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breakdown cover for a french car


Deby
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Hi Forum, its been a while since I posted. I wonder if any of you could advise me on breakdown cover for a French car. I have an old Golf which I use when I'm in France, its recently passed its Controle Technique, but I wish to use it for a couple of longer journeys than the usual pottering around. I would feel far more comfortable if I have some sort of breakdown cover whilst I'm doing these longer journeys, circa 3 weeks. Can I get temporary cover? Are there restrictions? Age of car etc? Do I add to my current policy. Any guidance would be appreciated. Debs
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Breakdown services like AA or RAC do not exist in France.

Your French insurance usually includes a breakdown policy, but from what I hear its just a tow to the nearest main dealership / authorised garage. This probably depends a lot on your insurers, so you will need to check your own policy.

The German breakdown company ADAC offer EU-wide breakdown services similar to that offered by the UK companies. I hear good things about them, but have no experience myself.

I always wondered though....if I were to use the service offered by my insurer - does this count as an insurance claim?

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[quote user="dave21478"]

The German breakdown company ADAC offer EU-wide breakdown services similar to that offered by the UK companies. I hear good things about them, but have no experience myself.[/quote]

I have cover from ADAC as I do my own service/repairs on our cars. A friend recently had a breakdown on a motorway. ADAC paid for a tow off the motorway to a main dealer (120€). The quote for repair here was 3000€ which he did not find acceptable (eventual repair cost £400). ADAC returned his car to a garage of his choice in the UK and paid for a choice of a return ticket home or 5 days hire car to continue his journey (he chose car hire). Cover only starts when you are more than 50Km from home. The German company uses local breakdown/recovery, for instance in the UK they use the AA to recover your car.

Before I had ADAC cover I had a breakdown only 8km from my home and they took my car to a main dealer 70km away!

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Cooper Lola, recommend the Club de l'ouest to me, they have English speakers, will cover multiple vehicles, ie. English & French cars, and of course you get the added benefit of the members grandstand at Le mans!

Automobile Club de l'Ouest - Service Membres

Circuit des 24 Heures - CS21928

72019 Le Mans Cedex 2 - France

02 43 40 50 60 (de 8h30 à 18h du lundi au vendredi)

clubaco@lemans.org / www.lemans.org

L D lines
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I have ADAC cover but have yet to claim on it so can't really comment on the service, never ever claimed on any breakdown service come to that.

Usefully it covers you (and wife if you opt for that) in whatever car you happen to be travelling in.

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Having seen and heard French friends harrowing experiences when their cars have been towed to a garage which then proceeds to fleece them including one whose breakdown truck actually drove past their door but refused to release the vehicle I like others am very wary, also I know in the UK that vehicles usually lose contents as well, so wary that I recently slept the night in my car in an aire d'autoroute after breaking down, I do however have a positive experience to recount, pretty much first hand.

On my last trip to the UK I took a French friend who had bought an old Mazda MX5 on ebay, it had been standing a long time and we expected some problems and werent dissapointed.

He had insured the day before with the broker in town and I think the vignette and IMIC were actually filled out by hand we wondered whether the breakdown cover would actually be in place if he needed it, it turned out to be so.

We had several problems on the motorway in the UK with having to release seized brake calipers whilst lorries thundered past, back at my workshop we found an oil leak, duff hydraulic lifters an occasional fluffy misfire and a hard to define lack of vitality, that said it started an ran OK so he set off back to France alone the next day, I was remaining in the UK but at the end of the phone if need be, we really werent confident that the breakdown cover would repatriate a broken down UK reg car bought the day before travelling to France on a day return ticket [:-))]  common sense would say it should stay in the UK as on paper it would be returning the next day.

He broke down in roadworks on the M20 and was pushed to the side by a Police patrol, restarted and broke down again in the customs shed after they did a big search, he phoned me to say he had missed the boat, was waiting for another but was in the wrong lane and it would not restart again. [:(]

Later on a phone call saying he had got 3km out of Calais and conked out again and had called out the breakdown service, this was probably 22.00 hrs in France.

The insurance paid for him to stay the night in a hotel, the taxi there, the vehicle recovery, a hire car to get him back to his home and presumeably would have paid for him to travel back to the garage had they done the repairs, in any case what was really good was that they covered 5 days storage charges and he picked the vehicle up with a trailer the next weekend.

So for him it worked really well and he was just pleased that it all took place on French soil, he doesnt speak English.

Back here I couldnt restart the vehicle but had both fuelling and ignition, I found that by advancing the ignition a far as it would go (it is adjustable on this vehicle despite it having a cat) it made some encouraging noises so on a hunch checked the cam timing, all seemed spot on so just to be sure I checked that the TDC mark on the pulley really did correspond to TDC, it was 20° out [8-)]

Turns out the harmonic damper on the pulley had deteriorated and the outer ring had slipped around the inner, whoever had fitted the cambelt had not realised, the car starts and runs fine now.

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Well I am know all sorted thanks to ADAC. I have to say their service was immaculate from start to finish. I am all rather impressed, but the proof will be if I ever needed it. Apparently I can use it on my own car here in UK as the cover remains with me. It is also extended to my husband. I might consider cancelling my AA cover as this appears to cover everything.
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[quote user="Chancer"]Would you mind saying how much it costs please and is it a recovery back to base service if the repairs are more than a few hours labour or a certain amount?[/quote]

I paid 79€ in April this year, I believe it's 99€ for a couple.

They will fix at roadside if poss. or you can have your car taken to a garage or returned home. My friend had his car returned to a garage in the UK from Rouen.

ADAC single Plusmembership http://www.adac.de/mitgliedschaft/adac_membership/

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[quote user="Chancer"]

He broke down in roadworks on the M20 and was pushed to the side by a Police patrol, restarted and broke down again in the customs shed after they did a big search, he phoned me to say he had missed the boat, was waiting for another but was in the wrong lane and it would not restart again.[/quote]

So one can only assume this "old Mazda MX5" that "had been standing a long time", and still on GB plates, had no current road tax or MOT? So once the obstruction was removed after breaking down, the police were not interested and just drove off leaving your friend to sort it himself out, and without any vehicle status check?

I would suggest that it wasn't the police who pushed him out of the roadworks, but Highways Agency Traffic Officers who gave him the 2 hour window to carry out DIY repair before enforcing compulsory removal off the motorway!

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You know what they say about people that assume dont you [:D] [;-)]

It still has a little MOT and the tax expired at the end of May, the very next day IIRC or perhaps 2 days after.

I have no idea who pushed him as I wasnt there, he reported it to me on his mobile referring to them as the Gendarmes, I think that its safe to assume that they werent Gendarmes [:D]

Would you like me to tell him that he also broke the law by taking my call while he was driving?

Are you really allowed to spend 2 hours at the side of a motorway doing DIY repairs? I thought that they would call out a breakdown truck straight away at your cost.

It may have been the non motorway section of the M20 after the M25, like I said I wasnt there, I recall there being signs on the M25 roadworks the day before saying free breakdown recovery and I had explained to him to wait with the car if he broke down in that section as there was no hard shoulder.

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[quote user="Chancer"]

You know what they say about people that assume dont you [:D] [;-)]

No!

It still has a little MOT and the tax expired at the end of May, the very next day IIRC or perhaps 2 days after.

I have no idea who pushed him as I wasnt there, he reported it to me on his mobile referring to them as the Gendarmes, I think that its safe to assume that they werent Gendarmes [:D]

If it was the police who assisted, even with valid MOT and road tax, it must have been his lucky day! Some will remember the "Police, Camera, Action" programme featuring the French resident driving a car with UK plates for which he

produced a French Insurance document, and had the vehicle confiscated because

the insurance did not register on the
police database!

Would you like me to tell him that he also broke the law by taking my call while he was driving?

Apart from the law regarding the use of hand held devices being just as applicable in France as it is in the UK, if you're happy aiding and abetting someone to commit an offence ........[:)]

Are you really allowed to spend 2 hours at the side of a motorway doing DIY repairs? I thought that they would call out a breakdown truck straight away at your cost.

Bit like making assumptions then![:D]

[quote]The powers to allow Traffic Officers to remove vehicles are detailed in

"The Removal and Disposal of Vehicles (Traffic Officers) (England)

Regulations 2008"

In circumstances where motorists cannot make suitable private

arrangements, Traffic Officers will be able to offer motorists a

"facilitated recovery". The NVRM is appointed to arrange recovery of the

motorists vehicle. Motorists have two hours to make suitable

arrangements. Under Section 99 of the Road Traffic Act 1984, if this

time lapses a "statutory removal" can be invoked. Vehicles that are in a

dangerous location or causing an obstruction - can also be statutorily

removed under Section 99, regardless of how long the vehicle has been in

situ. The NVRM will undertake the arrangement of any recovery. There

are strict controls about the use of statutory removals.[/quote]

The two hours "to make suitable arrangements" may also include minor repairs conducted on site at the discretion of the Traffic Officers.

[/quote]
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I am in awe at your knowledge of minutia (spelling?) of the laws, I can see the logic of the above relating to vehicles broken down and causing either no obstruction or partial obstruction on non motorway roads but have always believed that on a motorway you must seek assistance (recovery) either at the nearest borne or by portable and then remove yourself to a place of safety whilst waiting, I was/am certain that you should not effect repairs at the side of the motorway although I suupose what about a puncture and changing a wheel?

I considered that when we freed off the brakes although very luckily it was behind a barrier under a bridge we would both have been given a rollicking and fine had a patrol passed, am I wrong?

A.S.S.U.M.E.

Making an *** out of you and me [;-)]

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[quote user="Chancer"]

I am in awe at your knowledge of minutia (spelling?) of the laws, I can see the logic of the above relating to vehicles broken down and causing either no obstruction or partial obstruction on non motorway roads but have always believed that on a motorway you must seek assistance (recovery) either at the nearest borne or by portable and then remove yourself to a place of safety whilst waiting, I was/am certain that you should not effect repairs at the side of the motorway although I suupose what about a puncture and changing a wheel?

If you care to read through my last, the reference was to the role of Traffic Officers in attendance, not to a breakdown where Police or Traffic Officers are not in attendance!

As you say, you weren't there so we haven't received the full story - just your version of events!

I considered that when we freed off the brakes although very luckily it was behind a barrier under a bridge we would both have been given a rollicking and fine had a patrol passed, am I wrong?

I wouldn't know. I wasn't there so my minutia of the laws couldn't possibly allow me to comment!

A.S.S.U.M.E.

Making an *** out of you and me [;-)]

Maybe that should read A.S.S.U.?[;-)]

[/quote]
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Hi Chancer, I paid 79e.I will receive the documentation shortly, even if it is in German, I have good enough knowledge of the language to understand it, if not I will speak with a German speaking friend to clarify!

Now Salty Sam and Chancer, I know you are trying to be helpful, but c'mon boys :-) lets be nice - Chancer you have quite rightly taken the peaceful ground. Salty Sam - your knowledge is commendable.

I will keep my AA still but apparently the ADAC service does include my car in the UK too plus if anyone wishes to drive my French car in Europe they will be covered too. Not bad for a 24 year old Golf! God love those Germans and their engineering and service too. Puts the French to shame somewhat.

I am still annoyed with Hollande and his new regime! He will be France's downfall as he is not an economist - time will tell. Off my soap box now.

Thanks for all your help.

Have been with the Forum since 2003 and its still a lovely place sauf the odd person.

I miss a few of the old original crowd TeamedUp aka Idun, Saligo Bay, Tresco, Panda,Opas and Malcolm forget his old name and of course Cooperlola bless her xx

What happened to Kathy? Val2? and Malcolm?

Sorry wandering a bit!
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Thankyou for your kind and wise words Deby.

Thats a good price, do you think that its a RTB recovery service or just to local garage think like what is included in my French insurance, if its the former then given the age and mileage of my car it would be a good investment for me, I just cant afford to replace her for a few years.

Val2 still posts occasionally here and often on another forum.

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[quote user="Chancer"]

Thankyou for your kind and wise words Deby.

Thats a good price, do you think that its a RTB recovery service or just to local garage think like what is included in my French insurance, if its the former then given the age and mileage of my car it would be a good investment for me, I just cant afford to replace her for a few years.

Val2 still posts occasionally here and often on another forum.

[/quote]

Suggest you read my post earlier 14/06/2013, 22:16

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I have had ADAC + cover for some 11 years, they even take payment over the phone now. Very helpful company with contact numbers for all countries plus they will all have an English speaking individual available. Cover is for the individual(s) not the vehicle which I find flexible. I have not needed them but I was with a friend in Naples when her car broke down ... easy call, because road intersections are difficult to name they talked the recovery unit in whilst talking to us :) I was impressed.
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