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Coronavirus: My car’s broken down. Can I still get roadside assistance?

We spoke to leading breakdown firms to see how services will be affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here's what they had to say.

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With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of things we’ve taken for granted in our daily routines being upset and a lot of uncertainty comes as a result of that.

One of those could be your car breaking down. With the country effectively on unofficial lockdown, it’s natural to fear you may be stranded without roadside assistance — but will that really be the case? We’ve been speaking to some of the UK’s leading recovery firms to find out.

Will my breakdown cover provider still be able to assist me during the pandemic?

The good news is that, across the board, breakdown services are continuing to operate as normal during this stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The AA told us it is “working hard to protect our staff and members while doing our part to keep the country moving” while Green Flag confirmed it is “still offering a UK-wide breakdown for our customers and accepting new customers”.

Meanwhile, RAC said its roadside assistance service is “operating as normal” and that it’s doing “everything” to minimise delays.

Many new cars come with roadside assistance cover that is handled by third-party companies. It’s worth checking with your provider beforehand if it’s with another company and you have any concerns.

Roadside assistance services during the coronavirus pandemic are being maintained so far | The Car Expert
Green Flag says it is “still offering a UK-wide breakdown for our customers and accepting new customers”.

Will there be any new restrictions to the breakdown service I will receive?

So far, it appears that breakdown providers will not be applying any particular restrictions to their service, though the AA did state it will “ask that any members who have been diagnosed with or come into contact with coronavirus, or are in self-isolation, call and let us know when reporting their breakdown.”

Green Flag stated it is “constantly reviewing our current ways of serving our customers to ensure we adhere to Government and Public Health England guidelines, paramount is for us to ensure the wellbeing of our people, partners and customers.”

The nature of the pandemic means this could change at any time though, so we’d recommend contacting your provider if you are fearing a breakdown before your journey.

How will roadside assistance staff prevent the spread of Covid-19 when called out?

If you’re concerned that staff members from your breakdown provider may be exposing you to coronavirus, advice given by businesses to its members of staff will likely put you at ease.

Green Flag says its roadside staff are regularly updated with safety advice, while the AA said it is “closely monitoring and following Government advice in relation to the outbreak of Coronavirus” and has “provided employees with guidance and precautions to follow.” It also says regular, deep cleaning has been carried out at its sites.

For your own safety and that of breakdown assistance staff, we’d also recommend taking your own precautions. Maintain distance, avoid contact such as handshaking and also carry antibacterial wipes in your car to clean any interior surfaces recovery staff may need to touch.

The AA is maintaining normal breakdown cover and roadside assistance dueing the Covid-19 pandemic | The Car Expert
The AA says it is “working hard to protect our staff and members while doing our part to keep the country moving”.

I’m self-isolating but need to call for an at-home breakdown recovery. Can I do that?

For those self-isolating, some roadside assistance providers have said that any home breakdown assistance needed would have to be arranged following the isolation period.

The AA says it will not attend any home recoveries if the customer has been exposed to coronavirus or has been asked to self-isolate, questions which will be asked at the time of the call. However, it will arrange an appointment for a future date.

Green Flag mirrored this stance, saying arrangements can be made to attend the vehicle following the isolation period. It did add however that it is “not abandoning and supporting customers who travel outside of self-isolation” though it is adapting its service “to protect our roadside teams from any potential exposure.”

However, it’s a different story for customers with RAC. It said: “We’re asking customers to let us know if they have symptoms or have been diagnosed when they call our breakdown line so we can take the necessary precautions when helping them. If we’re coming to customers at home, we’re asking them to stay inside and put the keys on the doorstep on arrival. We’ll then talk to them on the phone.”

Other roadside assistance providers may take a different stance though, so it’s worth calling to ask.

Ryan Hirons
Ryan Hirons
Articles by Ryan Hirons are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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