The Fixer: European breakdown cover

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Dear Fixer,
On Saturday, I am driving my car, a Skoda Octavia, to France for a week long family holiday.

I have had it serviced recently and will check the oil and the tyre pressure etc before setting off.

But the journey will take a good seven hours, including the ferry, and I am still worried about the car breaking down at some point on the way there or back.

This would be bad news anyway, as a seven-hour journey with two kids under five is stressful enough.

But as neither my wife nor I speak much French, I have a feeling that sorting out a breakdown of this kind would probably prove difficult and expensive to boot.

I have breakdown cover with the AA in this country, but I do not think that it covers European trips.

Are there any breakdown policies that do this and if so, what is the cheapest way to get one that will ensure we get help if we need it?

J Turner, Haslemere

Dear Mr Turner,

Breakdown cover is one of those financial products you spend money on in the hope that you will never need it.

But should your tyre burst on a French A road, you will be very relieved to have a breakdown service to call I'm sure.

European cover does not generally come as standard with a UK policy, so I am not surprised that your AA cover does not include it.

Instead, it can be bought either to last for the length your trip or as a 12-month add-on to your UK policy.

Annual policies start at under £60, but you should be able to get a single-trip policy for quite a bit less.

So unless you are planning to drive to the Continent again in the next 12 months, the cheapest option will probably be a singe-trip policy.

To ensure you get the best price, I would advise contacting the AA first to find out how much it would charge you to add that to your current policy.

Then compare this with the deals available from rivals such as RAC and Green Flag on a comparison website like MoneySupermarket. Have a great holiday.

The Fixer

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