Last updated: 17 August 2020
European breakdown cover is insurance you take out so that you're protected if your vehicle broke down while you're in Europe.
The best European breakdown cover can include cover for assistance on the road if your vehicle breaks down during a journey, or even if your car needs to be taken back to the UK for repairs.
Without adequate European breakdown cover, you could find yourself having to pay hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket.
It's important to know that European breakdown cover is not included in a standard breakdown policy you might take out at home. If you visit Europe often, it's a good idea to compare quotes and find the best European breakdown cover for you.
This means finding the European breakdown cover that includes everything you need, not just the cheapest policy.
To find the best European breakdown cover policy you need to think about
Whether you want a standalone policy or to add it to existing cover
What type of policy you need
What the policy will cover
Once you know what European breakdown cover you need for your trip, use this comparison to find as many quotes as possible and get the right policy at the best price.
Find out more about what European breakdown cover includes here.
You can get European breakdown cover by:
Adding it your policy if you already have standard breakdown cover
Buying a standalone European breakdown cover policy for your trip. This comparison shows providers that offer standalone European breakdown cover
Whichever way you get European breakdown cover, you need to make sure it gives you the cover you need.
There are two main types of European breakdown cover you can choose from:
Single trip policy: This covers one short trip or holiday abroad, usually for between 1 and 31 days
Annual or multi trip policy: This covers you whenever you drive in Europe during the course of a year
If you are only going away once, a single trip policy will be the cheapest option. Think about getting a multi trip or annual policy if you regularly drive in Europe. Breakdown cover can also offer crucial peace of mind if you drive in Europe regularly.
Breakdown cover, Europe-wide, offers the same cover as a standard UK policy, including roadside assistance and vehicle recovery. Here is what a breakdown policy covers.
You will be able to call a 24-hour UK helpline in the event of a breakdown, and they will send out a local patrol car to your location to help you.
You can also get extra protection with European breakdown cover, including:
Cover before departure
Vehicle and passenger repatriation
Customs duty indemnity.
Work out what you need your policy to cover and only compare policies that give you the protection you want.
Most policies split the countries they cover into three zones, but you should be protected in most of Europe. Breakdown cover may be offered at different levels in different countries though, so check your policy documents for exact details.
Zone 1: Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and Republic of Ireland.
Zone 2: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Gibraltar, Italy, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.
Zone 3: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia (west of the Urals), Serbia, Slovakia and Turkey.
*These are the territorial zones as defined by the RAC, other providers may differ
Keep in mind that insurers don't all cover the same countries. Some providers may also define the zones in a different way.
The cost of a European breakdown cover depends on a number of factors:
The length of your trip The price will differ if you're going just for a few days, or several weeks.
If you opt for annual European breakdown cover it is likely to be more expensive. However, if you make several trips to the continent in a single year, it'll probably be more cost effective.
Which country you visit: While policies usually cover most of Europe, breakdown cover in certain countries may be more expensive than others, especially when it comes to vehicle repairs.
The type of vehicle: Some cars may be more expensive to repair as parts for certain makes or models can be more expensive in different parts of Europe. Breakdown cover should cover these costs for you though.
The level of cover: The more extensive the cover, the more it will cost.
As always, comparing European breakdown cover quotes is the best way to find a policy the gives you the cover you need for a price you can afford
If your car is more than 10 years old, it can be more difficult to get breakdown cover. Europe is no different to the UK in this regard.
This is because they are more likely to break down and can be more expensive to repair. That said, that doesn't mean you can't get cover for an older car.
There might be fewer producers willing to provide cover, and it may cost more, but paying a little more for European breakdown cover would still be cheaper than having to pay out of pocket.
If you compare European cover quotes, you'll give yourself the best chance to find a deal that gives you the cover you need for a price you can afford.
Yes, you can get a policy that covers one trip to Europe, or you can buy a policy that will cover you for any trips you take in a year.
No, because you will be able to call a UK based helpline who will take your information and arrange an engineer to come and help you.
Yes, most policies can protect these vehicles when you go to Europe. Find out what vehicles a breakdown policy can cover here.
Most policies cover the cost of returning your car to the UK. Some also give you a hire car while you wait for your car to arrive back.
Yes, most policies offer cover before your departure. This means you can use your breakdown policy for up to seven days before you leave the UK.
We include European breakdown cover policies available from our panel of insurers and brokers. Here is more information about how our website works.
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