Planning a holiday? Well, lucky you, but donít forget the travel breakdown insurance. We explain what to look for.
Assuming you have good breakdown cover motoring in this country can be surprisingly easy. Even if you do grind to a halt you can still call a man with a van who’ll come along and sort it all out.
Such is the confidence we have that we often forget these privileges might not apply if we go abroad. According to some estimates the cost of getting your car back from the continent could be more than £2,000 so it pays to be forearmed.
Am I covered?
A common mistake people make is to assume that they already have European breakdown recovery car insurance as part of their existing UK policy. While many providers do offer the option of including European breakdown cover this generally comes at a significant additional cost.
Although expensive this could be worthwhile if you regularly take your car overseas.
Types of European car breakdown insurance
There are many different types of continental car breakdown insurance offering variable levels of service.
Most will provide you with an English language helpline. An advisor will determine your location and contact a partner mechanic to come and try to help you out by the road side.
However, when you compare European breakdown insurance cover, it’s also worthwhile reading the small print as many have a number of limitations which could affect your level of cover.
For example, many will have a limit on the number of days you can travel abroad or a maximum price of repairs. Some may also limit cover to only those countries inside the Eurozone.
Car repairs and recovery
If it’s not possible to repair the car by the road, it can then be taken back to a garage. If the worst has happened and it’s deemed irreparable then you may need to repatriate the car back home.
Most breakdown cover providers will foot the bill for this, but some may refuse to pay if the cost of repatriation is greater than the value of the car, so check the small print.
For an additional fee many companies will offer a service which pays for emergency accommodation and onward travel. This option normally comes with the most expensive policies but can give you peace of mind.
European single trip breakdown insurance
You can choose to purchase European breakdown insurance on a one off basis for one trip. The limitations in this are that it may only cover a certain number of days, so if you’re going for more than two weeks you may be left high and dry.
Annual European breakdown cover
If you intend to travel to Europe frequently you may want to purchase a deal which offers annual European breakdown cover. This will set you back quite a bit, but will provide all year round cover. Some, however, have limitations such as only weekend break cover so check the details.
Should you bother with EU breakdown cover?
Let’s face it, purchasing additional breakdown cover is expensive, especially as, all being well, you should not need it, but here’s a few things to bear in mind if you decide to go commando.
If you breakdown without cover you’ll either have to call a local mechanic incurring a call out fee, and cover the cost of repairs yourself. If the care needs to be repatriated you’ll have to foot the bill and with costs rising to more than £2,000, that’s no small consideration.
Alternatively you could sign up to a EU policy with a UK breakdown company then and there. If you do, be warned, as you’ll have to pay a one off sign up charge of £90 or more, not to mention covering call charges.
For these reasons and for your peace of mind it's usually worthwhile getting insurance sorted in advance.
To make a European breakdown insurance comparison our European Breakdown Insurance comparison table has everything you need to find the best policy.