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European breakdown cover for elderly UK car


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I am casting around for annual European breakdown cover for my much-loved 2003-reg VW on its occasional visits to France.

Most cover seems to cut off at 13 or 14 years.

I spotted one company that claims to insure vehicles up to 20 years old for European breakdown, as long as one took their domestic cover too. The price was not excessive, but the few reviews I could find of it have not filled me with confidence - the only two glowing ones, from 7 years ago, sounded as if they could have been written by the management. (I am not sure we are allowed to name names, but its USP was that it was "ethical"; not my top priority for a breakdown service.)

Has anyone got a tried and trusted service they could recommend?

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What about ADAC the German company that does pan european breakdown cover?


They are always recommended, must get around to getting some myself.


Editted, mine is 2 years older than yours and last time I checked, within the last 2 years there was no problem with the age.

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Another vote for ADAC. The price of membership gives Europe-wide breakdown cover.

Just one proviso for all of the companies, if you break down on the peage sections of the motorway you have to accept their break down companies to get you off the motorway. I believe that ADAC will reimburse you, but I have not tried it. Other companies may not provide that cover.
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Just got my avis déchéance through for my car assurance, its dirt cheap at €114 even after several renewals but doesn't have breakdown cover, initially proposed as a very cheap option but I didn't have the funds, I asked them last year and they quoted me silly money, have asked again this year.


How much extra should the assurance dépannage be on a French Policy for say a franchise of zero or 30kms?


If not it will be ADAC but has anyone got a number where an étranger can insure with them? I tried and failed a few years ago, all the numbers I called spoke good English but for some reason could not insure me, it had to be through one of their agents.


Can anyone help please? 

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I habitually and drive cars which main stream insurers won't touch and although in my entire motoring career spanning some 50+ years I've never once broken down and summon assistance I nevertheless do carry insurance and since being in France that has been with ADAC who, like The AA and RAC in UK, insure the driver and not the car. Currently ADAC Plus which is for insured and spouse is ~€98 pa.

As for taking out cover 30 seconds on Google will reveal a phone number to use to join from outside Germany.

0049 941 52344

One point to note, they do not accept credit cards only debit and I use my CA card.

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"They (ADAC) don't take Credit cards" (Quote above)

I have renewed in the last week and as always sent them an email saying (in English) "please debit my credit card xxxx".

I have always paid with a credit card so not sure where the problem is!

Whe I first joined I telephoned and then, if I recall correctly, replied to an email from them to confirm information.

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Does ADAC offer better cover for Europe-wide breakdown cover than most French insurance companies? - I couldn't find details in English of the cover offered on the ADAC site, so am unable to make this comparison.

All our vehicles are insured with Groupama, and cover includes "Assistance panne 0 km".

Within a 90 day period away from home, this covers breakdown repair or delivery to a garage anywhere in Europe, with a limit of 138€ in France and 230€ in other countries, car return (after repairs) of up to 80€, repatriation in the event the car is unrepairable in a foreign country up to the value of the car in its actual state, cost of gardiennage up to 153€ while awaiting repatriation, and refund of charges for breakdown repairs and delivery to a garage in the event of a breakdown on a motorway.

It also organises and pays for transport for me or my representative to recover a vehicle following repair or theft (if it is driveable), including lodging costs for up to 2 nights, to a maximum of 280€.

If the vehicle is not repairable within 48 hours, or has been stolen, it covers the cost of returning the driver and passengers home, or will contribute this amount towards the cost of continuing the trip. This amount is based on the cost of a first class rail fare or a tourist class air fare.

The premium for our Audi A4, for cover for everything except damage to the car not recoverable from a third party, is 275€.

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Do you know how much the assurance dépannage comes to within that figure Nomoss?


I'm sure in the past it was around €30 ish for me with 20km franchise, my cheapo insurer wants €33 for a 50km franchise and €57 for 0km franchise.


I also would like to know how the cover compares to ADAC, I recall they had a similar clause regarding repatriation so as my car is worth nothing  then I can pretty much ignore the overseas cover, if Ibreak down in the UK I can probably do a deal with the recovery garage to take it to my base there where I have all the Equipment anyway, what cover do ADAC give in France, recovery to nearest garage or to the domicile? I know the one being offered to me will only put me in the clutches of a local garage even if towing me home was nearer.

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I dont trust the shower that I am with but they are cheap as chips, after getting the avis d'échéance today they write to me to say that it was wrong, heres a new one!


A l'occasion du renouvellement à l'échéance de votre contrat Auto, vous avez reçu un avis d'échéance par un précédent mail.

En raison d'une difficulté technique, l'avis d'échéance que vous avez reçu n'était pas correct. Nous sommes désolés de cet incident et vous prions de trouver ci-joint votre avis d'échéance validé.

Je reste à votre disposition pour toute question.



Guess how much more the new one is?


€4 less [:D]



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[quote user="Chancer"]

Do you know how much the assurance dépannage comes to within that figure Nomoss?[/quote]

Sorry, there is no breakdown of the items, as it is a "formule" called "ECO"

I also have bonus of 50% and limit of 8000 Km/year on all our vehicles.

I have checked other offers from time to time, but found little difference, and had good experiences with Groupama when I had a claim on our house policy. Besides which, their office is literally just across the road from our house.

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quote by nomoss.....

Within a 90 day period away from home, this covers breakdown repair or delivery to a garage anywhere in Europe, with a limit of 138€ in France and 230€ in other countries, car return (after repairs) of up to 80€, repatriation in the event the car is unrepairable in a foreign country up to the value of the car in its actual state, cost of gardiennage up to 153€ while awaiting repatriation, and refund of charges for breakdown repairs and delivery to a garage in the event of a breakdown on a motorway.

Thats REALLY bad cover.

138 euro towing limit? That is likely to get you a couple of miles at best.

Car return up to 80 euros? How can this be less than the pick-up limit? Do they just take it two thirds of the way and then shove it off the transporter?

153 euros limit for storage costs? Thats maybe a day and a half.

I had a breakdown in UK a couple of weeks ago and used my UK RAC cover. A fifteen hour relay through the night on three different trucks for me and the car. Cost me nothing. The drivers suggested the bill would be well into four figures.

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That is more than a slight exaggeration, dave.

A quick search shows towing charges as follows

Forfait Dépannage Remorquage

A : Véhicules de tourisme

B : Monospace, 4x4, petit utilitaire

C : Tous Véhicules jusqu'à 3,5 T

D : Tous Véhicules de 3,5 T à 7,5 T

(Tarifs HT)






De 0 à 20 kms roulés





De 21 à 40 kms roulés





De 41 à 50 kms roulés





Au-delà, kms parcourus





Source [url]www.transport-datac.fr/nos-tarifs-depannage[/url]

I expect the return charge is lower because the car is mobile again.

Gardiennage (parking) charge on the same site is 11€ per day.

If you have been paying the sort of charges you quote I suggest you get a couple of devis before you agree to a deal :)

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Thats grand if you break down in or near a town with a reputable contractor, but I wish you good luck with those figures if you break down in the middle of nowhere where the only hope if the local wee garage run by a sour-faced twat who wont start his truck for less than 100 euros and will teach you all manner of new swear words if you try to get him to work out of hours on a sunday.

As for storage costs, thats fine for your car sitting in a towing yard somewhere....give a main dealer a call and ask them what their storage costs are.

I personally know two people who ended up losing their cars due to excessive storage costs after breakdowns far from home.
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It's horses for courses, of course, and life is simpler if one is retired [:)]

I maintain our cars myself, and don't plan on having major breakdowns. I trust my own ability to fix any small problems with the tools and OBD scan tool I normally carry.

As our current "long distance" car is a 1996 Audi A4 Avant with one previous owner from new, only 48,000 Km and a full and up to date service history, I have more confidence in it than in a new car, as it has far less bells and whistles, and I know it very well after having it over a year. We also don't go any further than the UK or southern Spain - nowhere we don't speak the language.

Our insurance cover is adequate to get a car to a safe place to fix it, getting it to an agent would not be any use, as I refuse to pay their prices. In the event of a catastrophe or a bad accident for which I could not claim against a third party I would probably scrap it on the spot, as the book value is extremely low.

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I am pi55ed off that the long reply i wrote has been lost, around here taxis charge €5 per km, ambulances are cheaper and its the same firm [:'(] but if its a VSL on a docteurs ordonnance they stick to the SECU tarif of 50cts per mile, same vehicle privately is 10 times the cost.


A depanneur would be a lot more, plus the local ones like Daves dont want to know unless they have space in the workshop and can rip off a foreigner on Holiday, then you cant stop them from towing away a vehicle, when I have had unauthorised vehicles removed from my car park via the gendermerie the truck came from Amiens where the fourrière is, an 80km round trip, the people have to pay that plus silly money storage charges to get their vehicle back.


Unless you have a very expensive vehicle and deep pockets if a vehicle is towed here then you wave goodbye to it, someone I knew broke down less than 1km from their house, blocked fuel filter, the trucky refused to tow them home came oyt with the usual crap of it being against the law instead the vehicle was taken to a garage in Amiens who then wanted €2K to allegedly replace the whole fuel system pumps, injectors etc or €500 storage charges, plus the recovery excess which was a similar amount plus another €500 special price to return the vehicle to them, they paid and it was dumped on their drive with a partially stripped engine on the passenger seat dribbling oïl everywhere, loads of bits missing and it turned out not to be their engine but one from a completely different make of car, you cannot make this stuff up.


Thats why I am so wary of breakdown insurance, my car is worthless and I want no more than the minimum cover to then sort myself out like nomoss or Dave or to walk away.


The value of the cover to me is if I breakdown or have an accident on the autoroute I (hopefully) wont have to pay, the taxi that will then take me to a hotel or trains station will also have to take all my Tools and valuables etc from the vehicle, that way they wont be liberated and I can walk away from the vehicle if held to ransom.



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I am not sure anyone plans for a major breakdown, however such things do happen - and probably at the most inopportune moment. My last major breakdown was in Luxembourg en route to the Uk for a do where I was supplying a lot of the booze. Major cylinder head problems. ADAC supplied a hire car - with capacity for the "luggage" - for a 8 days. My costs ? 70ish Euros because their standard replacement car policy is 7 days. Decided the car was not worth repair given the high mileage and the cost of a complete engine replacement (recommended because of the high mileage and the possibility of subsequent problems.)
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OTOH the policys offered with car insurance from the mainstream companies do what they say on the tin, my French pal is with AXA, the agent I fell out with, we went to the UK to pick up an MX5 I won for him on EBay, he insured it including the breakdown cover, long story short the seller scammed us and the crank pulley was chewing out the woodruff key making the timing slip, I retimed it at my place in Sussex and sent him to the ferry with my fingers crossed, he managed to get on and off the boat and it finally died 500m from the Calais terminal.


Breakdown insurance paid for taxi to hôtel, night in hôtel, hire car for him to get back to the Somme because the journey would have exceeded so many steps on trains and taxi's there was some good arrangement for the car to be returned, they paid for up to a week of storage charges and i think he did a deal where they paid for the van he hired to take his trailer to collect it because it was less than transporting him there.


so he got his monies worth but if the Kent coppers hadn't push started him and the P&O guys done the same on and off the boat he would have been calling for assistance from the UK, he would have got back but the car would have been scrapped.

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Just bought an adapted 2003 car for our disabled son, brought it over last week and had it checked out by our local garage, who are as good as gold. They did a mini service gave it a clean bill of health.

Son then set off for music festival in Slovenia on Friday. Got as far as Lyon (500kms) and the car died, after running hot.

Father (me), rather stupidly had forgotten to add breakdown cover to the insurance we arranged and the local dépanneur who rescued him from the centre of Lyon has charged him 800€ for the privilege of driving him around trying to find a repairer and car hire place on an August Saturday. I wasn't aware of this until later and have a French friend on the case of this shyster.

Nevertheless, the moral in future is, for me, remember to add the breakdown cover, no matter what the age of the car.

I will investigate the German company tomorrow.
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Has anyone any experience of the Europe Assistance breakdown service quoted by Chancer? It must be relatively new. The charges don't look much more expensive than the AA in UK. We live in France

and have a french registered RHD car.
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