Many good stories, the kind that have you shivering under the covers, start out “It was a dark and stormy night…” or some variation on that theme. It might be “The wipers were barely keeping up with the wet snow,” or “The glare off the salt flats was blinding,” or even “It was a sunny day, with scarcely a cloud in the sky,” but you know that the next literary device is going to be something scary that is going to mess up the character’s day.
Good in Fiction, Not Good in Life
While a roadside mechanical failure might be a good literary device, whether it is a blow-out on a lonely road in the middle of an ice storm or a radiator doing an imitation of a geyser when you are driving through burning hot desert, it is not an enjoyable experience in real life. As one fictional character once pointed out, adventures are nasty things that make you late for dinner. Breakdown cover for you or your vehicle can take some of the uncertainty out of mechanical failure, whether it is a dead battery while your vehicle is setting in your driveway or having to take the sand-trap exit when your brakes fail on a lonely mountain road. Unexpected mechanical failure can be frustrating at best and scary at worst. Breakdown cover gives you a friend who is always available to help.
How it Works
Breakdown cover started almost as soon as there were automobiles. Enthusiasts knew that those early vehicles tended to breakdown a lot, so they formed clubs and installed keyed call boxes along the roads so people could reach out and get some help if their vehicle failed. Over time, those clubs evolved into roadside assistance, often arriving in the form of a mechanic on a motorcycle laden with parts and maybe even a spare can of petrol. By the 1970s, as vehicles have become more complicated, a van operated by a licensed mechanic, would show up at your location. The van is stuffed with all sorts of spare parts for common, universal breakdowns, such as replacement batteries, fan belts, tires, and more. When you call your breakdown cover’s dispatcher, he or she sends out the van closest to you.
What if the Roadside Mechanic Can’t Fix It?
There are a lot of problems a roadside mechanic can fix in thirty minutes or less. But no one wants to be alongside a busy highway, especially in inclement weather. If the mechanic finds that the problem is too big for a roadside repair, he or she will call an appropriate vehicle to transport your car or truck to a covered repair facility. If you have the right kind of policy, there might even be an option for getting you to your next destination or to arrange for interim transport until your vehicle can be repaired.
Types of Breakdown Cover
Breakdown insurance coverage varies from company to company, and with the type of policy you select. It can begin with “social and domestic” coverage which takes care of driving to the grocery store or to a friend’s house. It often has location limits. Commuter insurance takes care of the daily drive to your commuter parking lot or your place of business. Business insurance is a step up from there, covering activities such as transporting people or goods, selling or lecturing. In addition, you can get the insurance on yourself so that it covers any vehicle you drive, or you can get it to cover your vehicle, regardless of who is driving.