Breakdown cover renewal costs sting motorists
Drivers are being urged to shop around after reports of an exponential growth in the cost of breakdown cover. Renewal prices for existing customers have typically risen by as much as 30 per cent this year, with some drivers forced to pay as much as 77 per cent more than a new customer for the exact same policy. According to reports in the mainstream news and on social media, one of the worst offenders is the AA, the UK’s best-known breakdown service. The Guardian recently reported one reader’s experience which saw an automatic AA renewal for an incredible £747 for “family” cover – a rise of 30 per cent over the previous year and a staggering £577 more than the equivalent online price for a new customer. The experience is mirrored by our own Deputy Editor, Simon Jackson, who also received an AA renewal quote 30 per cent higher than the previous year. “I have been with the AA for 24 years –giving me Gold membership, but the price keeps increasing exponentially at each renewal and I never use the extra member benefits,” he said. “Having shopped around I found a cheaper provider, I approached the AA with my quote but they didn’t even try to match it. Loyalty from long-standing customers seemingly counts for nothing, and I’d urge people to shop around.”
Founded in 1905, today the AA has nearly 13 million roadside customers and two million insurance customers, making it one of the Britain’s biggest financial service providers. When it floated on the stock exchange in 2014 it had debts of £3 billion, and in 2020 it went into the ownership of two new private equity firms.
However, this issue is not unique to the AA. Social media users took to Twitter to express their disgust at similar price hikes by the RAC, with reports of 65, 50 and 27 per cent rises in renewal costs. Back in June we also reported on AutoAid Breakdown implementing a new £25 surcharge for providing roadside assistance to vehicles over 10 years old, leaving drivers of older cars out of pocket. In January 2022 a new law was introduced banning insurers from offering cheaper deals to new customers. However, the ruling does not apply to breakdown cover, meaning unsuspecting loyal customers could be exploited.