Is recovery cover worth having?

I learnt a few interesting things from Andrew Dalton’s ‘Law’ column in a recent copy of Bike magazine regarding breakdown cover.

If your bike doesn’t show up on the tax or MoT register, you’'re not getting picked up. This could happen if a database hasn’t been updated yet from a recent online renewal.

If your bike is damaged in a collision or is unrideable because of attempted theft or vandalism, it’s not getting picked up. That’s not classified as a breakdown.

If you are injured and can’t ride the bike, you’re not getting picked up if the bike itself is still rideable.

If your chain breaks you’re entitiled to recovery under your breakdown cover. If the chain breaks and you end up sliding down the road, bending handlebars and snapping the brake lever, that’s collision damage and you’re not getting picked up.

Dalton makes the point that breakdown cover is just another type of insurance, which I think is a sensible way to look at it given the reputation insurers have for wriggling out of claims.

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It was only after starting to frequent the Triumph forums that I realised breakdown cover wouldn’t come to you in an accident, it used to be different…

Back in the day (mid 90’s) before the AA management had got on the demutualiseation bandwagon, I had my only bike accident. Someone from a nearby house helpfully rang the AA for me whilst I was being loaded into the ambulance. The next day I rang the AA and they delivered the now shorter bike to my home.


I made pretty much that same point talking to Rachel earlier. Times have certainly changed, and so has my attitude to these companies.

The amount of exclusions is getting well out of hand not just in bikes but car recovery as well. It does make me wonder if the cover is worth it.

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If you have a van available and you’re not doing lots of long journeys, quite possibly not.

I knew it didn’t cover accident incidents as did a spot of recovery work 20+ years ago for a company and it was mentioned then so it’s not that new to me.

It’s normally called Breakdown cover. The clue is in the title, so I’m not at all surprised by the above exclusions which don’t seem unreasonable to me.

If my bike won’t work because of an accident or vandalism, I’d expect to be calling the insurance company rather than the breakdown company.

They don’t always make it clear that it’s breakdown recovery, not ‘recovery’.

What if blowout causes collision damage (bike goes down the road) - would you expect that to be a breakdown recovery situation because of the initial cause? I’d wanr the bike recovered and then potentially claim for the damage from my insurer but apparently that’s not how it works. If you haven’t got protected NCB, that could get expensive for the sake of the small print.

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I agree that the RAC’s title above could be misleading as it’s clearly breakdown cover only, although that’s how I would have read it.

If I had a puncture, I would expect the breakdown company to cover it and I believe they do. If I had a blow out that resulted in a crash rendering the bike unridable because of further damage then I would be on the phone to the insurer to get it sorted because it has become a crash rather than a breakdown.

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