The AA is one of the UK’s biggest car breakdown services, but is it one of the best? Find out how thousands of AA customers rated it compared with other leading breakdown cover providers

Best breakdown cover provider

 

Now known to millions as The AA, The Automobile Association was founded in 1905 by a small group of motoring enthusiasts. The AA is now the largest UK breakdown provider, covering millions of members across the UK. The AA has adapted its service to accommodate electric vehicles.

Its Freewheeling Hub allows electric vehicles to be moved safely when they cannot be repaired at the roadside, so they can be taken to a charging point or garage at the soonest opportunity.

The AA says this allows customers to get back on the road with the least interruption. However, it’s one of the most expensive car breakdown providers, compared with the other brands we analysed.

Read on to find out whether its customers think the service is worth the price.

AA breakdown cover scores

Arrived within an hour           ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Repaired at the roadside       ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Value for money                       ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Knowledge of the mechanic ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Courtesy of the mechanic     ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Helpfulness on the phone    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The AA performed well enough in our survey to be given Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status as a third-party breakdown provider. Its customer score of 80% was only bettered by fellow WRPs Start Rescue and LV Britannia Rescue.

Its customers appreciated the services provided, giving The AA a full five stars for the knowledge and courtesy of the mechanics who arrived and the helpfulness of call-centre staff when reporting the breakdown.

The four-star ratings for how quickly the AA got to the scene and how successful it was at fixing cars at the scene of the breakdown were achieved by reaching 85% of customers in an hour and repairing 78% of breakdowns (more than big-name rivals RAC and Green Flag).

The AA’s policies were among the more expensive compared with others we scrutinised that offer similar cover.

Its customers gave it three out of five stars for value for money, compared with five stars for Which? Recommended Providers Axa, Start Rescue and LV Britannia Rescue.

Additional features

Key replacement cover can be added to a policy as an optional extra for an additional premium. Battery replacement cover can be added to a policy as an optional extra for an additional premium. Emergency overnight accommodation is included if you purchase onward travel cover.

AA smartphone app. Smart breakdown – a device that connects to your smartphone that can alert you to faults and give you access to technical help and will help the AA identify what’s wrong with your car and where you are if you break down.

It’s compatible with most cars manufactured from 2005 onwards. If you’re travelling with pets when you break down, the AA will still attend your vehicle.

Pets will normally be transported in the cab of the patrol vehicle, although this will be at the discretion of the patrol operator.

If the pet cannot be transported in the cab (there is not enough room or the animal is agitated, for instance) then it can be towed in the broken-down vehicle if you’re happy it is safe, or the AA will assist you in finding alternative transport for it.

AA breakdown cover can be purchased online or over the phone direct from the AA and from the following price comparison websites:

CBS

Nerdwallet

Finder

PocketRate

Money.co.uk

AA breakdown cover:

pros and cons

Pros

AA’s mix-and-match approach lets you tailor your policy so it only includes the cover you want. Unlimited callouts. Covered if you break down due to lack of maintenance (eg not changing oil)

Cons

One of the most expensive breakdown cover providers in our analysis.  No cover if you put the wrong fuel in your car (misfuelling). Only £5 cover for parts used in repairs.

Does the AA provide European breakdown cover?

The AA offers single-trip and annual European breakdown cover, which include recovery to a garage, costs of recovery back to the UK if repairs cannot be completed before departure date along with up to £1,500 for alternative travel, £50,000 in legal costs and emergency overnight accommodation up to £500.

There is no limit to the number of claims that can be made on any Single Trip policy, and up to three claims may be made per year on any annual policy.

European breakdown cover must have been arranged before leaving the UK. However, the AA can still offer a quote for one-off breakdown assistance for a single callout.

If you break down while driving in Europe, you will need to call one of the following numbers: Republic of Ireland – 00800 88 77 66 44 Europe – 0044 (0) 121 33 66 289

Does the AA provide cover for other vehicles?

The AA offers breakdown cover for motorcycles, vans and electric vehicles. For more information, visit the AA website

How do I contact the AA?

If you are unfortunate enough to have broken down, you can call the AA for assistance on 0800 887766. You can report a breakdown by email or by using the AA app, which can track the progress of the breakdown patrol vehicle on your mobile phone. The AA app also allows you to plan a route, get real-time traffic and roadworks updates, find parking and electric vehicle charging station locations, identify warning lights if they appear on your dashboard and access AA Smart Benefits exclusive to members.

How do I cancel my AA breakdown cover?

If you wish to cancel your breakdown cover or membership, you will need to contact AA Customer Services on 0344 209 0754. A cancellation fee of £20 may apply. If, for instance, you have bought a new car which comes with breakdown cover included, AA members can put their policy on hold for a maximum of five years and then reactivate-it.

What else does The AA cover?

Find out more about whether The AA’s other services are worth your money: