European breakdown cover FAQs

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 0330 159 1111 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 on our advice pages so please make sure you have a look through before you travel.

Buying European breakdown cover

If you’re planning to take your car across the channel to Europe, it is important to be prepared and check your breakdown cover. After all a flat tyre can just as easily occur in France as it does in the UK. 

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.

Q. 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.

If you’re travelling with more than 9 people you’ll need to call us for a quote. 

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 0330 159 1111.

Level of cover: RAC offer 2 levels of European breakdown cover; Standard and Extra. For more details please click here.

0800 calls are free of charge from all consumer landlines and mobile phones. Calls may be monitored and/or recorded.

Q. 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).

Q. Can I buy European breakdown cover if I've already left home?

Yes, but please note you can only buy cover from the RAC website if you are in the UK. 

If you’re already abroad then you will not be able to buy cover for that specific trip, however, if your vehicle has broken down we can still provide you with some help, however, the services provided will need to be paid for.

If you do buy on-line before you travel abroad and you provide us with your email address you will receive your documents soon after your purchase so you have easy access to them.

Get a European breakdown quote now.

Q. Is it cheaper to get RAC European Breakdown cover for Republic of Ireland?

Yes, when you only travel to the Republic of Ireland it is a bit cheaper than if you travel to other parts of Europe if you go for more than one day.

Q. Do you offer worldwide breakdown cover?
No, the RAC can only provide breakdown cover for the UK & 48 countries in Europe.

RAC European Breakdown Cover

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.

To request help you can call 112 on your mobile phone or locate and use the phones located along the motorway.

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, and request authorisation from RAC. 

Once you have been safely towed from the motorway please call us for further help.

If your vehicle starts to develop a problem we recommend you leave the motorway at the next exit or pull into a service area. If you cannot do so, you should pull onto the hard shoulder and pull as near to the verge as possible, with your wheels turned into the verge. If possible, try to stop near an emergency telephone.

Here are some steps you can take to stay safe if your vehicle breaks down on the motorway:

  1. Pull over to the hard shoulder
  2. Leave the vehicle by the door nearest the verge, away from traffic
  3. Make sure all passengers do the same
  4. Put your hazard lights on
  5. Stay behind the vehicle, standing behind any barrier, keeping well away from the carriageway
Q. Do RAC patrols operate in Europe?
Our RAC vans do not operate in Europe so instead you’ll will be assisted by the external service providers and partners that we have chosen to work with. 
Q. 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’ll 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.  

We have technical experts on hand during normal working hours to help you wherever possible.

Q. What countries are covered?
48 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.
Q. How many days European breakdown cover can I buy?
You can buy basic single trip cover for up to five days. Standard single trip cover is available for up to 180 consecutive days. Annual Standard provides cover for one year but each journey must not exceed the maximum period of up to 90 days.
Q. Are there any vehicle and caravan (trailer) restrictions when applying for European breakdown cover?

To qualify for RAC European Breakdown Cover, your vehicle must:

Be registered in the UK & not registered or used for business purposes.

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 2.5m (all including any load carried and any tow bars). 

Is your vehicle, motorhome, caravan or trailer outside these dimensions? If so, you may want to consider an Arrival breakdown membership. Arrival covers any size or weight vehicle, for more details click here.

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).

Q. 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.
Q. What happens if my vehicle breaks down and there are a lot of people in it?

RAC European Breakdown Cover entitles 9 people, including the driver to travel as standard, if the vehicle allows it. You would be required to request additional cover if you have more than 9 people travelling.

If your vehicle breaks down, we may need to organise more than one recovery vehicle, taxi 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.

Q. Can I claim more than once?

With RAC Extra single trip and annual cover you have unlimited claims.

However, if you have Standard cover you can only make 1 claim in the UK and 1 claim in Europe per trip, up to a maximum of 3 claims per policy period.

Q. Are blue badges still valid in Europe?

You can still use the UK Blue Badge in Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Most other European countries have informally agreed to recognise the UK Blue Badge, but make sure to check local parking laws before travelling.

In many countries you’ll need to display your badge with a notice in the local language – these can be downloaded from the government website.

RAC UK Members

The European Rescue Breakdown Extra isn’t available as an add-on to members who pay for their membership on a rolling monthly contract. However, if you switch to one of our 12, 18 or 24 months policies you’ll be able to add European Rescue to your UK breakdown membership.

RAC contact options

It’s often quicker to get the help you need online. To see all the latest help and information regarding your breakdown membership you can visit our Member query pages:

Contact us

To speak to us about your existing or a new membership, please call 0330 159 1111

Mon-Fri 8am to 7pm, Sat 9am to 5pm, bank holidays 9am to 5pm.

Email us your query by clicking here