Onward Travel

Onward travel cover makes sure you get to where you need to go, even if your car has other plans. Find out what's included and what to do if you break down.

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What does onward travel mean in a breakdown cover policy?

Having breakdown cover means you can have an engineer come out to look at your car if it breaks down at the side of the road. With onward travel cover, you will get help to continue your journey in case your car cannot be fixed at the roadside (or on the same day).

This can mean your insurance company will pay for a hire car, a ticket for public transport or an overnight stay at a local hotel. Note that, usually, you will have to pay for these things yourself and then be reimbursed by your insurer later.

When can onward travel be useful?

Onward travel can be particularly helpful if you’re travelling long distances or if you have somewhere particularly important to get to (like a work conference or family event).

That said, having breakdown cover can be helpful in a variety of circumstances, as being stranded at the side of the road with a broken-down car can be extremely frustrating and even dangerous.

Is it included as standard in a breakdown cover policy?

In most cases, no. The type of breakdown cover that is usually included in standard policies is roadside assistance – the most basic form of cover.

Onward travel can be included in more comprehensive policies or be added as an optional extra to an existing breakdown policy, depending on the provider and level of cover you choose.

What is included in onward travel cover?

Insurance policy specifications vary by provider, but onward travel policies usually include your insurer paying for a hire car, a ticket for public transport or an overnight stay at a local hotel.

This will usually involve you paying to continue your journey or for a hotel stay and being reimbursed by your insurer.

Elements of the policy that are likely to vary include the following:

  • How long you will be able to keep your hire car for.
  • The amount you can be reimbursed for train tickets, a taxi, flights or other public transport.
  • The amount you can be reimbursed for a hotel stay.
  • How far away from home you need to be before you are covered (most policies specify at least half a mile).
  • The number of people who can be included under the policy and have their onward travel paid for.

The type of hire car you can expect to receive as part of your onward travel policy can also vary, but will usually be a standard hatchback.

Some providers may offer cover for special medical assistance if this is required.

What isn’t covered with onward travel?

Exclusions will also vary by provider. Onward travel cover is usually taken out as part of a comprehensive breakdown insurance policy, the specifications of which will depend on the provider and the level of cover you choose.

Some providers might exclude the following from their onward travel cover:

    • Cover for toll charges and ferry costs.
    • Any cover if you break down very close to home (usually within half a mile).

Can I get onward travel without taking out a policy?

Unfortunately, probably not. If you break down without insurance, you can still get someone out to help you by calling Green Flag on 0800 88 77 66, but onward travel is unlikely to be included in this.

Some providers, like the AA, offer instant breakdown cover, but they might not include onward travel if you’ve already broken down.

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