Car breakdown terminology

Hi all, I’m looking into car insurance and breakdown. I have several quotes but am bamboozled by the terminology. For example can anyone shed light on what these two terms mean?
Vehicle assistance: Franchise breakdown 25 km.
Assistance to persons: Franchise 50 km.
Many thanks

Gaynor… this relates to how far from Home the incident occurs…

ie if you breakdown less than 25 km from home… Breakdown Insurance does not click in… you pay for any help you get…

likewise with the 50km… so you need to breakdown 50km or more from home for “driver/passenger assistance” to click in…

I think this is correct… others may like to add their ideas…


Certainly sounds like it, although I don’t recall seeing the assistance to persons 50 km limit before in any other car insurance I’ve had over the years.
@funnybunny : some insurance policies will cover breakdown at home, this is what is touted as the “0 kilometer” exclusion (in other words, no exclusion at all, so you’re covered if your vehicle breaks down at home, e.g. potentially even a flat tyre with no spare, flat battery, etc).

Thanks Stella. That seems to make sense. Goodness knows what happens if we’re 30 kms from home and the car is towed away and we’re left at the side of the road!

The assistance will either ask you if you can get home by your own means, or else order you a taxi and then charge you / your insurer / or pay for it yourself.

I speak from personal experience. Enough said.

Hi Alex
Oh dear that sounds a bit dire!
That particular bit was from Credit Agricole car insurance document I was sent.

Can I also ask then do the breakdown people take your car to the nearest garage or will they take it to the garage of your choice?

That is something you need to clarify.

For my classic car… I have repatriation à domicile. “gets the car back home”. On my modern… it is taken to the nearest garage…

You can get all sorts… but you have to pay for the pleasure… :thinking:

So a bit like AA options really.
Thanks Stella - that’s very useful. x

I can heartily recommend you contact @fabien (use the Insurance affiliate link at the head of the page) to get good independent advice on your car insurance and breakdown options…


Vehicle assistance: Franchise breakdown 25 km. => Break down assistance when you are more than 25km away from home
Assistance to persons: Franchise 50 km => Road side assistance when you are more than 50km away from home
In general the word “franchise” means “excess” :wink:

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Exactly, the equivalent of the “home start roadside assistance and breakdown cover” policy would be “Assistance 0km” or “Assistance: Franchise 0km”

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Can I also ask then do the breakdown people take your car to the nearest garage or will they take it to the garage of your choice?

You generally get the choice, although if you are say, more than 50 km away from your usual garage, the tow truck might take it to a local one (tow trucks are often run out of garages and have attributed geographical coverage sectors), which would then liaise with the assistance to have it towed to your local garage. Unless you happen to break down abroad, in which case, things can get a whole lot more complicated.

Unlike other European countries, e.g. the UK, there are no national breakdown companies, but there are several breakdown assistance companies that are subcontracted by the insurance companies, and they are the ones that organise repatriation of people, possessions and vehicles in the event of a breakdown or accident.

Thanks Alex - all good to know beforehand! Fingers crossed I won’t need to use it at all.

Ah, little details…for the anecdote, had an accident in my business lease vehicle in the UK last year on December 31st, insured through a very well known French (international) insurer. The assistance sorted out flights home from Gatwick, but said I would be charged the taxi to the airport with all our stuff because it was over 100 km away from where we were staying and the policy for accidents abroad only covered travel to point of embarcation up to 100Km. Additionally, was told that because the taxi was arriving early morning in order to arrive in time at the airport, I would be charged the night rate !! Managed to point out that I didn’t choose the time of departure (the assistance did), nor the point of departure, and that I would refuse to pay the charge for a taxi to the airport, when they could have put us on a ferry and arranged a hire car in France on arrival at Calais. Had a discussion with the taxi driver on pickup who was expecting payment, who had to call dispatch, and then sort it out with the assistance. I can only imagine what kind of nightmare that might be in a country where someone didn’t speak the language.

Good grief. I think I’ll hide in bed!!!