RAC

Breakdown Help

European Breakdown

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 please call us on 0800 015 6000 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 Driving Abroad 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 (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
0800 0 56 20 48 - 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.

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Buying European Breakdown Cover

How do I know if I need European Breakdown Cover?

If you are planning to take your car across the channel and holiday in 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.

If you don’t have cover for your driving holiday, you can buy standalone European breakdown cover or you may be able to add European cover to your UK breakdown policy.

Do you 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 two levels of standalone European cover are Basic and Comprehensive and they are available for single trips whilst Comprehensive is also available as an annual policy. 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 0800 015 6000.

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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 0800 015 6000.

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How soon can I get my policy documents after purchase?

You should receive your documents in the post within five working days. If you buy on-line and provide an email address you will receive your documents soon after your purchase via email. Please remember that you need to be in the UK still when buying RAC European Breakdown cover. See the following link for European Breakdown Cover Terms and Conditions (PDF).

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 buy on-line and provide an email address you will receive your documents soon after your purchase. However, if you're already abroad, you won't be able to buy cover for that trip.

Get a European Breakdown quote now.

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 if you go for more than one day.  

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 and to get a quote.  We can cover as far as some parts of Russia and Turkey.

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.

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RAC European Breakdown Cover

Can the RAC help if I break down on a European motorway?

This is one of the most common questions we get. A lot of the time we can help; however French motorways are privately managed so help will be arranged for you by the motorway breakdown company that is operating in that area. 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 safely towed from the motorway please call us for further help.

Do RAC patrols operate in Europe?

RAC patrols don't operate in Europe 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?

The RAC will be able to help translate with service providers that don’t speak English. With up to 18 languages spoken at our European contact centre at any one time we should be able to help. We will also help organise towing services, alternative transport or accommodation dependent upon the breakdown cover level you choose. This service is 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 during normal working hours to help you wherever possible.

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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 or Zone 2. For the full list of countries covered in each zone please look on our countries covered page.

How many days European Breakdown cover can I buy?

You can buy Basic single trip cover for up to five days. Comprehensive single trip cover is available for up to 180 consecutive days. Annual Comprehensive provides cover for one year but each journey must not exceed the maximum period of up to 90 days.

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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
  • Be less than six years old at the start of the journey. Vehicles six years old and over may be covered on payment of an additional premium.
  • 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 2.25m (all including any load carried).

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

For a full list of vehicle restrictions for RAC European Breakdown cover, please see European Breakdown Cover Terms and Conditions (PDF).

Will the RAC be able to find a like-for-like replacement hire vehicle in Europe?

Some types of vehicle including 4x4’s, cars with tow bars, motorhomes, motorbikes and vans are very difficult to hire as very few exist. So like for like vehicles may not be available.

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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 Comprehensive Annual policy allows you to make up to two claims per year. The total amount you can claim will depend upon the cover level you buy.

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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 015 6000.

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.

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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.

Provided by RAC Motoring Services and/or RAC Insurance Limited. Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall, WS5 4AW. Both are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

RAC European Driving Kit
The Essential European Driving Kit for £29.95.
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