National recovery

Everything you need to know about national recovery, including whether it's covered in your breakdown cover policy and whether you need it.

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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

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