Green Flag – owned by the Direct Line Insurance Group

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Originally called the National Breakdown Recovery Club, Green Flag was founded out of a fish and chip shop in Bradford back in 1971.

Starting out as a membership scheme that cost £1.50 per year for people who lived in the West Yorkshire area, it has since become one of the leading providers of vehicle recovery in the UK.

Still based in Yorkshire – with their head offices now in Pudsey, Leeds – the company is now owned by the Direct Line Insurance Group, and offers a variety of different levels of cover for members that include cover for breakdowns at home, use of a hire car if your vehicle is not immediately fixed and policies valid for European travel.

Competing mainly with RAC and The AA for business in the roadside assistance industry, Green Flag differ from their rivals in that they have no mechanical staff of their own – instead relying on a network of local garages to provide assistance in an emergency. While this does lower operational outgoings for the company (savings which are passed on to customers), some would argue that Green Flag’s higher response times in an emergency are due to this cost-cutting structure.

Despite only being the third largest company in the sector, Green Flag have won the much coveted Breakdown Cover Provider award from Your Money magazine for 8 of the last 10 years, while also being given the mantle of Roadside Assistance Company of the year by the Institute of Transport in 2012. However, in a 2013 poll, readers polled by Auto Express ranked Green Flag the third worst vehicle recovery provider in the UK.