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Do you need breakdown cover on a hire car?

Another extra being offered at the pick up desk, car breakdown recovery for your hire car. Cover is often included on car hire excess insurance policies.

You might be forgiven for thinking that if your hire car breaks down, a quick call to the car hire firm should result in a rapid exchange of vehicles and a grovelling apology for the inconvenience.

Sadly this isn't always the case and though some local hire firms may help without charge, others expect you to pay for recovery of the vehicle. While this is reasonable in the case of an accident, especially if you were at fault, it is harder to justify when it is a mechanical failure of the hire car.

However, margins are tight in the car hire world and hire companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs or increase profits. By making their customers responsible for recovery they can achieve both.

According to Which?, its members reported being asked to pay more for breakdown cover when picking up their car. They didn't find any consistency from hire car brokers so unless you can find that you are covered under the terms and conditions when booking, it might be as well to assume you're not.

Breakdown cover is often packaged within car hire insurance policies but there are different approaches. Some policies don't give you any cover, some cover recovery after an accident and some include breakdown recovery. Users of the MoneyMaxim car hire insurance comparison service will see that we've already done the spadework. Car hire insurance results Breakdown, Towing and Recovery is one of the headings on the results comparison table so you can see at a glance which policies include it and which don't. We also give a summary of the other policy features so you can compare the relative benefits quickly and easily.