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The AA pride themselves on being the UK's "number one breakdown provider". They provide a 24 hour recovery service for their members and there are different levels of cover available. Another claim made by the AA is that they "fix more breakdowns by the roadside than anyone else".
I have never bothered with breakdown cover until I moved back home from university with the intention of commuting each day. I realised that if I were to break down on the hour drive to brighton there would probably be no one willing to come and rescue me!! On top of this my brothers car had broken down several times in the country lanes locally and I decided that it was a sign for me to start being sensible!
Being a poor student with hardly a penny to my name I did look around at all the various breakdown companies to try and find the best deal. The AA always have some online offer which gives you a discount and they were certainly one of the best offers I could find. However, the moment that made me decide on the AA was actually when I experienced them with a friend. We had been in town shopping and went to get back in the car only to find that her clutch had died. Being a member, she rang the AA and explained the problem. They seemed good on the phone only asking for the essential information and they explained
that someone should be with us in around fourty minutes. They asked for the postcode of our location which we weren't able to give them but they quickly worked out where we were based on the road name an our rather awful directions!
We decided that we didn't want to wait around for 40 minutes so went to get a taxi back to my house to drop off all our shopping bags and to pick up my car so that we could drive back into town to meet Mr AA man. We had literally got no further than getting into the taxi and closing the door when my friend received a text message from the AA saying that they would be with us in 10 minutes. We were quite amazed at how quick they had responded and only had time to get to my house - jump into my car and head back into town! As we arrived so had Mr AA man. He seemed very friendly and we explained the problem. He had a look at her car and said that he had the part he needed to fix it which would take about thirty minutes. We were happy with this and were going to hang around but he said that if we wanted to go to the pub or something then he would ring us when the car was done. Thinking that this sounded like a jolly good idea we walked round the corner to the pub and waited for his phonecall. He had been a very nice man so we brought him a little chocolate bar from the shop and when we returned to the car he was pleased to announce that the car was fixed. As my friend gave him his chocolate bar his face lit up and it seemed that we had made his day!!
Based on this experience I was impressed in a number of ways. Firstly how easy it had been to call them out, then how good the communication had been between them and my friend. I was also impressed by their speed in getting to us as well as how nice the man was who came to save us. We really couldn't fault them on that day and so I made the decision to join the AA myself.
The AA offer a variety of cover options. These start with Roadside cover which is the minimum level of cover where they intend to fix your vehicle on the roadside but if they cannot then they will tow you to the nearest garage. The Relay cover is similar other than no matter where you break down in the UK mainland, if they cannot fix your car then they will take you and up to seven passengers to a destination of your choice. The AA say that one in four breakdowns happen at home. Therefore they have the homestart cover where they will come to your home and try to fix your car or tow it to a local garage (with the other cover options you must be at least a mile from your house for them to come out).
Stay Mobile is a more extensive cover where if they cannot fix your car they will provide you with a replacement car for up to 72 hours or pay for public transport or over night accommodation costs.
Breakdown repair cover means that the AA will cover the cost of any replacement parts or garage labour.
As you would expect, these different options increase in cost. Being very poor, I went with the lowest level of cover which only cost me £29 for the year as by buying online I got a £17 discount!! When you buy your AA cover there are then options to either cover just youself which covers you as the driver or passenger in any vehicle. Or you can buy joint or family cover or just cover one particular vehicle. The cover is for 12 months and therefore just buying the cheapest deal could turn out really useful if you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere. I do feel that the more expensive options are a little over priced on the basis that you could quite possibly go the whole year without ever needing them.
Thankfully I have not yet needed to call the AA for my own reasons but from my experience with my friend I would really recommend them. As I mentioned, some of the more pricey packages are a little over the top which is why I cannot quite give five stars but the service provided from what I have witnessed is fantastic, quick and hassle free. I will definitely be renewing my contract with the AA next year.