Taking your vehicle over to Europe?
Offering familiarity, flexibility and freedom, driving to Europe is a popular choice among British motorists. The RAC found that 54% of Brits would rather drive to Europe than take another form of transport.
But it comes with concerns too – the number one worry for 51% of drivers surveyed by the RAC was how to get roadside assistance as quickly as possible.
Why is European breakdown cover important?
Language barriers, unfamiliar rules of the road and a lack of local knowledge all make breaking down overseas even more stressful than it would be on home turf. So if you’re off to Europe for business or pleasure, it’s a good idea to reserve part of your budget for European breakdown cover.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options available from breakdown insurance providers, and you can often add European cover as an extra to your existing policy.
How does European breakdown cover work?
The most basic type of breakdown cover is roadside assistance, where your cover provider sends a recovery vehicle to help you. They will do their best to fix the problem there and then. If they can’t get you going again, they will take you to the nearest garage.
Onward journey cover will take you and your car to a garage of your choice, your destination or a local hotel (depending on your level of cover). Some providers will even cover some or all of the costs of getting you and your car all the way home to the UK.
Is European breakdown cover already included in my policy?
European cover could already be included as part of your existing breakdown policy – check the policy documents or terms and conditions. If it’s not, you can buy European breakdown cover as a single, standalone policy.
Is breakdown cover the only thing I need to check?
While you’re thinking about breakdown cover, take a look at your main vehicle insurance policy too. Some UK car insurance policies may automatically cover you to drive within Europe, but it’s best to check what level of cover you have before setting off.
In a few cases, you might need an International Driving Permit as well as your UK driving license.
What features does European breakdown cover include?
Specific details will vary from policy to policy, so always check what the cover includes before you buy.
These features are typically available with European breakdown cover:
1. Home start: Offers cover if your car breaks down before you set off on your trip.
2. Roadside assistance: 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.
3. Garage labour costs: To cover all or some of the costs of repairing your car at a garage.
4. Onward travel: 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.
5. Vehicle repatriation: To cover all or some of the costs of returning your car to the UK if it can’t be fixed.
Should I take out single or multi-trip insurance?
Depending on how often you will be going away, you can either buy single trip or multi-trip cover.
- Single trip European cover
If you drive to Europe once or twice or year, single trip European breakdown cover could work out cheaper than buying a full annual policy.
- Multi-trip (annual) cover:
This provides cover for all the trips you make in a year, up to 90 days in total. There may be a limitation on the number of consecutive days you can be covered for, so check the policy details carefully before choosing.
What happens if I don’t have breakdown cover in Europe?
If your vehicle broke down and you didn’t have cover, your first step would be finding a recovery company, then a reputable garage to repair your car.
In a worst-case scenario, you would need to pay for it to be brought back to the UK (repatriated). The RAC estimates the cost of this at £1,000 for France, and double that for more distant areas like southern Spain.
What else should I consider?
Some policies might offer priority for vulnerable motorists, such as those travelling on their own with children on board, or have faster average response times than others.
What kind of exclusions are there?
Some providers won’t cover you if you regularly drive to a holiday home on the continent. And if you usually bring your caravan, check that’s covered, as it will be much trickier to tow and some providers will exclude it.
Compare European breakdown cover deals
Whether you decide on cheap breakdown cover or want to invest in a more extensive policy, we can help you compare quotes.
Just type in a few details and compare multiple quotes on one easy-to-read page. You’ll see the policies listed with the cheapest first, and an at-a-glance guide to the main benefits of each, including any cashback or discounts.
When you’ve chosen the most suitable breakdown cover for you, just follow the link to the provider’s website to get your deal.