We continue our look into common exclusions from van insurance base policies today with Breakdown or Roadside Assistance cover.
Of all the ancillary products that are available, this is one that the savvy van driver just cannot do without. The reason breakdown cover is not part of the base package, however, is that there are many other ways you can be covered other than by your van insurance for this aspect of your day-to-day driving peace of mind.
Emergency breakdown cover is often used as a ‘loss leader‘ for other saleable products, such as premium-rate bank accounts, so van insurance brokers do not automatically include it as a part of their mainframe policy document.
However, breakdown cover via your company vehicle insurance is often more tailored to suit commercial needs of emergency roadside assistance, whereas the alternate products that cover ‘you’ the individual in case of a breakdown, i.e. the loss leaders mentioned above, are, in the main, for domestic roadside cover.
Why should I take out commercial emergency breakdown cover?
Safety, reputation and cost are the three direct answers to that question of separate breakdown cover, but allow me to expand.
Safety: accidents are just that – you cannot plan for them. And they don’t have to mean collisions with other vehicles, although obviously if your vehicle is put out of action as a result of such an incident, you will need it removing from the scene. But breakdown assistance is more to do with those incidents that occur where there is only you involved. The last thing you need when your engine seizes up in the middle of the nowhere on a cold, frosty night is to be stranded – one such rescue will deliver payback for a lifetime of membership fees.
Reputation: if you’re on your way to a job for a new customer (or an important existing one) and you breakdown, all the calling you do to them may not convince them you’ve a genuine breakdown to contend with. Look professional in all of your clients’ eyes with this ancillary – they will by far appreciate a ‘late’ over a ‘never’. Many van insurance breakdown bolt-ons also have home-assist, or similar, to get you on your way if your van fails to start from the comfort of its own driveway or you misplace or damage your keys.
Cost: have you seen how much it is per mile to be towed off a motorway, these days? It’s not cheap. Breakdown cover added to a van insurance policy could pay for itself in just one roadside rescue, if you happen to have a between-junction malfunction.
But there are other benefits, too, for choosing commercial breakdown cover over domestic. If the van is not reparable roadside some policies will either offer alternative transport (this will usually be for the supply of a vehicle only – you are self-reliant for any short-term van insurance and fuel) or, if you’re too far from home by the time a repair’s executed, they may even stretch to the costs of an overnight stay, nearby.
There are restrictions, of course. Breakdown cover may be limited to a maximum value or number of callouts per year and roadside assistance does just cover for getting you going again and not the cost of the replacement component(s).