Cheap breakdown cover: RAC vs AA vs Green Flag

We compare the basic roadside recovery insurance from the three main breakdown cover providers: the RAC, the AA and Green Flag.

When shopping for cheap breakdown cover, it's important to compare providers to see which offers the best value for money.

So, we thought we'd take a look at what the biggest insurers - AA, RAC and Green Flag - offer. 

These prices are for the budget option, which does include a roadside repair service. Note that, while the labour is free, any spare parts you might need are not.

If your vehicle cannot be repaired at the roadside, it will be towed to a garage, where you will have to pay for the repairer's services.

Get AA breakdown cover from just £6 a month

Below is an overview of the two main operators, the RAC and AA.

Note: Green Flag no longer offers a standard price for its breakdown cover (you have to contact them for an individual quote), so we can't include them in our price comparison anymore. If you want to see if they're cheapest for you then you'll have to fill out this form to get a quote. We appreciate this isn't very helpful for motorists looking to compare prices.

Budget policy details






New online customer price

£104.50 (or £9.50/month)

£59 (or £6/month)

What is covered?

Your vehicle (not you)

Your vehicle (not you)


Residents of the UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man

UK residents (except for the Republic of Ireland)**


Cars, motorhomes, vans, minibuses and motorbikes (over 49cc)

Cars, motorbikes, motorhomes, minibuses and small vans 

Vehicle age restrictions

No limit

No limit

Distance from home

More than ¼ mile

More than ¼ mile

Towing details if your car can't be repaired at the roadside

Tow your vehicle to a local garage or destination of your choice within 10 miles

Tow you to a nearby garage

Transport from garage

Taxi ride up to 20 miles reimbursed

No cover

Number of call-outs



Are parts covered?



* The call-outs are unlimited as long as it’s not a recurring problem.
**While the Republic of Ireland isn’t covered under UK membership, the AA’s deal with AA Ireland means you’ll get an equivalent level of service if you break down there, except for parts and garage cover.
*** Unless the call-out is for the same fault within 28 days.

As you can see, the above services offered by each insurer vary slightly. For example, RAC allows you to claim for any taxi ride you might need to take for up to 20 miles, while the AA doesn't offer this. 

They also have different views of what "unlimited call-outs" actually means.

Reviews of breakdown cover

Now let's take a look at how the main providers stack up when it comes to customer satisfaction - we'll include Green Flag from this point on as we can provide a direct and accurate comparison.

On Trustpilot, RAC Breakdown Cover has a score of 4.1 out of 5 while both the AA and Green Flag score 4.2.

Car magazine Auto Express put together a ranking of breakdown cover providers, based on readers' experiences, which you can read here.

If you don't feel like reading through it, the headline findings were that RAC came first, the AA was second and Green Flag came in fourth behind smaller provider GEM Motoring Assist.

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What about repeat breakdowns?

The RAC says it could refuse roadside assistance for the same issue if a member was previously advised to fix it (during a previous breakdown) and didn’t.

The AA can refuse to deal with ‘the same or similar cause of breakdown’ if it dealt with it within the last 28 days. So, it’s up to you to act on any advice to fix any issues.

Green Flag says it could charge extra if you haven’t fixed a fault that’s led to a second call-out within the last 28 days or if you cancelled one and then asked for help with the same problem.

The RAC says it fixes four out of five failures at the roadside, within 30 minutes on average, although that excludes accidents and extreme failures.

The AA says it repairs eight out of 10 vehicles at the roadside and that it arrives in under an hour, on average. The AA also claims to have over 2,500 dedicated mobile mechanics.

A word of warning: breakdown services require you to produce your membership card and proof of ID to use their services, so take them with you on all journeys.

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Service versus price

Most of us have heard people share good and bad experiences from each of these providers.

We can't read too much into individual anecdotes as they are all still going strong, so that's a sign their service is generally acceptable.

With the AA and RAC, you can expect to pay more at renewal. It's advisable to shop around each year for the cheapest cover, but if you've had good service from one organisation, then you might feel more comfortable sticking with them.

By staying with the same service at renewal you might be entitled to more callouts in a year or discounts for not making a callout.

You could try switching from one to another and back in a 24-month cycle to compare their services, and it's possible you might even save a little money doing this.

Unfortunately, both the AA and RAC have increased their budget price since 2013, so it doesn't seem too likely that you'll benefit much.

As we mentioned above, Green Flag doesn’t offer a standard price for its breakdown cover, so you'll have to contact them for an individual quote.

Remember to put a note in your diary to shop around in 11 months as all three services could auto-renew.

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Beyond budget cover

If you go beyond the budget cover, more comprehensive options include:

  • Cover for more than one vehicle;
  • Cover for older vehicles;
  • Cover for you and family members, regardless of the vehicle driven;
  • Recovery to your home or another address in the UK, wherever you are;
  • Transportation for you and other people;
  • Transportation for you if you are taken ill and no one else can drive;
  • Assistance within ¼ mile of your home;
  • Replacement car hire;
  • Reimbursement of public transport costs;
  • B&B accommodation;
  • Medical assistance;
  • European cover.

Finally, some insurers add breakdown for free or as an optional extra when you buy car insurance.

So, you should check if you can get a cheaper overall package when you're shopping around for car insurance before buying breakdown cover separately.

Get AA breakdown cover from just £6 a month

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.


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