A guide to short-term breakdown cover

A man pulling up his car bonnet to check the problem

Unlike car insurance, breakdown cover is not a legal necessity. For some people, it just isn’t worth the money.

But while you may not have an annual breakdown cover policy, you might be interested in covering yourself for a limited period of time.

If this sounds like you, then short-term breakdown cover might be right up your street.

What is short-term breakdown cover?

Short-term breakdown cover is a policy which covers either a vehicle or its driver for a limited amount of time.

Cover can be taken out for just an hour, a couple of days or even a few weeks, making it an ideal option for anybody looking for cover while making a one-off trip.

Available as a stand-alone product, it is also a popular add-on when purchasing temporary car insurance.

Who is short-term breakdown cover for?

Temporary breakdown cover can be useful in various scenarios, but is often purchased when:

  • Borrowing a friend’s car
  • Borrowing a van when moving house
  • Embarking on a long-distance roadtrip or holiday

What does short-term breakdown insurance cover in the UK?

As is the case with standard breakdown cover, your level of breakdown cover will depend on what is included in your chosen policy.

Most UK short-term breakdown cover offers:

  • Roadside assistance – a mechanic will be sent to fix your car at roadside. If they can’t, you’ll be towed to a suitable garage.
  • UK recovery – if your vehicle can’t be fixed, you, your vehicle and your passengers will be taken to a destination of your choice within the UK.

Short-term European breakdown cover

Even if you already have breakdown cover, the chances are that it’ll only cover you in the UK. Short-term European breakdown cover will give you fully comprehensive breakdown cover across the continent.

You can purchase European breakdown cover as part of an annual policy but it is most commonly bought on a single trip basis, which is ideal if you are only planning to drive abroad on one occasion.

If you drive in Europe regularly, a more cost-effective option might be to add European cover to your current breakdown cover policy or take out a separate, annual European breakdown cover policy.

For a more detailed look into breakdown cover, read Bobatoo’s complete guide here.

What does short-term breakdown insurance cover in Europe?

When taking out short-term European breakdown cover, most policies will cover:

  • EU recovery – a local mechanic will tend to your vehicle and, if it cannot be repaired within 8 hours, you and your passengers will be taken to your intended destination and provided with a hire car to continue your trip.
  • EU repatriation – if your vehicle is still not fixed by the time you intend on returning home, your breakdown cover will pay for any expenses accrued in getting you, your passengers and your vehicle back to the UK.

With both UK and European cover, be sure to read through the terms and conditions of your policy, as different insurers will offer different levels of cover.

How much does short-term breakdown cover cost?

The cost of short-term breakdown cover will depend on:

  • The age of your vehicle
  • Your vehicle’s breakdown history
  • The length of your cover
  • Your level of cover

On average, vehicles under 11 years old will be charge at a rate of around £20 for 3 days’ European breakdown cover, with a month’s cover usually available for around £100.

Where can I get short-term breakdown cover?

Short-term breakdown cover is offered as an optional extra to many short-term car insurance policies.

There are several car insurance providers that specialise in short-term cover but Bobatoo recommends Insure4aDay, who offer everything from one-day breakdown cover and car insurance to fully comprehensive monthly cover.

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