European breakdown cover for cars, vans and motorbikes

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Driving in Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic

On 4th October, the travel traffic light system was replaced by a simplified set of rules for international travel. These rules tell you what you must do when returning to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland from a red list country.

It's important to check both your destination's entry requirements and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice for travelling there.

What is European breakdown cover?

You’ve thrown yourself in the deep end – driving on the right, unfamiliar road signs… The last thing you need is your vehicle breaking down. With European breakdown cover, you can be assured you’re protected if you’re unlucky enough to have your car break down.

Roadside assistance can be costly if you don’t have cover in place. But with European breakdown cover you’ll get roadside assistance as standard. And if the problem can’t be fixed on the side of the road, the car will be towed to the nearest garage for repair.

It’s worth seeing what each policy covers, as some companies have exclusions on which countries are included. European breakdown cover isn’t typically included on a standard UK policy, but you can sometimes add it as an additional feature.

Before you choose a policy, it’s best to look at what’s included rather than basing your decision on the cheapest deal. A small saving on initial price could cost you a fortune in transport/repair costs if you do break down and you’re not fully covered while abroad. Get a quote to compare features and prices.

What’s covered in European breakdown cover?

First off you’ll need to decide if you want cover for a single trip or an annual multi-trip. This determines how long you’ll be covered for. If you’re just going for a one-off trip, then consider a single-trip policy. However, if you’re visiting Europe regularly, an annual policy could save you money in the long run – just be sure to check for exclusions.

Key features include:

  • Home start: Be covered from the get-go. Even if your vehicle breaks down at home before your journey, you’ll be covered.
  • Onward journey: If your vehicle breaks down and can’t be repaired on the roadside, then you’ll be reimbursed for your travel costs. Some policies will even get you a hire a car to get you to your destination.
  • Vehicle recovery: If your car can’t be repaired abroad or if it needs to go back to the UK, you’ll have peace of mind that you don’t need to shell out extra as long as it’s part of your policy.
  • Accommodation cost: If you can’t reach your destination, some policies will cover costs of emergency accommodation while your vehicle is being repaired.
  • English-speaking call centres: Some breakdown companies will provide a number to an English-speaking representative, to make sure you don’t have the added stress of a language barrier when you’re stuck on the roadside.
If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll need extra cover. Read the fine print, as it won’t be protected within the usual breakdown cover.

What to look out for?

European breakdown cover will have certain limits. Each provider will be different, so make sure you check:

  • Parts and labour cost: Some providers will only pay up to a certain amount, the rest will be up to you to pay.
  • Mileage limit: If you’ve exceeded the agreed mileage limit, your provider can refuse to cover your claim.
  • Call-out limitations: If you have an annual policy, there may be a cap on how many times you can make a claim. Call-outs typically range from four per year to unlimited.
  • Human error: Check to see if you’re covered against locking yourself out, or adding the wrong fuel etc.
  • Second home in Europe: Some providers won’t cover you if you have a second residence in Europe – check with individual providers before taking out cover.
You want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible if you were to ever break down abroad, so it’s worth taking a little extra time to read the fine print to give you peace of mind. 

Be prepared

Breaking down can be very frustrating, especially if you’re stranded for a couple of hours in the middle of nowhere.

There’s often not much you can do to avoid breaking down – however, you can take some precautions to make the experience a little less unpleasant.

Take a look at our ultimate breakdown checklist for some helpful tips.

Why use to compare European breakdown insurance?

  • It’s quick and easy! Getting a quote only takes a minute.
  • Compare breakdown cover from some of the UK’s biggest providers like Green Flag, and AXA.
  • We compare policies that cover breakdowns at home, on the roadside and across Europe.
  • When you compare policies, helpful prompts are on hand throughout to help you understand the different levels of cover and policy benefits available.
  • You get an at-a-glance table with your prices, so you can easily compare features and levels of cover.
You’ll need the vehicle’s age to get a quote. If you don’t know it, use our guide to find out what year your car was built.

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