You’re already shouldering the heavy cost burden of running a car – and a breakdown cover pushes the expenses even more. Yet it’s also something a lot of motorists say they can’t live without. But why? Simple, because it’s still cheaper to pay for emergency rescue and repair straight out of your own pocket when your car breaks down.

However, this doesn’t mean that you blindly shell out money on breakdown cover. Of course, every pound we can save on motoring is a bonus. We also want to ensure we’re paying for a service that’ll meet our requirements when and if we call it. So if you’re looking for breakdown cover, keep these things in mind to ensure you get the right service at the best possible value.

1. Location

No, we haven’t veered off into a property blog. While it may seem strange, location is an important consideration when choosing breakdown cover. By location, we mean the place where your car will have a greater probability of failing.

Can you guess the most common location that a breakdown service attends? It’s the motorist’s own home. Still, the majority of basic roadside assistance policies don’t offer coverage for a home start. So if there’s even a 30% probability of your car not starting on your own driveway, ask yourself, are you getting a decent value from the cheapest available option?

2. You get what you pay for – but is it something you really need?

Imagine that you wake up one morning, and that your car won’t start. You’ll quickly realise that paying less for basic roadside assistance is false economy. If your car breaks down a lot further from where you live, things can get even worse. With just the roadside assistance, the average cost of a callout over 100 miles from home is almost double that of getting your car started on your own driveway.

This takes into consideration that with the most basic plans, you’ll just be towed to a local garage. If fixing your vehicle instantly isn’t possible, you’ll have to factor in getting a train or bus home, or probably find overnight accommodation. Some national recovery policies will give you the option of towing the vehicle to your destination, towing it back home, or even paying for a car hire or accommodation while your vehicle is being repaired.

While this is all very attractive, it comes at a cost. If you don’t regularly drive over 100 miles from home, you may be paying more for benefits you may never need. Simply put, try matching your breakdown cover to your driving routines.

3. Don’t go easy on your research Instead of being distracted by every marketing spiel on the sales pages, why not spend some time reading customer reviews online? It’s a great way to find out what a specific service actually offers. Response time is one thing you should look out for, as customers will tend to get extremely annoyed at how long they were left waiting. They will be quite complimentary about how quickly someone catered to them, if the response time is short. Obviously, all of us a fast response from a breakdown service, so try and read the reviews to pick the quickest of them all.