Breakdown Blog

Like everything we offer at ERS, our Motor Breakdown Insurance cover is specifically designed for motorists with specialist vehicles - we have a choice of cover levels for new vehicles and those over 20 years old and we’ll pick up vehicles from any sticky situation, like mud, ice, snow and floods. ERS Breakdown is a self-serve product and can be bought by brokers as an add-on to a motor policy or just as a stand-alone product.

Breakdown is now available on eTrade, and to coincide with the launch, MBI product manager Deniece Maddocks-Davies shares what the changes mean for brokers and their policyholders…

Why do specialist vehicles tend to be under-served by traditional breakdown policies?

The issue is that a lot of people don’t really consider the importance of a breakdown policy until they have their first breakdown – that’s when the importance of the product really hits home.

Not every vehicle operator has the necessary equipment or the right knowledge to deal with non-standard vehicles when they break down. The example I always give is of a horsebox – a 40 tonne vehicle that transports an incredibly precious, living cargo. A traditional breakdown vehicle won’t cater for this and nor will a standard breakdown product.

So how does ERS’s MBI product address the breakdown problems faced by these drivers?

Through our partnership with vehicle rescue company Call Assist, we’re able to access a network of 450+ specialist breakdown providers that cater for the full range of vehicles we cover – from supercars and classics to motor homes and horseboxes – providing a 60 minute response time across all of these categories, both in the UK and across mainland Europe.

To use the horsebox example, our network gives customers access to Equine Rescue Services, specialists not just in handling the vehicles, but in handling the horses themselves. With some of our horsebox MBI policies, there’s even the option of overnight stabling for the horses should it be required.

What else makes ERS’s product stand out in the market?

Very few providers cater for such a wide range of specialist vehicles, or offer drivers such comprehensive support in the event of a breakdown. We provide snow, sand, mud and ice cover for drivers that get stuck, we can offer home assistance in the event that a vehicle doesn’t start up one morning, and we’ll even top up drivers’ engines with the correct fuel after recovering a misfuelling incident, so that they can get back on with their journey.

ERS eTrade has been expanded a lot over the past year. Tell us what the addition of Breakdown means for brokers and their customers?

Previously, ERS Breakdown was available on a separate portal, which we’ve now closed. eTrade is much easier to use and provides a much better experience, so brokers will see a significant improvement in the time it takes to get a quote and bind it. We’ve also made it possible for all brokers on eTrade to get access to ERS Breakdown immediately, so it’s easy to add breakdown onto a motor policy. As eTrade is accessible 24/7, even those last minute breakdown requests can be catered for. We often find that customers only consider breakdown insurance shortly before embarking on a major journey, hence brokers need to be able to get quotes out to them at short notice.

We offer four different cover levels to give brokers further flexibility in how they package MBI: roadside only (basic assistance), roadside and recovery (recovery of passenger and onward transport), total UK (both levels of cover plus home assistance), total UK and Europe.

Are any other changes being made to eTrade?

We’ve had great feedback about eTrade and are always looking ways to improve it to ensure our brokers get the most out of it. In addition to launching Breakdown on eTrade, we’ve also added new features, so brokers can now renew policies and make mid-term adjustments online for all their agreed products.

These changes come at a strange time for the motoring world. How has the COVID-19 crisis affected the Breakdown market specifically?

Initially we saw a slow-down in demand but that’s changed over the last few weeks and demand is at pre-covid levels which reflects the easing of lockdown and motorists coming back on the road. as motorists have not been driving or driving less frequently though the pandemic.

Now that the lockdown is being loosened, we’re likely to see more people using their cars again and there could be a short-term surge in breakdowns if vehicles haven’t been appropriately maintained in the interim. Contact a member of the motor breakdown team for guidance on vehicle maintenance

Finally, are you surprised that more specialist vehicle owners don’t have specialist motor cover in place?

Yes. Being a specialist insurer, ERS underwrites lots of vehicles which aren’t the norm. We know that lots of policy holders have standard breakdown cover in place and when they need to be recovered, some providers can’t deliver what was expected as they don’t have the right equipment to lift a supercar, or the care required to look after a classic vehicle. The problem is breakdown is a pretty price sensitive market which inevitably means that some customers take out policies that aren’t well suited to their vehicle type, or that don’t give them as much cover and support as they think they’re getting. Policy holders need to be educated by brokers that cheapest isn’t always the best and when your vehicle is your passion or livelihood, it makes sense to have the cover you need for any eventuality.

Contact a member of the MBI team here

Sign up to eTrade here

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