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FAQs for European Breakdown Cover

If you have a question about European Breakdown cover we should have the answers below. However, if you can’t find the answer to your question or if you want to buy RAC European Breakdown cover please call us on 0333 202 301^ and we will be able to help.

If you want advice about driving abroad you will be able to find a lot of useful hints and tips on our advice pages so please make sure you have a look through before you travel.

Contact Details

Who do I contact if I break down abroad?

To obtain help in the event of an incident have your policy number and type of cover available, together with your location, telephone number and credit card details. Then call the appropriate Control Centre number below (open 24 hours) and say you have RAC European Breakdown Cover*. The control centre in France is manned by English speaking multi-lingual incident managers.

The contact details if you break down abroad are:

United Kingdom incl. Northern Ireland
0333 2000 999 - free phone from a land line

Republic of Ireland
1 800 535 005 – free phone from a land line

France & Monaco
00 33 472 43 52 44 - pay call from UK mobile  
0800 94 20 44 – free phone from a landline phone within France and Monaco

Rest of Europe
00 33 472 43 52 44 - pay call

Please replace the 00 at the beginning with 810 when in Belarus and Russia
*Calls may be recorded and/or monitored. Some mobile networks may charge for this call. Open Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 22:00, Saturday - 08:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 19:00, Bank Holidays - 09:00 to 17:00 OR you can email us anytime.

Buying European Breakdown Cover

Why do I need European Breakdown Cover?
If you are planning to take your car across the channel and holiday in mainland Europe, it is important to be prepared and check your breakdown cover. Never assume your vehicle has the same level of breakdown cover abroad as it does at home.
You need to review your policy carefully before you set off and check that it covers you in the countries you are visiting and that the standard of cover is adequate too. Not all policies cover roadside assistance, recovery and repatriation when you are abroad.
If you don’t have adequate cover for your driving holiday, you can increase your existing policy or take out standalone European breakdown cover to avoid unnecessary stress and significant additional expense.

Does the RAC offer European Breakdown cover?
Yes, we offer standalone European cover and the opportunity to add European cover onto your UK RAC policy if you are an existing RAC member. Our three levels of standalone European cover are Short Trip, Standard and Comprehensive. All three policy types are available as single trip, short Trip cover is available for up to 5 days, whilst Standard and Comprehensive is available for up to 180 days. Standard and Comprehensive are also available as annual policies.

For full details and to get a quote on standalone cover, please visit our European Breakdown cover page. If you are interested in adding European cover to your RAC UK policy please speak with one of our customer advisors on 0333 202 301.

How much is European Breakdown cover?
RAC European Breakdown prices will alter dependent upon the level of cover chosen and your travel circumstances to ensure you are only paying for what you need. These circumstances include how long you are travelling for, vehicle age, how many people are travelling in the car, whether you are towing and which countries you will drive through. Other European Breakdown cover provider’s prices and the way they calculate them will be different.

If you are travelling abroad more than a few times a year it may be worth quoting for annual cover just in case this will work out cheaper. If you are thinking of becoming an RAC UK Breakdown cover member or already are it may work out more economical if you add European cover to a UK breakdown cover policy.

In order to find out more about our prices for each cover level, please get a European Breakdown quote. If you are interested in adding European cover to your RAC UK policy please speak with one of our customer advisors on 0333 202 301.

Can I buy RAC European breakdown cover if I've already left home?
Yes, you can still buy cover from the RAC website if you’re on your way but you’ve not left the country yet. However, if you're already abroad, you won't be able to buy cover for that trip.
If you call us, buy on-line or through your mobile and select e-fulfilment you will receive a link to your documents via email soon after your purchase.

Is it cheaper to get RAC European Breakdown cover for Ireland?
Yes, when you only travel to Ireland it is a bit cheaper than if you travel to other parts of Europe.

Do you offer worldwide breakdown cover?
We don't offer worldwide breakdown cover, but you can visit our European Breakdown cover page for full details of breakdown cover in Europe, as well as a quote. We can cover as far as some parts of Russia and Turkey.

If I don’t live in the UK can I buy European Breakdown Cover from the RAC?
Cover is available to residents of the UK, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man whose journey commences and returns to these territories.

RAC European Breakdown Cover

Do RAC patrols operate in Europe?
RAC patrols don't normally operate outside the UK so we'll arrange assistance from national motoring agencies, garages or other third party providers. The garages, breakdown and recovery companies, repairers, car hire companies and other third party service providers whose services are arranged and / or paid for under the policy are not checked or approved by the RAC. 

Can the RAC help translate in a breakdown situation?
When you are in Europe many of the service providers may not be able to speak English. We provide a translation service to help with service providers such as recovery companies and garages that are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Where possible, we'll allocate a dedicated and experienced case manager to manage your incident from start to finish. We also have technical experts on hand to help you wherever possible.

We provide a translation service to help with service providers such as recovery companies and garages. The call centre is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Can the RAC help if I break down on a foreign motorway?
This is one of the most common questions we get. In many cases we can help; however French motorways are privately managed and French law dictates that help will be arranged for you by the official motorway rescue service. Costs of the tow from the motorway can be claimed back within your European Breakdown Cover policy limits so please make sure you keep your receipts. Once you have been towed from the motorway please call us for further help.

What countries are covered?
 A lot of countries are covered by RAC’s European Breakdown cover. The amount of countries you are covered by will depend on what you select when getting cover: Republic of Ireland only, Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3. Zone 1 is available for all cover types, Zone 2 is available for Standard and Comprehensive whilst Zone 3 countries are only available for Comprehensive. For the full list of countries covered in each zone and which policy cover you need to get for the Zone you want then please look on our countries covered page.

How many days European Breakdown cover can I buy?
You can buy Short Trip cover for up to five days. Standard and Comprehensive single trip cover is available for up to 180 consecutive days. Annual Standard and Comprehensive policies provide cover for one year but each journey must not exceed the maximum period of up to 90 days.

Are there any vehicle and caravan (trailer) restrictions when applying for European Breakdown cover?
In order to qualify for RAC European Breakdown cover, your vehicle must:

  • Be registered in the UK
  • Have a maximum legal laden weight of 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes). This weight is called the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)
  • Have maximum overall dimensions of: length 7m; height 3m; width 2.55m (all including any load carried).

The cover is only valid when the journey commences from the UK territory and returns to the UK territory.

The limit on vehicle dimensions is determined by the space on the recovery transporters used to transport your vehicle back home so please make sure the restrictions above are not exceeded. 

For a full list of vehicle restrictions for RAC European Breakdown cover, please see European Breakdown Cover Terms and Conditions (PDF).
How soon can I get my policy documents?
If you select e-fulfilment you will receive a link to your documents via email soon after your purchase. This is probably the most convenient method for you – especially if you are travelling soon. It’s also kinder on the planet too! If you select postal fulfilment you should receive your documents in the post within 7-10 working days.
Will the RAC be able to find a like-for-like replacement hire vehicle in Europe?
Some types of vehicle including 4x4’s, motorhomes, motorbikes and vans are very difficult to hire as very few exist. In addition, hire vehicles with tow bars are hard to locate so you may have to bring back the towed item with your own car when repaired.

Does an RAC European Breakdown cover policy cover luggage, bicycles and items on or in a trailer or caravan?
Any luggage, personal affects, goods, bicycles, items on or in a trailer or caravan are not covered by your policy. These remain your responsibility at all times. They must be covered by other types of insurance such as personal travel insurance. This includes when your items are being carried by a recovery or replacement vehicle.

What happens if my vehicle breaks down and there are a lot of people in it?
If there are quite a few of you we may need to organise more than one recovery vehicle or hire car dependent upon policy level. Don’t worry though if you have asked for this number of people within your cover we will try and make the whole process as seamless as possible.

Can I claim more than once?
You can make one claim with a Single Trip policy. The Standard and Comprehensive Annual policies allows you to make up to three claims per year. The total amount you can claim will depend upon the cover level you buy.

RAC UK Members

Am I covered in Europe?
In order to be covered in Europe, you would usually need to take out our standalone European Breakdown Cover or add European Breakdown Cover to your UK policy. For full details of the standalone cover and to get a quote, please visit our European Breakdown cover page.

To add European cover to your UK RAC cover policy please speak with one of our customer advisors on 0800 151 0660.

I live in Northern Ireland, will I be covered for recovery in the Republic of Ireland without taking European cover?

Customers who live in Northern Ireland can be recovered from the Republic of Ireland if they have Recovery cover or above.

Am I covered in Northern Ireland with my RAC UK Breakdown cover?

Yes, our breakdown policy will cover you anywhere in the UK, including Northern Ireland.

What kind of breakdown cover do I get in the Republic of Ireland?
If you have UK breakdown membership, you will only be entitled to Roadside Cover within the Republic of Ireland.  This means we shall attempt to fix your vehicle at the roadside, or give you a 10 mile tow to the nearest garage.  For all other services, you would need to take out European Breakdown Cover.

^ 03 numbers are charged at national call rates and are usually included in inclusive minute plans from landlines and mobiles. Calls may be recorded and/or monitored. Open Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 22:00, Saturday - 08:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 19:00, Bank Holidays - 09:00 to 17:00 OR you can email us anytime.
Breakdown cover provided by RAC Motoring Services (Registered No 01424399) and RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. Arranged, sold and administered by RAC Motoring Services who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities only. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

International Driving Permit
Planning to drive a car abroad? You'll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for some countries.
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