Although basic breakdown cover starts from around £30, it can quickly rise once you include home start, national recovery and potentially European cover.
You have to make a decision what is best for your situation, baring in mind your type of vehicle and likelihood of it breaking down, the amount of driving you do, how far you travel from home and your own car knowledge and abilities.
In my instance, I drive an old but reliable Volvo which just keeps on going. Although I only drive locally in the week, I often drive to the coast of the hills which can be up to 6 hrs away. I also have basic car mechanics knowledge including what to check in the engine if everything stops, how to change a tyre and a few other fundamental bits to ensure you know your car. That said, I still have full breakdown cover from the RAC which covers me with home start, roadside assistance and national breakdown recovery. This is because, I drive an older car which could pop at anytime and the cost of a tow truck from an independent company far out ways the cost of annual cover which gives me piece of mind.
So when I had this blow out on the M54 a couple of weeks ago it was time to put what I knew into action. Sounds more dramatic than it was, but losing a wheel at 70mph is not fun although the weight of the Volvo meant it didn’t suddenly swerve off the road but gave me enough time to swiftly steer onto the hard shoulder.
All it meant was that I had to change the tyre which is relatively easy and everyone should know how to do if they drive a car, but when you’re doing it next to cars travelling at 70 / 80 mph it’s a little more daunting. We got the job done and were on our way in 15mins.
If you’re happy changing a car tyre, just remember; 1. ensure you have all the tools in the car 2. Make sure the car is very sturdy on the jack before you remove the wheel and ideally place some blocks underneath the chassis incase the jack fails 3. tighten nuts up on the new wheel diagonally across the ensure its evenly tightened 4. if the wheel is roadside, be very safe and if you don’t feel sure about changing the tyre close to the road, don’t… ring the breakdown service.
So from my perspective, even if you have good car knowledge, I would still purchase cover, even if it’s the most basic of car breakdown cover, for around £30 you can have piece of mind that if your breakdown at night, can’t fix it yourself or just don’t want to get your hands dirty, someone will be on hand to give you assistance.