European/ UK Breakdown Cover

  1. edwin Enthusiast

    Gentlemen. I see that many of you travel abroad with your cars. Last year I had an 8 year old VW Passat which suffered a catastrophic engine failure on a French motorway, and although I had the full works with the RAC, they wrote off the car, because they said the value of putting in a new factory fresh engine exceeded the value of the car, it being 8 years old. They would not consider a recon'd engine or a 2nd hand unit from a breakers. Moreover, they would not repatriate the car for me to repair in the UK because they had written it off. So I was left in France with my wife and a dead car to sort out. I had a trailer on the car as well, and they would not bring it back either. My trailer insurance, refused to cover the trailer because the car had been written off, and as I had rented the trailer I was personnaly responsible for the value of the trailer, about £3k. Not a nice situation. I eventually was helped by a pal coming over, putting my car on the trailer and towing me back. However, I had paid for full European Cover, and bar an overnight at a hotel, and a car rental for a day, the RAC washed their hands of me. And there was enough small print on page 27 of their terms and conditions to back them up.
    They simply would not help any further.

    Can I ask what breakdown/ relay repatriation arrangements you have , considering that all Renault 4's are over 25 years old, and what good experiences you have had, and with which company.

    Thanks Edwin
  2. jjad

    jjad Enthusiast

    Sorry to hear of your sad story, Edwin, that's awful. Just over a week ago I took out a UK policy with the RAC, which covers 1 driver (any car). We're not likely to take our R4 abroad again any time soon, but would have to look at other policies in light of your problems. Several years ago we were covered by via Adrian Flux (who used a local breakdown company) that I had to call when I couldn't start our R4. They came promptly and got it started (problem was old battery, then I had flooded the cold engine with petrol). You would think that specialised insurers would offer policies that include the repatriation of classic/cherished cars, at a premium, of course. But I've not looked into it.

    It will be interesting to hear if anyone else has any advice.
  3. Andrew4Renaults

    Andrew4Renaults Enthusiast

    Barnet, Hertfordshire.
    Bloody hell! We've been to France every year for the past 6 or so years (might be more!) in a 1994 Citroën Xantia, which has an insurance value of £500 (actually the car cost me only £200, but the valuation wouldn't go lower then £500!)

    Although I service the car meticulously myself and have always taken the greatest care with everything to do with the car (I love it!) and, being in France I suppose a local garage would be able to help and I speak pretty good French, I too bought the "full works" recovery insurance (just in case!) albeit from the AA, but I suppose their policy details are broadly similar to the R.A.C. I suspect I have also been wasting my money! Thanks for the information!
  4. retrospecparts Enthusiast

    West Sussex
    Surely all Renault 4 owners have agreed value classic policies, many of which include European breakdown cover.
    A few years ago the clutch centre plate disintegrated on my Citroën H-van while I was in France. My insurance company said that they could repatriate it and supply me with a 'similar vehicle' for the duration of my holiday. Unfortunately I had forgotten to take my driving licence so I couldn't have the loan vehicle (and I never found out what modern vehicle they considered to be 'similar' to an H-van!), so I had to fix it myself in the campsite, where the owner had a scrap H-van that he let me have the clutch centre plate out of. (Heavy lumps, those Indenor diesel engines).
    Richnd1974 likes this.
  5. jjad

    jjad Enthusiast

    :scared: Er, not yet. It's something I need to sort out now our R4 is back on the road... (it's on a classic, low mileage policy, but without an agreed value; the annoying thing about our classic policy is that it doesn't keep building up years of no-claims). Thanks for the reminder though!
  6. Stuart Delahoy

    Stuart Delahoy Enthusiast

    This is a worry as I always cover the Avantime with the RAC as they are the only company to take a car 16 years old.
    And we are often towing?

    Your 4 should be fine if you have European cover through your classic insurance. Had one of mine recovered from the middle of France and us flown home when it expired. As it was a Spanish built car the local French garage could not find the right water pump for it!

    That was with Footman James, but I am now with Hagertty who offer similar cover.
    jjad likes this.
  7. Lobster

    Lobster Screw loose

    Some modern European breakdown policies include repatriation cover, some don't. It's worth checking this when you take the policy out. Some do have a clause saying that if the cost of recovery is more than the value of the car then they can't / won't / don't bring it back.

    Despite still being an RAC member I find that when they subcontract the recovery to a third party recovery operator they are usually spectacularly poor.
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