All you need to know about European Breakdown cover
Breaking down anywhere is rarely an enjoyable experience but especially so if you are far from home. That’s doubly true if you find yourself in another country where language barriers, different road laws and an unfamiliar environment only add to an already stressful situation. Luckily, if you drive a lot in Europe for business or pleasure, it’s now easier than ever to opt for European breakdown cover. In many cases it can simply be added to the UK breakdown cover you may already have (or added to your insurance in many cases) – whether you drive a car, a van, a motorbike or even a scooter.
How does it work?
When your car breaks down, you call your breakdown provider. They take down the details of where you are and roughly what the problem is, and send a mechanic to come out to you. They will do their best to fix the problem and get you back on the road. If something more serious is wrong, if you have ‘onward journey’ cover, they will take you and your car to either a garage of your choice, your destination or to a local hotel (depending on your level of cover). Some providers will even get you and your car all the way home to the UK.
A lot of people buy Europe breakdown cover as a single, standalone kind of car breakdown cover. This can be included on the usual UK-only cover, which you can often buy as part of your car insurance policy, or as an optional add-on. UK car insurance policies automatically cover you to drive within the EU, but only on a third-party basis.
Features of the best European breakdown cover
The following features are typically included within European breakdown cover. However, specific details will vary from policy to policy, so always check what the cover includes before purchasing and setting off on your trip.
Offers cover if your car breaks down before you even set off on your trip.
A recovery vehicle will try to fix your car by the side of the road. If this isn’t possible, it will be taken to a nearby garage.
Garage labour costs
To cover all or some of the costs of repairing your car at a garage.
This includes a means of continuing your journey. For example, some policies provide a replacement car while yours is at the garage, some offer reimbursement of public transport costs, and some even cover accommodation costs.
To cover all or some of the costs of returning your car to the UK if it can’t be fixed.
What are the different cover options?
Presumably you use your car to go on holiday outside the UK, which is why you’re looking for Europe breakdown cover. It means you can get help to repair your car if you break down in most countries on the continent. But if you only leave the country once or twice or year, you could also look at single trip European breakdown cover, which you can buy as a one-off through your provider. It could work out cheaper than buying a full annual policy.
In most cases your European cover will also mean that you can request recovery in the UK. If it includes Home Start, it will also mean that you can call for assistance if your car is at home and won’t start for any reason.
When you’re choosing your cover, make sure you look at the details carefully. Are the countries you’re planning to visit included? What exactly would happen if you break down – will you need to pay for local repairs or is it included? Does the provider have a wide enough network of partners to get to you quickly?
Other things you could include
Many providers will help you get a hire car so that you can get around while yours is being repaired, and some will provide hotel accommodation if you need somewhere to stay locally.
Some providers offer to take you all the way home to the UK if something goes wrong – and some don’t, so make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Other things to be aware of are that some providers won’t cover you if you are regularly driving to a holiday home on the continent, so if this is you, do check that carefully. And if you usually bring your caravan it will be much trickier to tow you, so some providers won’t cover this.
Of course, the different levels of cover come with different costs, so it’s worth using a comparison site to compare car breakdown cover to really understand what the options are and whether you should opt for cheap breakdown cover or spend a little more to make sure you aren’t left stranded or out of pocket.
Compare and save
Luckily, there’s a really good comparison site around here that might help. It’s called comparethemarket.com – maybe you’ve heard of it…We can help you look at the different kinds of breakdown cover offers available to you.
We’ll list the breakdown cover quotes out in a table for you with the cheapest breakdown cover at the top, and an at-a-glance guide to the main things each one offers you. Don’t just choose the cheapest – check out the details of each one. Some may offer priority for women travelling on their own, for example, or have faster average response times than others. Others may offer other discounts to their customers such as half price MOTs, so choose the provider that best suits your preferences.
When you’ve chosen the breakdown cover that suits your needs, just click on the ‘buy now’ button and it will take you to the provider’s website to do the rest. It’s easy to compare breakdown cover with comparethemarket.com to find great value breakdown cover to suit you.