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  • European breakdown cover

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  • Despite the huge number of cheap flights from the UK to Europe, just over half of Brits would rather drive to the continent than take any other form of transport.

    If you're planning on taking your car on a short hop across the channel, it's really important to make sure you're prepared. As well as familiarising yourself with local laws and bringing along the right paperwork (learn more in our Driving in Europe guide), you should also take out some European breakdown cover.

    What is European breakdown cover?

    It does what it says on the tin, offering roadside assistance if your car breaks down while you're in Europe. We offer coverage in nearly 40 European countries, sending help to fix your car at the roadside. If it can't be repaired by the road, we'll take it to the nearest garage. If they can't fix it within two days (or an otherwise reasonable time, depending on the size of the problem) we'll help to get you and up to six passengers back to the UK.

    Bring your credit card along too, as you'll need to cover the cost of repair yourself. If the car can be repaired but you can't afford the cost, we're afraid we won't be able to bring you home under the policy.

    Which countries are covered?

    Nearly 40 European countries are covered by our European breakdown policy, so we're not going to list them all here. They include all of the most popular holiday destinations for British drivers such as France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.

    Why is European breakdown cover useful?

    You should always have your car serviced before going on a long driving holiday, but accidents can still happen. If you do find yourself with a broken-down car it might be difficult to contact a local garage. You'll have to switch your mobile phone's roaming on (incurring extra charges) to find their details, and then once you phone them you might have trouble making yourself understood if you're not fluent in the local language. While Europeans in big cities can usually speak English, once you start heading out into the countryside this is less common.

    With AXA breakdown cover, all you have to do is call the number on your policy document and we'll take care of the rest.

    Get a breakdown cover quote Or get breakdown cover with your car insurance

    Can European breakdown cover salvage a holiday?

    If your car can't be fixed by the roadside, we'll give you and your passengers a bit of help so you're not stuck in limbo. We can arrange to get you, your passengers and your luggage to your destination and then take you back to the garage once the car is repaired.

    If your original destination is too far away, and if you've already paid for your rooms and can't get a refund, we can sort out B&B accommodation (up to £40 per person per night) in the area.

    Another option we offer is to pay for a hire car worth up to £70 a day (£750 in total) while your vehicle is getting sorted. You will need to meet the hire car company's conditions, of course. All three of these options should give you peace of mind that, just because your car is damaged, the holiday isn't over.

    How much money does it save?

    Even although you'll have to pay the repair costs yourself, having a European breakdown policy means you don't have to pay recovery costs. It can cost as much as £2,500 to bring a broken-down car back to the UK from Spain. If you do manage to contact a local garage and get them to tow your car, you'll be out-of-pocket for the cost of a local hotel, a hire car or a taxi to (and from) your original destination.

    Having European breakdown cover is a great start, but there are a few other ways to prepare yourself for the worst. Read our guide to breaking down abroad for more advice.

    Get a breakdown cover quote Or get breakdown cover with your car insurance