If you’re travelling through Europe by car, you need to make sure you get hold of the best European breakdown cover ahead of your journey. The snag? You’ve done your research and know that the AA, RAC and Green Flag are the big three players around. But there is also GEM Motoring Assist and QDOS to consider too.
So how do you choose between them? Here, you can read about all five of the best European breakdown covers available to help you decide:
The best European breakdown cover providers in 2021
Not only are these the top reputable breakdown providers available in the UK market in 2021, but they each offer some of the best European breakdown cover options too.
The AA European breakdown cover
The AA is the largest breakdown provider in the UK, with over 14 million customers. Their European breakdown cover gives you access to over 40,000 repairers and recovery operators in 44 countries across the continent.
You are covered from the moment you leave your home to the moment you return from your travels. The AA European breakdown covers vehicles of all ages, from cars to caravans – they even cover towing behind. With alternative accommodation and travel arrangements included, they will recover your vehicle back to the UK and cover up to £50,000 in legal costs.
Unlike their UK breakdown cover, you must purchase before you travel abroad; otherwise, it won’t be valid.
RAC European breakdown cover
The RAC is one of the best-rated UK breakdown providers boasting a sizeable 12.7m members. Overseas, RAC continues to deliver their 5-star rated Defaqto service. With unlimited roadside assistance across Europe and covering the market value of your car or more to return it back to the UK if required, even the RAC’s basic European cover is fairly comprehensive.
The RAC’s best European breakdown cover includes up to £1,000 in garage costs, replacement travel tickets, and unlimited UK breakdown cover up to 7 days ahead of travelling to Europe.
QDOS European breakdown cover
QDOS is an emerging independent UK breakdown provider that offers highly rated cover across the board. Their European Breakdown Policy covers most territories in Europe and includes all the benefits of their full UK Policy throughout the year.
The QDOS European breakdown policy covers up to 60 days of travel. It covers the driver, the vehicle and up to seven passengers.
To keep premiums down low, QDOS offer cover from 48 hours prior to travel and will cover your vehicle seven days prior to travel if brought up to 10 days ahead of your journey.
GEM Motoring Assist European breakdown cover
GEM Motoring Assist are a tour-de-force within the motoring industry. Serving UK motorists since the 1930s, their reputation for road safety outstrips the competitors.
GEM have partnered with travel Insurance Specialists P J Hayman to bring you Euro Plus. With offices in over 20 European countries, and including everything from single to annual multi-trip policies, roadside & recovery, and a first-class insurance claims service, GEM’s got you covered.
Members can receive a 10% discount and numerous other exclusive benefits to support your European travels, such as travel insurance and hotel discounts.
Green Flag European breakdown cover
Green Flag has been serving UK drivers for more than fifty years with its reputable breakdown cover. Unlike the others on this list, Green Flag’s Euro Plus breakdown cover is an extension of their standard Recovery Plus UK breakdown cover.
With Euro Plus, you get numerous perks, including unlimited European cover within a year (90 days cover per year), as well as 24hr roadside assistance no matter where you are on the continent. As well as no call out charge, a free message service to family and friends and garage and recovery costs covered up to £250, you can have peace of mind wherever you go.
How much is the best European breakdown cover?
|AA||From £7 per day|
|RAC||From £7 per day|
|GREEN FLAG||From £70 per year|
|GEM MOTORING ASSIST||From £11.13 per day|
|QDOS BREAKDOWN||From £23 per year|
How to pick the best European breakdown cover provider?
Choosing the best European breakdown cover for your vehicle is no small task. Whether you require a single or multi-trip cover or want the peace of mind that more than just your car is covered, there is a lot to consider.
Each of the best European breakdown cover providers are well established, so you can rest assured that none of them will leave you stranded.
But by looking at your needs, priorities and what you can afford, we can help you narrow it down a bit!
The AA is the biggest breakdown provider in the UK, but does that extend to their European breakdown cover?
Well, the AA arguably offers the best European breakdown cover on this list. First off, It includes cover in up to 44 European countries and gives you access to 40,000 repairers and recovery operators. However, it’s the other perks that stand out. They will cover up to £50,000 in legal costs, £1,500 for alternative travel and £500 for emergency hotel costs.
Members can get a decent 10% discount, and the AA will ensure you and your vehicle get back to the UK safely should you breakdown abroad. Make sure you check out what level of cover is provided and recommended for each country zone ahead of travel.
The RAC offers two levels of European breakdown cover: Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus, at a minimum, you will receive unlimited roadside assistance across Europe, up to £150 of garage costs covered, £1,500 to continue your journey or £500 for overnight emergency accommodation.
With UK roadside assistance included 48 hours before travel, as well as the peace of mind that your vehicle will be recovered back to the UK if repairs cannot be made abroad, the RAC’s European breakdown cover, is your best bet.
Despite being a smaller breakdown provider, Green Flag hold their own when it comes to European breakdown cover. Within their Euro Plus package, you receive all the benefits of their comprehensive UK breakdown cover, as well as unlimited European cover.
Overseas, Green Flag will cover up to £250 for roadside assistance, up to £850 for a hire car and £500 for hotel accommodation. What’s more, they will pay for you to collect your vehicle and get you home in the process regardless of where you are in the UK or in Europe.
Want to save extra cash? Apply online and save up to 40% compared to over the phone.
GEM Motoring Assist
GEM Motoring Assist are renowned in the industry for their award-winning UK breakdown cover. Operating out of the UK, they have partnered up with travel insurance specialists P J Hayman and offer the discounted European Breakdown Cover, Euro Plus.
Not unlike their comprehensive personal breakdown cover, GEM’s Euro Plus covers you for roadside assistance, recovery and repatriation for you, your car and your passengers.
You get access to 24hr motor breakdown cover across 20 European countries and can choose between a single or multi-trip policy.
Covering everything from theft, break-ins and vandalism to re-booking your sea crossing for when your vehicle is repaired, QDOS are the independent breakdown provider that offers one of the most customer-orientated experiences on the market.
QDOS’ European breakdown policy includes repatriation of you, your passengers, everyone’s luggage and your vehicle. They will cover up to £175 of repairs to make your vehicle secure, up to £250 for roadside assistance and to get you back on the road, as well as up to 7 days UK cover ahead of travel to ensure nothing gets in the way of your journey.
Do you want to cover the vehicle or the driver?
No matter what European breakdown cover you choose, you want to remember your holiday for all the right reasons. So it’s fundamental that you consider all the basics before you chose which European breakdown provider is the best one for you.
Fortunately, all five of the best European breakdown specialists on this list will get you and your vehicle back home safely.
The AA will cover you from the moment you leave your doorstep to the moment you come home. Everything from repairs to recovery and accommodation is covered within that time frame.
Similarly, the RAC offers a broad range of funds to cover repairs and return journeys for added peace of mind on your travels, as well as additional UK cover.
Green Flag, GEM Motor Assist and QDOS on the other hand offer smaller funds to cover recovery, accommodation etc, but they will endeavour to bring you, your vehicle, your passengers and your luggage safely home.
How much are you willing to spend?
While each of the big five European breakdown cover specialists vary in prices and services, there are several factors to bear in mind ahead of travel:
- Will my breakdown cover get me back home?
- Am I covered to stay overnight if necessary?
- How much of the garage repairs are covered?
- Does my European breakdown policy cover me ahead of travel?
- And how long for?
- Is it more cost-effective for me to buy a single or multi-trip policy?
- Is there a combined UK and European breakdown policy available?
What’s more, you are guaranteed the best price of all five of the best European breakdown providers online. However, it’s worth looking out for flash sales such as Black Friday deals or special offers in the printed press.
Within the big five, QDOS offer the cheapest European cover for the year. However, you will find more extensive cover within the others.
It’s worth holding out for your renewal time as this is when each of these providers is likely to offer their best deals!
Speed of response
While none of the providers say how fast their average European response time is, each of them is held to a high standard across the board. With 24/7 access to their claims handlers and recovery, you won’t find yourself stranded on the continent.
Arguably, the AA is the cream of the crop with its extensive European coverage, with 44 countries covered.
Green Flag offer unlimited European trips within their policy (up to 90 days travel). In contrast, the RAC offers unlimited roadside assistance throughout Europe.
However, both GEM and QDOS are worth a look. With each of them offers numerous perks such as exclusive member discounts and a decent recovery package.
What if I’ve already broken down?
If you’re going overseas, it’s likely that this isn’t a spontaneous trip! While you can travel in most countries without breakdown cover, it’s certainly not recommended!
Fortunately, each of the five best European breakdown cover providers offer cover up to 48hrs prior to travelling. This ensures you get the best premiums and aren’t left hundreds of miles away from home without cover in place.
QDOS will cover you, your vehicle and your passengers up to 7 days ahead of travel. With £750 available to cover costs of car hire should your vehicle breakdown ahead of your journey.
The RAC offer cover up to 48hrs ahead of travel with their Comprehensive cover and unlimited UK roadside assistance, seven days before your departure date.
Whereas Green Flag will cover you 24 hours a day for 365 days a year with their Euro Plus package.
The customer experience
Reputation has made each of these five European breakdown cover specialists stand out from the crowd. Not only are they well renowned in the UK for their comprehensive and reliable cover, but they excel in delivering top-notch recovery on the continent.
For twelve years running, GEM Motoring Assist has earned the Auto Express Driver Power Award for ‘Best Breakdown Cover.’ But does that extend to the mainland? Well, according to their customers, “the level of cover seems excellent without an unaffordable price tag.” All while placing the customer experience at the heart of all their decisions as a business.
Then there is the AA and the RAC to consider – the two most well-known providers on these shores.
While the AA claims that 95% of their customers would recommend them to a friend, the RAC have often featured at the number one spot in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index and have won the J D Power ‘Roadside Assistance’ four years in a row.
Green Flag are also no stranger to awards. They have snapped up the 2010 Your Money Award and regularly feature in the bestselling cover lists.
Don’t forget QDOS. Despite being newcomers, QDOS are well-rated amongst their customers. Claiming to fix four out of five vehicles at the roadside, they are fast becoming recognised for their well-earned reputation!
So if you are thinking of travelling to Europe, make sure you invest in the best European breakdown cover that works for you.