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Will your breakdown policy cover you if you run out of fuel on the road?

Will your breakdown policy cover you if you run out of fuel on the road?
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The national fuel crisis in the UK caused by a shortage of truck drivers has led to panic-buying among motorists, with lengthy queues and dry pumps at petrol stations becoming a common sight. This means that some motorists may not be able to top up their vehicles and risk running out of fuel while on the road. If that happens, then will your breakdown policy cover you and provide the necessary assistance?

What is breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover, as the name suggests, provides help if your car breaks down. If your car develops a fault, for example, and you end up stranded on the road, breakdown cover will provide the relevant assistance for you to continue your journey or return home.

Many car insurance policies include breakdown cover as an optional extra. However, you can also purchase breakdown cover from stand-alone providers such as Green Flag and the RAC. So it pays to check your policy to see whether it includes breakdown cover. This can help you avoid paying twice for the same coverage.

Will your breakdown policy cover you if you run out of fuel?

The short answer is that it depends on the terms of your policy.

The good news is that the majority of breakdown policies in the UK (89%) do provide cover for motorists who run out of fuel, according to research from financial information company Defaqto. However, the flip side is that more than one in 10 motorists will not be covered. As a result, they risk being stranded on the road if they run out of fuel.

It’s important to note that while most car insurance policies will cover you if you run out of fuel, they won’t cover you for accidents caused by running out of fuel. That means that if your vehicle causes a hazard that leads to an accident, you will have to pay for everything out of pocket.

It’s worth checking your breakdown policy to see if it covers this type of scenario to avoid any nasty surprises. If you can’t find the details you need in your policy documents, then contact your provider and ask for clarification.

Can you be punished for breaking down due to lack of fuel?

Technically, running out of fuel while on the road is not an offence. However, you risk a fine and points on your licence depending on where you break down. If your car causes an obstruction, then you may receive a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

Remember that a stationary car is a hazard to other drivers on the road. If your vehicle was to cause an accident, you could be taken to court. You could then face even more severe penalties, including nine points on your licence and a fine of up to £5,000.

As you can see, it’s best to make sure you have enough fuel in your tank before heading out.

If you are concerned about not having enough fuel and not being able to top up due to the current crisis, you are better off leaving your car at home and using other modes of transportation. 

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