Vehicule Depannage

A Lesson Learned In the hope that I can avoid anyone else falling into the same trap - when my car had two punctures (and one spare wheel) I contacted my normal garagiste (who has a depannage vehicle). He came out immediately and took the car back to his garage. He told me that my insurers would refund the cost and that it would not affect my no claim bonus. (A fact of which I was not aware).

When I contacted my insurers they informed me, in no uncertain terms, that the policy stated that I had to contact their people first (whose name and contact details are on the insurance certificate) and get them to arrange it or the insurance would not respond. He also said that all garagistes were full aware of this stipulation and should have so informed me. Be warned.

@ Paul - yes sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It's hidden on Page 6 of the Dispositions Generale (for the Integrale version) - I was even prepared to go top whack...

Back to the drawing board :(

Humph! How very French! Thanks, I think, lol.

Paul - I've just gone through the Europ assistance small print and despite the advert merrily promising "Unlimited mileage" - they will still take your car to the NEAREST BLOODY GARAGE - or home - but a 50 km limit. So still no good to me if I break down 200 miles away and they insist on towing me to some local numpty. Aaaaarrgh.

James - do ADAC do the same? I emailed that lady but have heard nothing yet and only parts of the page are translated?

Regina - we might need your help please?!

I have now heard again from my insurers and this is the body of their information / reply:- (I have corrected some errors and made comments in italics as, while his English is excellent - there were some spelling mistakes)

Mondial assistance belongs to Allianz and Europ assistance to Generali. So Europ assistance doesn't mean that it works only in Europe.

Allianz assistance works anywhere in the world (except the black list of countries : Irak, Afghanistan, ...)

It works from 25km from your home. For some insurance companies like AXA, it works from 50km.

You could subscribe an option (buy additional cover) and your assistance would work from your home.

Unless you have a cheap contract, the assistance works in this way :

1 You call them, They call you back if you want.

2 They pick your car up to the nearest garage (and the people and the luggage of course). In our contracts the breakdown could due to ANY reason.

3 If the car could be repaired in 48H, they pay an hotel and a taxi if it is necessary.

4 If not they drop you at home (airplane, rent car, taxi, ...) and afterwards when the car is repaired, they drop you to the garage.

5 You drive back on your own.

If your have a high level assistance (I assume this means bought a higher level of cover) they give you a car during the time you don't have any car (limited times linked to the reason of the claim or breakdown)

Hope this helps someone.

I think your glasses need a clean!

Yeah right......

Must just be a blurred photo you have up on SFN......

Did the whole family come out of the womb with matching beards ?!?


Last I was involved in an accident avoiding a French guy who suddenly pulled out of a side road and I ended up in the ditch., just missing a huge concrete pole. I rang up my local garage and HE rang up the insurers who agreed a price with him to retrieve the car out of the ditch but it was drivable thereafter (it was over a weekend and we are very isolated) and they paid him but less the excess which I paid direct. He knew about having to inform insurers first and surely all garagistes must know that.

Very impressed with the breakdown cover that came with our CA car insurance. We broke down in London - brand garage there said total loss, new engine needed. The insurance repatriated us two by train and a couple of weeks later repatriated our car to our garage in the Dordogne, who repaired it at minimum cost...

Yes I am but I am MUCH younger and MUCH better looking (I like to think)

I've been using autoclub for a few years. This covers my British cars whilst in France, although I'm sure it wouldn't cover repatriation to the UK if that were necessary. I've used them a number of times, usually for flat battery after I've left my son watching a DVD in the car and its run the battery flat. Just like the AA you get what you pay for, ie the lowest level of cover will just cover you for transport to the nearest garage or "place of safety". Higher level of cover will cover you for transport back to your home or local garage. They've always turned up within 30 minutes, even in remote places.

Why go to the hassle of finding a local garage when you just call the number on the card and they sort out out for you ? Worst scenario is that they would take you to the local garage who would fix (e.g.) your tyres ?

By the way Chris, are you a relative of the famous sailor of same surname ? You look pretty similar !

Interesting how the breakdown cover is so poor really. The reason you have to use their recovery firm is that the rates are half of what is normally charged. I know this as I did work for a UK garage once and saw the rate for a recovery for insurers was £35, but on the phone the guy was quoting £55-80 depending on distance. This is because insurers agree to give a lot of work. They do, and you can be called out day or night and if you refuse too many breakdowns as a garage, they refuse to have you on their list. It is for this reason claims for normal "depanage" bills of €80 are refused, as you are paying normal open market rates.

I have AXA insurance and they provide a card for breakdown cover which I have used when someone crashed into me and I know I would need the help of my insurance cover.

For other breakdown rescue I have Europ Assistance which as the name implies covers you in all European countries and I have found their service excellent.

The standard cover includes 2 vehicles in the household and is about 160 Euros annually.

We had an interesting experience over which, luckily, my French was good enough to get a positive result. Our trailer is now French registered. We went back to the UK and I gave the insurance company our UK address. When we were back out here shifting stone using the trailer my husband hit a large stone on our land with both wheels on one side and twisted both axles. After a lot of worryingly expensive thoughts (how the hell were we going to get the trailer to a garage for a start) I suddenly realised we may be able to claim on accident insurance. When I contacted the company by telephone there was a lot of calls and discussion but at some point I heard my UK address being given so when she said "we cannot help with the removal of the vehicle because you are not 50km [or whatever] from home" I retaliated with "but you said our home address is in the UK and we are a long way from there!" After more help from her supervisor we were sorted! Our only concerned was the valuation of the trailer, as it was a UK trailer, but as it is a robust tipper trailer, (superior to any we have seen in France) their valuation exceeded the work required so it was fixed. All paid for up to the cost of 4 new tyres.

I know ADAC through motorsport, but didn't know non German residents could get cover.

I was checking the possibilities just now and found this forum 's adverse comment -

^^^^ yeh mines with AXA, windscreen cover and breakdown…BUT limit of 15 kilometres recovery, so they’ll take you to a place to repair. Also, they’ll send a Taxi or pay for a hotel room (whichever the cheapest) . That is automatically with the insurance . If you want to be taken any further, you either pay like I did… Or go for something like Europe assist which I now have on top of the AXA one.

Normally comes as part of your insurance, as does windscreen replacement. You should get a card with the number to call along with your insurance certificate.
Never had any problems when insured with AXA, who paid for hundreds of euros in taxi rides and provided free hire cars when a repair couldn't be done right away. Waiting to see if my new (somewhat cheaper) insurers are just as good, but hoping I don't have to find out!

I am an Australian who would like to travel to france for 6 months each year from OZ. Do you know if the International Travel Insurance be applicable to me

I have cover from my Black card which is excellent. The helpline arranged everything for me the only time I have used it when we had an exhaust blow on a Toyota 4x4 on the motorway. It was still drivable although it had melted part of a suitcase in the back (I didn't realise diesel exhaust gas was so hot). He fixed for me to go to a garage nearby who welded the exhaust for us while we had lunch. I paid him and reclaimed the cost with not problems when we got back to UK. The best part was that the call centre arranged everything, found the garage, checked that he could do the repair (the nearest replacement exhaust was miles away and would take 48 hours to get the part to us) and gave us a GPS location for the garage as well.

I got caught too. Just before last Crimbo . Breakdown in St Nazaire. I knew what had happened but couldn’t do anything at the roadside. Phone insurance breakdown. That arrived and I asked them to take me home. Response was "you only have cover for 15 miles " . He, said he’d drop it off at the Volvo garage. Knowing that repair would be circa 1300 Euros I refused … Long story short, in the end I paid 200 euros to have the car bought home and spent another 200 doing the repair myself.
I now have cover from Europe Assist 70 euros and no limit on mileage.