Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC: See The Cheap Breakdown Cover Scam In 2023

Stuck between choosing one of the three biggest players in the breakdown cover industry – AA, RAC, and Green Flag? Then, you are definitely in the right place. I will outline what makes each of them stand out in this Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC debate.

Keep reading…

Breakdown cover is a necessary evil; you buy it in the hope that you aren’t ever use it, and when you do, you want a mechanic there within minutes who can fix your car and get you on your way within seconds.

Additionally, while buying a breakdown cover, you want and love to get the best value for your money.

So, this article has been written to ensure you get the best value even while buying from the biggest market players – Green Flag, AA, or RAC.

Before we look at what differs among these breakdown companies, let’s get an overview of what each represents.

What is Green Flag?

Formed by a group of motoring enthusiasts in 1971, Green Flag is the newbie amongst the ‘Big Three’ with the AA and RAC tracing their lineage over 100 years. It was first called the National Breakdown Recovery Club before it became Green Flag in 1994.

Green Flag (and some other smaller, independent recovery clubs) were the first companies to offer nationwide recovery, forcing the AA and RAC to follow suit shortly afterwards; they also offered accident recovery from the beginning, something unheard of of at the time.

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Interesting Facts About Green Flag

Green Flag’s ‘route finder’ has been voted the most effective route map of the 3 major breakdown companies in the UK.

Vehicle Breakdown Cover

  • Rescue is the most basic and cheapest of the levels that Green Flag offer. They will send an operator out to your car, and they’ll try and fix it there. They will take you to a local garage if they can’t repair it.
  • Rescue Plus adds home cover to your policy, so if your car won’t start or you have another mechanical malady, they’ll come out and help.
  • Recovery cover allows you to choose where you want to be recovered to, whether that means taking your car home or onto your final destination.
  • Recovery Plus is the same as Recovery but gives you the option of a hire car, hotel accommodation, or alternative public transport.

What is AA?

The  Automobile Association, AA was founded by a group of motorists in 1905 to warn motorists of a police speed trap (something that would be illegal now). They famously saluted members as they drove past – unless the police were out and about on that stretch, they would stand without saluting.

This system was developed in 1910 following a test case in which an AA Patrolman was found guilty of ‘obstructing an officer in the course of his duty’ for saluting to warn of a speed trap(the absence of a salute was not seen as a warning, by itself). This continued until the 1960s and was a practical reason for joining the AA. In 1939, they had 725,000 members, a staggering figure that represented 35% of all motorists.

That’s not all…

The AA has always been on the side of the motorists. They were the first to erect road signs to warn motorists of speed limits, road conditions, and other hazards. They continued to do so well into the 1930s, when responsibility passed to the relevant local authority.

AA also launched legal cover in 1973 for their members and was the first motoring organization to develop a ‘Relay’ service.

The legal cover promised to take a motorist, their family, and their broken-down car (and caravan or trailer) to any location within the UK if it couldn’t be repaired at the roadside. This was groundbreaking stuff at the time.

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Interesting Facts

The AA has 15 million members today, making it the largest motoring organization that employs more patrols than anyone else.

Vehicle Breakdown Cover

  • The roadside cover provides roadside assistance by an AA patrol, who will try to repair your car at the side of the road. They will recover you and your car to the nearest garage if they can’t repair it. You must then arrange for your car to be repaired. 

    The cover also provides help in the event of an accident.
  • Roadside and National Rescue builds on the level of protection given by Roadside cover and adds recovery of you and your car anywhere in the UK if they can’t fix it at the side of the road.
  • The Roadside, National Rescue, and Cover at Home does exactly what it says, adding cover at home. So if your car won’t start or you have other mechanical problems on your driveway, the AA will help.
  • Roadside, National Rescue, Cover at Home, and Parts and Garage Cover is the most comprehensive and expensive cover. It provides up to five contributions of £500 a time towards the parts and labour bill if your car breaks down.

What is RAC?

Founded in 1897 as the ‘Automobile Club,’ the RAC, short for the Royal Automobile Club, is the oldest of the breakdown service providers. It employed the first uniformed patrolmen in 1901 and received Royal assent in 1907, becoming the Royal Automobile Club that we’ve come to know and love.

The RAC also has a long association with motorsport, first organizing the British Grand Prix in 1926 at Brooklands. This inaugural Grand Prix featured well-known names such as Malcolm Campbell and Henry Seagrave and covered 110 laps of the 2.61-mile banked circuit.

Interesting Facts

Someone calls the RAC Breakdown service every 7 seconds. The company claims to have more patrols per member (over 1,750 patrols currently) than anyone else and has a target of 40 minutes to reach a member in distress.

Vehicle Breakdown Cover

The RAC can provide a Personal Cover that gives cover regardless of what car you are driving or a Vehicle Cover that covers the car no matter who is driving.

Basically, there are four levels of cover: ‘Roadside,’ ‘Roadside and Recovery,’ ‘Roadside, Recovery, and At Home,’ and Roadside, Recovery, At Home and Onward Travel.’

  • The roadside cover provides roadside assistance by an RAC patrol who will try to repair your car at the side of the road, providing it is at least ¼ mile from your home address. If they can’t repair it and claim to repair 80% of all cars at the side of the road, they will recover you and your car to a garage of your choice within 10 miles. 

    The RAC will also help you if you have an accident.
  • Roadside and Recovery gives the same level of cover as before but adds recovery of you and your car – along with up to 6 passengers – anywhere in the UK if they can’t fix it at the side of the road. This means you can continue your journey or start your holiday even if your car lets you down.
  • Roadside, Recovery and At Home adds recovery and help at your home address or anywhere within ¼ of a mile. If your car doesn’t start because of, for example, a flat battery, the RAC will come out and sort it out for you, something that you’ll appreciate on a workday!
  • Roadside, Recovery, At Home, and Onward Travel is the most expensive cover buy gives the most peace of mind. It adds the cost of a hire car for up to 3 days or the cost of public transport for your party or an overnight hotel stay.

Now, let’s know what makes these breakdown companies stand out.

What are the Differences Between Green Flag, AA And RAC?

Which breakdown cover is the best between Green Flag, AA, and RAC to get the best value? What differentiates Green Flag from AA and RAC?

Here are some factors we considered to help you choose:

  • What they Cover
  • Size
  • Price
  • Speed of response
  • Repairing cars at the roadside
  • What if I’ve already broken down?
  • Reputation
  • Extras
  • Website

# Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – What they Cover: the Car, Driver, or Both?

This fundamental point will help you decide who to take breakdown cover out with.

All three breakdown providers cover the vehicle. However, the AA and the RAC can also cover an individual regardless of which car they are in. So, this will be the best option if you regularly drive or are a passenger in several different cars.

#2 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Size

If the company’s size matters to you, first and foremost, remember that Green Flag, AA, and RAC are all big companies in the car breakdown market. So, none are likely to go under, leaving you stranded because they all have the resources to deal with your problems, no matter how big and the European country you find yourself in.

However, to satisfy your curiosity, this is what you should know:

  • The Carlyle Group owns the RAC, has 7 million customers and over 1,750 patrols, and deals with 2.5 million breakdowns annually.
  • Next is the Green Flag, part of the RBS Group, with over 5 million members, employs a network of local contractors to handle breakdowns.
  • On the other hand, the AA deals with 3.5 million broken-down cars a year. There is no specific figure to how many patrols they have, but they claim that “no other breakdown provider has as many dedicated patrols.” AA also has 15 million members, which makes them the largest car breakdown service provider by a considerable margin.

#3 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Price

Basically, you will get the best price with these big-three breakdown companies if you buy online. However, it is also worth looking out for special offers in newspapers and at shows if you aren’t in a hurry.

That being said, here is what you should know:

Traditionally Green Flag has been the cheapest of the three breakdown company, with the AA and RAC being level after that.

Regardless, note that all are keen to attract new members and often reserve their best deals for them, which you can use at renewal time.

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#4 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Speed of Response

Green Flag leads the field when it comes to responding quickly. It claims that its average response time is 30 minutes, which is helped by employing a network of local agents to act on their behalf. The RAC aims to reach its customers in 40 minutes, while the AA doesn’t quote an average response time.

Notwithstanding, the RAC has the highest number of patrols per member, while the AA has the highest number in total.

#5 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Repairing Cars at the Roadside

Now, which breakdown cover is the best at repairing cars at the roadside?

Again, Green Flag takes the lead repairing 86% of all cars at the roadside.

Meanwhile, the AA and RAC tie for second place, claiming they can fix 80% of breakdowns at the roadside. Interestingly, the AA claims it takes an average of 30 minutes to effect roadside repairs; neither Green Flag nor the RAC quote for repair time.

#6 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – What if I’ve already Broken Down?

Both the RAC and the AA will provide breakdown cover, even if you’ve already broken down, but don’t just expect to get their best price.

#7 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Reputation

Another important point to consider is the breakdown company’s reputation – do their customers like them, and would they use them again?

For Green Flag, its claims regarding customer satisfaction are limited to telling us that they won the 2010 Your Money award.

On the other hand, the AA claim that 95% of its customers would recommend them to a friend, showing that most of its customers are highly satisfied with the service they receive.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Customer Service rated the RAC number one in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index in 2010. The company also won the 2009 J D Power ‘Roadside Assistance’ award for the fourth year.

#8 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Extras

Another point to consider is the ‘extras’; are they important to you?

Basically, the ‘extras’ that the three breakdown companies provide vary too. For instance, the AA has a directory of member discounts covering dining, days out, other AA products and services, parking, clothing, car repairs, and holidays. The company claims its members can save up to £300 a year using the directory.

Meanwhile, the RAC offers a no-claims discount that can reduce the cost of membership by 10% for every year that you don’t call them out, up to a maximum of 50%.

Green Flag also offers a no-claims discount, and they will even protect this once you have had four years within making a claim. Additionally, they will give you £10 if they don’t reach you and your broken down car within one hour of calling them.

#9 Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Website

For more information on any of these breakdown covers, visit their respective websites via the links below:




Green Flag Vs AA Vs RAC – Which Is Better?

It’s not easy to say which is better among the three. It is even more complicated because everyone’s requirements are so different. However, by looking at your priorities, attitudes, and needs, you can narrow it down to what’s best for you.

Here’s an overview of the main features of the three biggest operators (Green flag vs AA vs RAC):

Budget policy detailsRACAAGreen Flag
New online customer price£75 (or £7.50/month)£59 (or £6/month)£25+ (10% of customers or fewer will be eligible for the cheapest price)
What is covered?Your vehicle (not you)Your vehicle (not you)Your vehicle (not you)
AreaResidents of the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of ManUK residents (except Republic of Ireland)Cover in the UK, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man (and, for residents of the Channel Islands)
VehiclesCars, motorhomes, vans, minibusses, and motorbikes (over 49cc)Cars, motorbikes, motorhomes, minibusses, and small vans (max weight 3.5 metric tonnes, max-width 2.55m)Cars, motorbikes, motorhomes, and small vans
Vehicle age restrictionsNo limitNo age restrictionNo limit (within the UK)
Distance from homeMore than ¼ mileMore than ¼ mileMore than ¼ mile
Towing details if the car can’t be repaired at the roadsideTow your vehicle to a local garage or destination of your choice within 10 milesTow you and up to seven passengers to a local AA-approved garage or your choice of destination if no further than the garageTow you and your passengers (number unspecified) up to 10 miles to a destination of your choice or the nearest approved garage.
Transport from garageTaxi fare of up to 20 miles from the garage if your vehicle can’t be fixedNo coverNo cover
Number of call-outsFive per yearTwo per yearNo limit specified, although claims can lead to higher premiums in following years and unless the call-out is for the same fault within 28 days.
Are parts covered?NoYes, up to the value of £5No
Average response timeAim to reach you within 40 minutesI Will reach you in around 40-45 minutesAim to arrive within one hour. If it takes longer than this, you’ll receive £10 compensation.


We have made available everything you need to know about the three biggest breakdown cover operators in this article, which include Green Flag, AA, and RAC, to help you choose which service providers to use.

So, the ball is right in your court to play!


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