will begin as soon as your payment is accepted. However, for the first 24 hours, you will only be offered roadside assistance.

How much does breakdown cover cost with RAC?

The cost of your breakdown cover will depend on your individual circumstances, as well as the policy that you have chosen.

For more information on breakdown cover and what each policy entails, read our complete guide to breakdown cover.

How do I cancel my RAC breakdown cover?

Your right to cancel will have been given to you within your terms of membership. For more information on how to cancel, contact RAC on 0330 159 0739.

Where can I find my RAC breakdown membership number?

Your membership number can be found on your membership card, your RAC welcome pack and on any official documentation sent to you by RAC.

You can also call RAC on 0330 159 0740, who will have your membership number to hand.

Can I renew my RAC breakdown cover online?

If your policy is set to continue into the next year then you do not need to contact RAC. However, if you pay on an annual basis, you cannot currently renew online and will need to call RAC on 0330 159 0739.

What is RAC loyalty scheme?

RAC loyalty scheme is in place to reward their most loyal members. If you have been a member of RAC for 5 years you will have a silver membership card, while 15 years of loyalty will get you a black membership card. These give you access to a range of benefits and offers provided by RAC.

Can I get short-term breakdown cover with RAC?

No. RAC do not offer a short-term option on breakdown cover, unless it is European Breakdown Cover.

Is there an age restriction on vehicles for RAC breakdown cover?

No – RAC will cover vehicles of all ages. However, they only offer their Battery Replace add-on to vehicles less than 15 years old or with mileage lower than 150K.

Do RAC price match?

RAC do not price match, but insist that they are constantly reviewing their prices to ensure that they provide the best possible value for money in the market.

For answers to other frequently asked questions on breakdown cover, read our Breakdown Cover FAQs here.

Customer Experience

Customer reviews from certified sites like Trustpilot give a fairly good representation of what you can expect from your breakdown provider.

Out of over 28,000 breakdown cover reviews, RAC average 4/5 stars, which Trustpilot label as ‘great’.

4 star rating on trust pilot


Recent reviews include positive experiences of motorway recovery, saved holidays, speedy response rates and helpful over-the-phone communication with workers.

However, some reviews are not so positive, with some users claiming that they have been left waiting for hours throughout the night for recovery due to the lack of availability of recovery vehicles.

It is important to remember that all breakdown cover providers will encounter issues in some cases, so it is better to look at average ratings than individual ones.

Ratings (out of 5):

Trustpilot: 4

Reviews.co.uk: 1.5

SmartMoneyPeople: 3.5

Reviewcentre : 2

Average: 2.75/5


Expert Ratings


Defaqto gave a 5-star rating for roadside, recovery, onward travel and at-home breakdown cover.


AutoExpress ranked RAC as the 6th best breakdown provider in the UK for 2018, coming behind other popular providers such as the AAGreenFlag and Gem Motoring Assist.


What happens if I break down? – How to contact RAC

If you break down and are covered by the RAC, you can contact them via:

  • Phone – Call 0333 2000 999, open 24/7.
  • App – Use RAC app to inform them of a breakdown.

If you’re still undecided after reading this RAC breakdown cover review, take a look at our other breakdown cover reviews here.


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