There was a time when you had a choice of only the AA or the RAC.
Those two brands may still dominate the market when it comes to breakdown cover, but today there are many more providers motorists can choose from.
So how do you decide where to go?
A breakdown policy is another form of insurance – and as with a car insurance policy, there are different levels of cover.
The first thing you need to decide is whether you are going to cover the car, yourself, or you and someone else. It’s no good getting cover just for you, only for your better half to find he or she isn’t covered when they’re out and about.
Then you need to decide whether you want full nationwide recovery or just roadside assistance.
With a nationwide-recovery policy, you and your vehicle are taken on to any mainland destination if your car can’t be fixed at the roadside or a garage. A policy that offers roadside assistance only will see you and your car taken home or to the nearest garage.
“Before you look to take out breakdown cover, it’s worth considering what level of cover you’ll need, as some of the lower-priced policies on the market may be suitable, even if they don’t come with all the bells and whistles that some of the more expensive policies have,” said Lee Griffin, a motoring expert at Gocompare.com.
“Tailoring your cover to your individual needs is a smart move as it not only ensures you’re getting the policy that’s right for your circumstances but also means that you’re not paying extra for features that you’ll never use.”
Mr Griffin said it was worth considering some of the smaller players as well as the likes of the RAC and the AA.
“Although breakdown cover is typically synonymous with a few big names, there are a host of smaller providers on the market who may be able to offer a cheaper alternative,” said Mr Griffin.
Smaller providers tend to contract out their business to local recovery services, and this can cut the time you have to wait for someone to turn up.
The larger operators usually guarantee a 24/7 service from a well-known brand, and this can be reassuring for motorists, but these providers tend to cost a bit more on a like-for-like basis.
“Ultimately, when it comes to any form of insurance or breakdown cover, what you should be looking for is the policy that’s right for you at the best possible price,” said Mr Griffin.
“The cheapest policy is not always the ‘best’ or most suitable for your needs and can quickly turn into an expensive option if it doesn’t offer the cover you require and leaves you to foot the bill.
“Be sure to compare the cover levels and costs of multiple policies before you buy to make sure you’re getting the best deal on the right cover for you and your needs.”
If you pay a monthly fee for your bank account, check to see if it includes breakdown cover. If it does, make sure it is a suitable policy.
If you have a new car, it’s possible that it comes with free breakdown cover for a few years.
If you buy standalone cover, decide if you want just a basic policy or one that has add-ons, such as onward travel.