Motorhome breakdown cover

Find out how to secure the best breakdown cover service for your motorhome or campervan.

Owning a motorhome has many benefits. After the up-front purchase cost, your accommodation is pretty much free. Plus, you’ve got the flexibility to make (or change plans) at the last minute, and you’ll never have to worry about your favourite holiday home getting booked up by someone else. But unlike most accommodation, you do run the risk of this particular holiday home getting stranded at the roadside in a less-than-scenic spot. That’s where motorhome breakdown cover comes in. We explain the ins and outs and how to get the best deal.

What is a motorhome?

A motorhome combines both transport and living accommodation in a single vehicle. This makes it distinct from a touring caravan, for example, which is a separate trailer that needs to be towed by a car or van.

Smaller motorhomes are often referred to as campervans.

What is motorhome breakdown cover?

Motorhome breakdown cover ensures that if your motorhome or caravan conks out, whether on the motorway or a winding country road, you’ll be able to call on assistance to get you going again. Or, at least, tow you to a garage for repairs.

Many regular car breakdown policies exclude vehicles that exceed a certain size or weight, or that incorporate living accommodation. So you’ll need to specifically look out for a policy that covers motorhomes.

Do I need motorhome breakdown cover?

As with any sort of breakdown cover, the choice is yours. There’s no legal obligation to have breakdown cover for your motorhome. But if you don’t much like the idea of being stranded on the roadside on a rainy evening, several miles from your camping site, it’s well worth considering. It could prove particularly valuable if:

  • Your motorhome or caravan is a tad unreliable or getting on a bit. Watch out for age-related exclusions, though (for the motorhome, not the driver).
  • You’re heading off on a European jaunt. You can usually add European cover to a breakdown policy – helpful if you don’t fancy trying to negotiate with local breakdown companies in broken French or Italian.

What are the main types of motorhome cover?

As with car breakdown cover, there are several levels of motorhome cover available. The main ones are:

  • Roadside assistance and local recovery. This is the most basic level of cover. If you break down away from home, you can call out the breakdown service to attempt repairs at the side of the road, or take you to a local garage if they can’t fix your motorhome. You won’t be covered if you break down at (or very near) home, and the towing distance will be limited.
  • Home assistance. This provides extra cover in case your motorhome refuses to leave your driveway in the first place, or if it gives up the ghost after just a few hundred metres.
  • National recovery. This expands the distance a recovery vehicle will take you to any mainland destination. If you regularly take holidays in your campervan, this means that at least you’ll be able to get to your holiday site.
  • European breakdown cover. If you plan to take your motorhome or campervan across the Channel, this is an important add-on. For frequent trips, annual cover is probably best; you can either buy this as standalone cover, or add it to a UK policy. There may be limits on the length of both individual trips (31 days is common) and the total number of days abroad in the year (90 days, for example). You can also buy one-off cover for a single trip.

Other features that motorhome cover may include, either as standard or for an extra fee, include:

  • Onward travel. If prompt repair isn’t possible, this will pay for you and your passengers to get to your destination and, potentially, for alternative accommodation.
  • Return travel from your holiday site. If you break down on the way to your holiday destination, some motorhome policies will get you there and then, if your motorhome can’t be repaired before the end of your trip, bring you and your motorhome back home afterwards.
  • Recovery of your motorhome if it gets stuck. In snow, mud, flood or sand, for example.
  • Refuelling cover. If you accidentally fill up with the wrong fuel (perhaps because your usual transport uses a different fuel), this will drain and flush your motorhome’s fuel system and top it up with the correct fuel.

Do motorhome breakdown policies cover the vehicle or the driver?

This varies by provider and by policy. Vehicle based breakdown policies cover the motorhome specified on the policy, regardless of who is driving. Personal based breakdown policies cover you as either a driver or passenger in any vehicle.

Some breakdown services offer a choice of vehicle or personal based cover, while others only offer one or the other. Personal cover tends to be a bit more expensive.

If you already have a personal breakdown policy for driving cars, though, don’t assume it will automatically cover a motorhome too. Standard breakdown policies often exclude very large or heavy vehicles, or those with living accommodation built in.

How much breakdown cover do I need?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

That’s a decision only you can make. Think about how you use your motorhome and what the implications might be if you broke down in different locations.

If you regularly travel with kids or grandkids in tow, for example, they might have less patience to wait at a local garage while your motorhome is being repaired. In this case, national recovery (that can get you to your holiday destination if need be) could be well worth it. But if you never take your motorhome to the continent, it’s probably not worth paying extra for European cover.

What does motorhome breakdown cover include?

Exactly what’s covered under motorhome breakdown cover will depend on the level of cover you select. However, it will typically include:

  • A recovery vehicle coming out to where your motorhome has broken down. If possible your vehicle will be repaired at the roadside.
  • If it’s not possible to repair your motorhome on the spot, breakdown cover will cover the cost of towing it to a garage where it can be repaired. How far they’re willing to take it depends on the level of cover you have.

Are there any exclusions to motorhome breakdown cover?

As with what is included, what’s excluded varies by level of cover, but restrictions to look out for include:

  • Breaking down at home. With basic roadside assistance policies, you won’t be covered if you break down at or close to home; typically within a quarter of a mile, though this can vary.
  • Call-out limits. Some providers place a limit on how many times you can call the recovery service out per year. You may also be unable to call the service out more than once or twice for the same fault.
  • Misfuelling cover. If you accidentally fill up with petrol rather than diesel, not every policy will include the cost of flushing your system or towing you to a garage.
  • Spare parts. If your motorhome can’t be fixed at the roadside and needs to be towed to a garage, you’ll usually need to pay for any replacement parts (and the labour to fit them) yourself.
  • Older motorhomes. Some policies may not offer cover for vehicles over a certain age. If you have a treasured classic VW campervan, for example, you may have to search a bit harder to find affordable insurance, and consider specialists.
  • Breakdowns after an accident. Some policies will completely exclude this; others won’t rescue your motorhome until the emergency services have given the go ahead.

And remember that you’ll need to specifically look for breakdown cover that includes motorhomes and campervans. Standard breakdown cover, the kind you’d take out for a car, sometimes excludes vehicles over a certain size or weight, or those that incorporate living accommodation. Even if the policy covers motorhomes, check carefully for any maximum size limits.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a quote for motorhome cover, you’ll need to tell the provider:

  • Your personal details (name, age, address and contact details).
  • The level of cover you want (for example, personal or vehicle based, roadside assistance or national recovery, etc).
  • For vehicle based cover, you may need to supply details of your motorhome, for example its size, weight and number plate.

Some providers may let you insure multiple drivers or multiple specified vehicles on the same policy. If so, you’ll need relevant details.

How much does motorhome breakdown cover cost?

Costs vary by provider, but you should be able to pay less than £100 a year if you shop around and opt for a lower level of cover.

If, on the other hand, you choose the most comprehensive level of cover from one of the more expensive providers, you could end up paying upwards of £300 for annual cover.

How can I save on motorhome breakdown cover?

  • Don’t pay for cover you don’t need. It could seem like a good idea to add on European cover “just in case”, but if you don’t end up taking your motorhome outside of the UK, you’ll have wasted your money. It’s usually possible to add on European cover down the line if you need to.
  • Cover your car and motorhome on the same policy. Some motorhome breakdown policies let you add on other vehicles, so adding on your car could work out cheaper than buying separate policies.
  • Look out for discounts. For example, if you’re a member of a caravan club, you may be able to find lower-price breakdown cover through it.
  • Shop around. As always, this is probably the most important way to save money, as costs can vary significantly between providers. Make sure you’re always comparing like with like, though. You don’t want to think you’ve bagged a bargain only to find the policy won’t meet your needs in an emergency.

Which providers offer motorhome breakdown cover?

Several mainstream breakdown services offer motorhome breakdown cover, so it’s worth checking these first. If you have existing breakdown cover for your car, you may even be able to add your motorhome to your policy. With some providers, motorhomes can be covered as part of their regular breakdown policies. Others have dedicated motorhome breakdown policies.

You can also get motorhome cover from providers that specialise in motorhome, campervan and caravan breakdown cover. These might include caravan clubs, or specialist brokers.

Bottom line

If your motorhome is less than perfectly reliable, having breakdown cover can save you hassle, expense and frustration if your home away from home conks out half way up the M1. As with regular breakdown cover, price and quality of cover vary substantially, and there can be some noteworthy exclusions. So always shop around and compare cover levels carefully to secure the right cover at the best price.

Frequently asked questions

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