There are two types of breakdown insurance – neither of which cover the cost of parts. The first, which includes the AA and RAC, is essentially 'pre paid'. Mechanics therefore attend vehicles without charging labour. The second is 'pay and claim'. These policies require mechanics to assist, then directly charge the motorist. Insurance companies then refund the labour cost. Generally, 'pay and claim' polices are cheaper than 'pre pay' schemes.
Price comparison websites list a variety of policies. Start by considering which features you need, such as home start, onward travel etc. The comprehensiveness of the policy could depend on the vehicle's reliability. Premiums can be reduced by paying online, adding breakdown to existing motor policies, and asking for concessions.
Whichever policy you choose - choose something. Self recovery is inconvenient, time consuming, and expensive. By contrast, breakdown insurance minimises hassle and aids peace of mind.