The AA breakdown cover review
Overview of provider
The AA is the UK’s largest breakdown provider and has been trading since 1905.
It has over 3.2 million members registered to their range of breakdown cover policies with more than 9.8m business customers.
Breakdown insurance packages – what they offer
The AA offers three core levels of breakdown cover: roadside assistance, vehicle recovery and onward travel. They offer cover for individual vehicles, individual people, couples and families.
AA Roadside Assistance
The AA’s roadside assistance comes as standard with every policy.
Their basic roadside assistance includes 24/7 help and promises to fix 8 in 10 breakdowns at the side of the road.
Those that can’t be fixed will be towed to a nearby garage at no extra cost – this includes motorway recovery.
AA National Recovery
When upgrading to national recovery, the AA will take you, your passengers and your vehicle anywhere in the UK if you break down and it can’t be fixed at roadside.
This is a great option for those who tend to drive far from home, and also comes with a free onward travel upgrade.
AA Onward Travel
The AA’s onward travel policy is available as an optional extra to all of their policies, however, they throw it in for free for 12 months when you opt for national recovery.
Not only does this provide you with assistance at roadside and recovery to anywhere in the UK, but the AA will also give you the option of a hire car, overnight accommodation or reimbursed public transport costs for you to continue your journey.
AA At Home
The AA’s ‘at home’ breakdown cover policy protects you against breakdowns when you’re within a quarter-of-a-mile of your home.
It is available as an optional extra to all of their policies, with as high as 90% of home start breakdown callouts getting fixed there and then all for as little as £2/month extra.
AA Parts and Garage Cover
Unlike many providers, the AA allows you cover of up to £535 towards vehicle repairs on up to 5 separate occasions every year if your breakdown ends up costing you more than you expected.
This is an optional extra and can be added to any of their breakdown cover policies.
AA European Breakdown Cover
The AA European breakdown cover provides roadside reassurance when on the continent.
With AA’s European breakdown cover, you get a choice of covering either a single trip or the whole year.
You will also gain access to a 24/7 English-speaking helpline & multi-lingual operators, as well as over 40,000 operators across 44 countries with an unlimited claim entitlement every trip.
Some extra benefits of AA European breakdown cover include:
- Up to £1,500 towards alternative travel
- Up to £500 towards emergency accommodation costs
- Up to the current market value of your car to get you home, or to your destination
- A hire car if you break down before, during or after your trip
AA Motorcycle Breakdown Cover
AA motorbike breakdown cover offers the same benefits as their standard breakdown policy and it is available with roadside assistance, national recovery and onward travel. You can also purchase optional extras like ‘at home’ and ‘parts and garage’ cover.
As with their standard breakdown cover, the AA’s Motorcycle breakdown cover comes with roadside assistance with every policy – this includes up to £5 off free parts and enough fuel to get you going again.
Most AA vans are equipped to carry bikes, so there is usually no need to wait around for a tow truck.
Breakdown cover for business vehicles
The AA’s business breakdown cover offers specialist, flexible breakdown cover to meet your business’ needs with a range of options. These include:
- National recovery – If your vehicle can’t be fixed, your driver will be taken to a destination of their choice within the UK.
- Fleet Europe – Get multi-lingual support and arrangements to get your driver home if their vehicle can’t be fixed.
- Specialist breakdown cover – Such as AA taxi breakdown cover and AA van breakdown cover.
- Award-winning minibus breakdown cover – Protect both your vehicle and its passengers with cover for minibuses.
- Pay-as-you-go truck rescue – Specialist recovery for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. Pay an annual admin fee, then only pay if your vehicle breaks down - either in the UK or Europe.
If you’d like to learn more about breakdown cover and the different kinds of policies available, read Bobatoo's Complete Guide to Breakdown Cover here.
As well as covering you against breakdowns, AA’s breakdown cover comes with a host of other benefits in the form of services and discounts:
- Access to savings accounts with interest rates exclusive to AA customers
- Refer a friend to join the AA and you will both get a £20 M&S or Amazon gift card
- No excess paid on AA travel insurance
- Up to 25% off in selected restaurants
- Up to 15% off car and van hire
- Up to 20% off in selected service stations (excluding fuel)
- Up to 45% off at Vue cinemas
- Half-price car wash with IMO carwashes
All of these benefits are available to redeem on the AA smartphone app, which we will discuss in detail later in this review.
AA breakdown cover costs
UK Roadside Breakdown Cover
Monthly: From £4.50 / Annually: £45
UK Vehicle Recovery
Monthly: £11.50 / Annually: £115
UK Onward Travel
Onward travel (FREE)
Monthly: £11.50 / Annually: £115
At Home Recovery (optional extra)
The AA 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
Personal Cover (optional extra)
Cover yourself for breakdowns in any vehicle, whether you’re a driver or passenger.
Monthly: £1 / Annually: £10
The AA Pros and Cons
- 8/10 vehicles fixed at roadside – 80% of callouts made by AA customers are fixed at roadside.
- Unlimited callouts – no limit to the assistance you can receive, even with basic roadside assistance.
- Useful app – smartphone app full of benefits, including the ability to track your recovery service once you’ve requested help.
- Member benefits – additional services and discounts for members.
- Lacks an extensive range of optional extras.
AA Smartphone app
The AA’s smartphone app is a central hub for all of their customers.
- Route planner – plan the quickest route to any destination in the UK.
- Real-time roadworks and traffic congestion alerts.
- Breakdown – Connect to an AA employee with the touch of a button in the event of a breakdown.
- Manage your account.
- Find local fuel and charging with up-to-date prices.
- Find local parking spots.
- Find local garages.
And as for the cons, Bobatoo couldn't find any!
Customer reviews from certified sites like Trustpilot give a fairly good representation of what you can expect from your breakdown provider.
Out of over 3,000 reviews on Trustpilot, AA breakdown cover is given a star-rating of 3/5. According to Trustpilot, in comparison to other providers, this is ‘average’.
Like with any service, the reviews of AA breakdown cover vary. Some customers are quick to praise the ‘superb, friendly service’ offered, while some reviewers are less impressed with the service provided.
Some negative reviews include stories of long waiting times, incorrect charges and unknowledgeable attendants.
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):
- 5 star for breakdown cover when you select all additional extras
- 4 star for breakdown cover when you select national recovery & one additional extra
- 3 star for breakdown cover when you select roadside & one additional extra
Defaqto aims to give members of the public valuable information, supporting their decision-making process for everything from breakdown cover to holidays.
Having the highest possible Defaqto rating suggests that AA’s complete breakdown cover provides a comprehensive level of cover, features, benefits and high-quality services overall.
Ratings differ depending on the level of cover you wish to take out. Policies with less comprehensive cover are given a lower score.
68.2% of members said that the AA responded to them within an hour of breaking down, with 27.3% saying that their car was permanently fixed.
What happens if I break down? – How to contact them
If you break down and you are covered by the RAC, there are a number of ways in which you can contact them:
- Phone – Call 0343 316 4444, open 24/7.
- App – Use the AA app to inform them of a breakdown. They will get your exact location, and you will be able to track them to see their progress in getting to you.