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European breakdown cover

Get breakdown cover for any trips you take in Europe

  • Find cover for your car, van or motorbike

  • Choose from single trip or annual cover

  • Get cover in Europe for up to 30 days at a time, or 90 days in a policy year

What is European breakdown cover?

European breakdown cover protects you if your car, van or motorbike breaks down while driving in Europe. You’ll get roadside assistance as standard when buying European breakdown cover. And if the problem can’t be fixed on the side of the road, you’ll be towed to the nearest garage for repair.

European breakdown cover isn’t typically included on a standard UK car insurance policy, but you can sometimes add it as an additional feature if you're buying European car insurance. When you’re comparing policies, it’s worth seeing what each policy covers, as some companies have exclusions on which countries are included.

It’s best not to base your decision on the cheapest deal. A small saving on initial price could cost you a fortune in transport/repair costs if you do break down and you’re not fully covered while abroad. Get a quote to compare features and prices.

What’s included in European breakdown cover?

First off you’ll need to decide if you want cover for a single trip or an annual multi-trip. This determines how long you’ll be covered for. If you’re just going for a one-off trip, then consider a single-trip policy. However, if you’re visiting Europe regularly, an annual policy could save you money in the long run – just be sure to check for exclusions. Key features of European breakdown cover can include:

Home start covers you if you break down at home at the start of your journey. The breakdown company will come to your home and try and fix your vehicle there and then. If they can’t, they’ll tow you to a garage for repair. If your vehicle breaks down at home or within one mile of your home address, your vehicle can be fixed at your doorstep or recovered to the nearest garage for repairs.

Onward journey reimburses you for any travel costs if your vehicle can’t be repaired on the roadside. For example, you could be covered for a taxi back home from the garage. Some policies will even get you a hire car to get you to your destination. If repairs can't be made the same day when breaking down away from your home, you can be provided with either alternative transport or overnight accommodation.

Vehicle recovery gives you peace of mind that you won't have to pay expensive recovery costs if your vehicle can’t be repaired abroad and needs to be transported back to the UK for repairs.

Accommodation cost is offered on some policies, covering the cost of emergency accommodation if you can’t reach your destination while your vehicle is repaired.

English-speaking call centres are offered by some breakdown companies to provide a number to an English-speaking representative to avoid language barriers when arranging repairs and recovery while you're overseas.

If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll need extra cover. Read the fine print, as it won’t be protected within the usual breakdown cover. Cars aren't the only type of vehicle that are covered, you can get breakdown cover for your van or motorbike too.

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What our car insurance expert says

"When getting European breakdown cover, it's important to get the policy that works for you. If you're likely to travel to Europe several times during 12 months, an annual policy could suit you better. However, if you only plan on travelling once or twice, single-trip policies could end up being the cheaper option for you."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

Single trip vs Annual cover

If you find yourself in need of recovery on the side of the road, it's important to know what to do if your vehicle breaks down. That's why it's good to have the right type of policy and the correct level of cover in place before you travel. Here are some difference's between single-trip and annual breakdown policies:


Single trip

  • Covers a single trip for up to 90 days at a time
  • Nationwide cover available for the UK as well as cover in Europe for the length of the policy
  • Depending on how much you plan on travelling, it can work out cheaper to get a single-trip policy

Annual cover

  • Covers you for trips to Europe throughout the year
  • Usually up to a maximum single trip of 30 days, with a maximum of 90 days in total during the year
  • Covered nationwide when in the UK, as well as for roadside assitance and recovery in Europe

What else do I need to know?

European breakdown cover will have certain limits. If you break down while travelling in Europe, you want to be sure that you've got the correct level of cover in place to help get you back on the road. Remember to read the fine print of your policy before you travel.

Each provider is also different, so make sure you check the following to see if you're covered before you travel:

  • Parts and labour cost – Some providers will only pay up to a certain amount, the rest will be up to you to pay.
  • Mileage limit - If you’ve exceeded the agreed mileage limit, your provider can refuse to cover your claim.
  • Call-out limitation - If you've got an annual policy, there may be a cap on how many times you can make a claim or a call-out to your breakdown provider. Call-outs typically range from 4 per year to unlimited.
  • Human error - Check to see if you’re covered situations such as locking yourself out, or adding the wrong fuel to your vehicle.
  • Second home in Europe - Some providers won’t cover you if you've got a second residence in Europe. Check with individual providers before taking out cover.

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Page last reviewed: 27 November 2023

Reviewed by: Louise Thomas

Confused.com's breakdown cover is arranged by Comparison Creator who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 832239. Comparison Creator is registered in England & Wales No. 07336373 at Springboard Business Innovation Centre, Llantarnam Park, Cwmbran, NP44 3AW. Confused.com is an intermediary and receives commission from Comparison Creator, which is a percentage of the commission received by Comparison Creator. We pride ourselves on impartiality and independence – therefore we don't promote any one insurance provider over another.