Everything you need to know about national recovery, including whether it's covered in your breakdown cover policy and whether you need it.
What is national recovery?
National recovery is a type of breakdown cover. A level up from roadside assistance, having national recovery cover means someone will be sent to you if your car breaks down at the side of the road to try and fix the issue. If it cannot be fixed at the roadside, you’ll be able to have your car towed to any address in the UK.
When can national recovery be useful?
This type of cover can be a real life saver if you regularly drive long distances away from your home.
Breaking down in an unfamiliar area far away from home can be very stressful and could end up costing you a lot of money. National recovery insurance means you can get help where you are and, if needed, have your car towed to your local garage, so that you don’t need to wait for it to be fixed or come back to pick it up when it is.
Is it included as standard in a breakdown cover policy?
No. The most basic kind of breakdown cover is roadside assistance, and that’s the type of cover that is usually on offer with a standard breakdown policy.
Other types of cover, like national recovery, home start and onward travel are the higher levels of cover that you can take out, and include things like having your car towed anywhere in the UK, sending someone to help you if your car breaks down outside your home and help to carry on your journey.
What does national recovery cover?
Insurance policy specifications vary by provider, but national recovery policies usually include sending someone to look at your vehicle if you break down on the side of the road, and the option to have the car towed anywhere in the UK if it cannot be fixed at the roadside.
Elements of the policy that are likely to vary include:
- How long it will take someone to come out to you. Depending on the policy, this can be immediate or within a certain number of hours.
- How many times you can get someone to come out. Some policies offer unlimited callouts, whereas some limit the number of times you can have someone come out to look at your vehicle.
- How many passengers are covered. Some policies include cover to get you and up to a certain number of passengers to your chosen destination, along with your car.
In most cases you should be able to add extra cover to your policy to tailor it to your needs. This can include things like cover to have your car fixed at home, money towards garage repairs and hire car or travel costs.
What doesn’t it cover?
Exclusions will also vary by provider. You can take out national recovery as part of a more comprehensive breakdown policy, which means you can tailor the cover to your needs.
If you take national recovery out as a stand-alone policy, it might exclude the following:
- Money towards an overnight stay if your car cannot be fixed on the same day
- Cover for alternative modes of transport for you to continue your journey
- Someone coming out to fix your car if it’s parked outside your home
Can I get national recovery without taking out a policy?
If you break down without insurance, one option you have is to call Green Flag, which offers a breakdown service, on 0800 400 600. Another option is to call the AA, which offers instant cover, on 0800 88 77 66.
These options will likely involve paying an emergency call-out fee, which can be expensive, but might still be more economical than trying to make your own arrangements.
Note that this will not necessarily include the option to have your car towed to any address in the UK (or anywhere at all).
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
What is capital gains tax?
Want to know what capital gains tax is, how it works and when you need to pay it? Read our comprehensive guide on what you need to know about capital gains tax including what your CGT allowance is for the 2021/2022 tax year.
Kia Sedona insurance group
Find out which insurance group the Kia Sedona falls under and how much it costs to insure.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme explained
Find out who gets the Warm Home Discount automatically, who needs to apply and how to do it. Plus more tips for saving on your energy bills.
International travel tests to change as traffic light system is scrapped
The international travel rules have changed (again). If you’re planning to go abroad, here’s everything you need to know about getting tested.
RBS Premier Select current account review
Discover whether the RBS Premier Select current account is right for you.
NatWest Premier Select bank account review
Discover whether the NatWest Premier Select current account is right for you.
Halifax Ultimate Reward current account review
If you’re happy to pay a monthly fee, discover what the Halifax Ultimate Reward current account has to offer.
C19 Testing review: Private COVID-19 testing for travel
The UK’s highest-rated COVID test provider on Trustpilot is worth considering if you need to get tested before going abroad. We’ve taken a look at its cost, accuracy and reviews and find it hard to fault.
Antigen (lateral flow) COVID-19 tests for travel
If you only need a lateral flow test for your trip, here are the cheapest providers and what you need to know.
+0044 COVID TEST review: Private COVID testing for travel
Planning a foreign holiday? Find out what tests +44 COVID TEST offers for travel plus what customers think.