We pretty much know that the term Breakdown Cover is used in the UK, but of course the Americans who normally do things bigger than anyone else also offer this insurance policy sometimes as a roadside assistance policy and are often have a general name as an auto club.
But even though the services on paper resemble breakdown cover operations here in the UK, in reality the service could be in a league of its own. Foe example, anyone with experience of driving down the huge interstates in the USA, will immediate see the difference in size of vehicles compared to back here in the UK.
It is not an uncommon site to see a huge camper vehicle towing a small car behind it. In the UK, this size of vehicle would be the equivalent of a goods trailer, where a heavy goods license would be required to drive it. This difference in size means having training in helping vehicles of this size and also having the mechanical power to recover vehicles of this size in the form of a flat bed lorry and possible heavy crane lifting equipment.
The difference in landscape and distance between some towns can also be a huge challenge. It is fair to say that it is unlikely to have that many camper vehicles touring though the center of New York, but as you move to other states with huge distance between the living and long straight open roads, you are more likely to see the larger vehicles. RV’s or recreation Vehicles have until recently, been very popular. Compared to the four by four vehicles we have here in the UK, many are much larger and would struggle to be towed by the transit van that a typical breakdown cover company may send out here in the UK.
In the UK we talk about a recovery service that would return your vehicle to anywhere on the mainland, but in the USA these distances could be huge so premiums like this are not as cheap as the UK, if you can get them at all. Even with many internal flights, many Americans do go on long road trips, so needing to recover a vehicle for one side of the country to the other is not unheard of.
So very often the breakdown cover clubs often only work State to State, using garages within that specific area, which would cover most day to day commuting and yearly mileage. Sometimes the term used is Auto Warranty, covering not just the emergency breakdown of a vehicle but the parts on the vehicle also. These functions tend to be separated in the UK, having breakdown cover companies dealing with any recovery of the vehicle and registered car dealers sorting out the mechanical replacement of any large parts.
It must also be said that it is expected that cars in certain USA states would cover higher miles than in the UK also. With the exception of countryside living, most UK residents have access to public transport for shopping, getting kids to school etc. The modern city or residential area in the States tends to need a car as a necessity rather than a luxury of convenience.