RAC Breakdown Insurance Rip-off

I know it’s fairly common knowledge that RAC (and probably AA as well) are very expensive for what you get, but I’ve just cancelled my RAC cover and gone with Green Flag for just about half the price.

RAC wanted £148.95 to renew my cover. I’ve been with them for at least 7 years, and only had occasion to call them out once for a ‘dirty-diesel’ episode on my old Nissan X-Trail, which they were unable to solve at the roadside. (All they really needed to do was bleed the system, it turns out…which was beyond the brick-thick patrolman), and there is no ‘no-callout’ discount applied.

Went on line and Green Flag quoted £71.68 for exactly the same cover, which included my MX5 at no extra charge. My good lady is also covered on the same policy for no extra.

Called the RAC to cancel their cover, and the quote miraculously shrank to £82 when they asked why I was leaving…

I took considerable pleasure in telling the RAC that they could stick their quote where the sun doesn’t shine, when they had all the relevant information to hand already.

They really do shoot themselves in the foot, but I guess they rely on people’s inertia, just like the accident insurance companies, because that’s all they are, really. Bunch of rapacious barstewards…


Anyone else done similar lately?

Is there an even better bargain out there?



I use these £43.31


They cover your spouse (mine doesn’t drive though) and the car you are driving. That’s fine for me having 2 cars.


They used to have a claim form you fill in and claim the payment back (you pay the recovery) now you just ring the number and they claim it back, just as you would with most other breakdown company

Simple really, if they reduce prices for loyal customers they make less money. 

If they (and all the others) were forced to offer the same pricing structure to old and new customers, things would change.  As with motor and home insurance, if they didn’t offer basically uneconomic rates to new customers they would have no new business, so they more or less have to rip off the loyal ones.

The AA tried to stiff me every year, I would ring them up and they would knock a lump off.  One year they wouldn’t, so I went to the RAC, who did at least give a no-call-out discount at the time.  Then they got greedy.  Have been with Green Flag for a while - personal cover, two people, includes caravan recovery, about £120 I think.  If they don’t get too greedy too,  I’ll stay.


I have the same!

Some bank accounts give you breakdown cover. Lloyds premier account also gives home emergency and travel insurance. I remember my father in law who was a member of the A.A. He had to stop driving due to dementia but it did not stop them taking payments for the next five years as they renewed his subscription every year without any paper notification. 

Give the Autoaid a go next time as in my post above. Extract from their policy docs re caravans…

" If your vehicle breaks down an attached caravan or small trailer will be entitled to the same service as the vehicle as long as it is attached by a standard 50 millimetre towing coupling "

I used to own a caravan a few years ago and had special breakdown cover just for that (Caravan Club) it was only Greenflagg cover, so nothing special but they charged extra, seeing the above cover makes me wish I should have tried elsewhere.

I’ve been with the AA for 30 years now. Every year they send a renewal, and I call them to tell them I’m leaving if they don’t match the deal they give new customers. They always match the new customer price, they also throw in home start as a freebie along with key cover. They are the only company who’ll cover a commercial vehicle on a standard membership which for me makes them the cheapest by far. They’ve also always offered 1st class service here in London whenever I’ve called them out. Often going way beyond their T&C’s to help me out. I wouldn’t swap that for anything.

I’ve had very bad service from both the AA and the RAC.

I will never go back to the AA after their incompetent and crooked contractor tried to start my car, which had suffered total ignition failure on a return trip from Cornwall, using the car’s own battery until it was flat, then again using his 24 volt truck battery (I insisted he stopped doing that!) until the starter motor was almost red hot. He then took us 35 miles further away from home to a depot where the manager tried to tell me both my battery and starter motor needed replacing - they didn’t, it was just a duff, 3 week old condenser in the distributor, which I eventually changed myself. Having done that, the engine fired up instantly.

I’ve had cause to call out the RAC twice and the last time they never got to me at all after two hours of waiting. Annoyingly, on that occasion I spotted an RAC patrolman a hundred yards down the road who told me he couldn’t help me because he wasn’t allocated to my callout and had to go on elsewhere! I eventually managed to get the car going myself (it was partial ECU failure caused by overheating preventing the fuel pump from running). I then tried to cancel the job using their phone “app” which didn’t work so I phoned them instead. I got put on hold for ten minutes and then the thicko who answered just couldn’t understand that I was cancelling the job and went through his standard list of questions and then tried to give me a new estimate for arrival. I managed to limp the car home 15 miles or so and after I got there, I was eating my dinner some three hours later when I got a phone call from a recovery contractor who told me they would be with me in about twenty minutes! I then got a “customer satisfaction” phone call from the RAC. I let them have both barrels…they had been a total hindrance rather than any help.

Last year I went without any breakdown cover. This year I’ve reluctantly gone back to the RAC so that my daughter, who is a uni student, lives away from home and needs her car to commute from her accommodation, is covered as well as myself. My wife has her own policy connected to her insurance.

As soon as my daughter’s earning I’ll be (paying far less) with one of the lesser well known breakdown companies.

Green Flag will hike their prices next year.
Cancel your renewal policy and then rejoin as a new customer.
It’s worked for me twice now.

I use AutoAid - cheaper BUT effective, covers 2 adults, 3 cars and is great

 I worked for 25 years for a major insurance company when it was the personal relationship that first secured the business and then kept it.  The service had to be first class and the contracts competitive or your own income took a dive.  Personal standards of conducting financial business were in the main exemplary or you soon found another job.

The world just is not like that now.  There’s no such thing as loyalty in business, everything is mercenary. It’s fair to say those earlier standards do prevail today, but the ‘personal’ element has been removed and replaced by keyboards and algorithms. The ‘Company’ now invariably comprises investment groups and hedge fund managers with no loyalty or responsibility other than for the bottom line.  No tradition, no historically famous name to be proud of, no performance criteria to bolster that pride. Those reliable individuals are still there but rarely come into contact with the customer and customer complacency is their first corporate asset.

I retired from a most enjoyable career and now never, under any circumstances, allow an auto-renewal of any contract.  From banking services, all personal cover, travel and breakdown, to motor, to energy, including broadband provider, I shop around every year.  For those that might not be aware; be careful with comparison sites – sometimes more than one are owned by a common parent and cross-fertilisation is common!   

Apart from a one year break when I tried to renew by phone and couldn’t get through and then they closed for the weekend, I’ve been with DirectLine for over 15 years. They’ve tried to up my premiums to stupid levels on more than one occasion which has resulted in a terse phone call which almost invariably leads to a significant “discount” to bring it back to more or less what it was the previous year. However, whereas the sales rep used to have full discretion to offer discounts it seems that in the last few years they are only authorised to offer rather paltry reductions and have to get supervisor approval for anything more. On more than one occasion they have simply suggested I let the existing policy lapse and take out a new one to get the ‘new customer’ discount. This hasn’t affected my NCB and whilst it’s a slight faff it has kept my premiums reasonable. Only with my NB did someone like Peter Best beat DirectLine and that was simply because they could do it on a classic car policy. I do tend to look around when I get my renewal notice but rarely do I get a competitive quote.

I use my Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay my RAC membership and have done for the last 3 years.


It’s due next March but just checked the cost if I were to do this now and it would be £37 for Roadside & National Recovery.


Considering that we grocery shop (delivered) mostly at Tesco and I buy most of my fuel there, and probably still would if there were no such thing as loyalty cards,

then I consider my RAC membership as free. Thats certainly no rip off.



Paul G


Yes like yourself Paul G I also use Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for RAC membership.

And for the same reasons as you have stated means it’s free.



" If your vehicle breaks down an attached caravan or small trailer will be entitled to the same service as the vehicle as long as it is attached by a standard 50 millimetre towing coupling "


I don’t do caravaning but does that actually cover the caravan, it reads as they look after the caravan or

trailer if the tow vehicle fails. It doesn’t say they look after the caravan if it fails?


I also think JobCentre Plus staff would agree.Wink 

Read the sentence carefully, they only refer to the vehicle breaking down NOT the caravan!

They will tow the caravan behind the recovery vehicle with your car on the back, but they won’t pick the caravan up by itself.

Daft thing is they run the ‘Arival’ scheme for The Camping and Caravan club where they will pick up the. Caravan alone.

The Caravan (&Motor home) Club run a scheme called ‘Mayday’ (done by Green Flag) where again they will even collect a caravan from a site and recover it to wherever, Even if the towing vehicle is not being recovered at the same time. I have their ‘personal’ cover (@£103 ) which covers me and spouse for any car, with UK wide recovery, very handy as the breakdown cover on my Santa Fe is only to the nearest available!e Hyundai dealer.

And of course the recovery driver will probably work for every breakdown organisation - just different rules!!



That’s the point I was making, obviously not very well!





You may be right!  I wouldn’t know, having minimal experience with those dens of iniquity!  The last time I was in one of those offices (more accurately the Labour Exchange, was in 1959. I say in, the queue to actually get ‘in’ went around the block for 100 yards all the way to the Empress cinema in Runcorn and was made up of the sad sight of grown men trying to hang on to their dignity. Queuing for their Dole money.  I vowed then never to be in that position again, no matter what.  The film being shown at the Empress?  Blackboard Jungle.