Do you need breakdown cover for driving in France?


Have you ever been tempted to save money on your holiday to France by driving over without breakdown cover? We asked Tim Jury, of Breakdown Direct, to tell us about the pitfalls of parking a European policy.

Breakdown cover in France

Why do I need European breakdown cover? What will it cost if I break down and don’t have cover?

“Car breakdowns can be very stressful at the best of times, but if you’re outside the UK with a fully loaded vehicle, perhaps with young children on board and limited language skills, it can turn into a nightmare. Then there’s the cost! Bringing your vehicle back to the UK from the South of France has the potential to damage your Bank account by several thousand pounds. When you can buy European breakdown cover for a two week trip from around £30.00, why take the risk?”

What are the pitfalls I should look out for when buying cover?

“There are some very low cost policies available and some of them have greatly reduced benefits, for example, only providing a limited amount – sometimes as little as £150 – towards a replacement hire car, or not including cover to bring your vehicle back to the UK. Be warned!”

What should I look for in a good quality policy?

“The level and type of benefits are important, but so is the quality of practical assistance that’s available. We are talking here about the 24/7 helpline – the logistics of providing a good 24/7 assistance service are challenging, particularly in the busy summer months when it seems half of France is on the move. We use the UK branch of AXA Assistance, and they can call upon the help and support of their comprehensive European office network if required.”

Is it safe to choose the cheapest policy price?

“Only if you are sure that the policy benefits and practical help available meet your needs.”

Is it a good idea to use a price comparison site?

“Not all breakdown providers feature on price comparison sites. If you do use a comparison site bear in mind that the companies that feature on these sites know that price is the key driver, so the same ‘health warning’ as above applies. In addition, check your excess charges (the bit you are required to pay before the policy ‘kicks’ in).”

What should I do if I breakdown in Europe?

“Your breakdown policy should include instructions about what to do. If this happens on a French Motorway you must use the emergency phones. These are managed by the French Police and they will dispatch their own appointed agent to recover you off the motorway.”

Do you have any tips on making my journey as easy as possible?

“Don’t drive abroad unprepared. Familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting – including local speed limits and which side of the road they drive on. Also, make sure you have some local currency with you in case of tolls or unexpected incidences. Lastly, do speak to your motor insurer so you know what to do in the event of an accident.

Find out more about breakdown cover for your holiday in France at

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