Breakdown insurance: get yourself covered

Warning triangle seen in front of a broken down car, with driver wearing yellow safety vest calling for assistance Fotosenmeer/Shutterstock

Warning triangle seen in front of a broken down car, with driver wearing yellow safety vest calling for assistance Fotosenmeer/Shutterstock

There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling when your car doesn’t start, or you get a flat tyre and you don’t have a spare.

While nearly every insurance policy will cover towing a vehicle immobilised after an accident, roadside assistance for breakdowns is not always included. That’s why many drivers buy a top-up policy.

The gold standard in the grand duchy is the Automobile Club of Luxembourg. It provides 24/7 roadside rescue, repairs and towing in “some 50 countries in Europe”.

Anecdotally, every ACL member that Delano has spoken to has been satisfied. One said: “they’ve never let me down.”

Membership covers a driver regardless of the vehicle they are driving. A year’s Europe-wide coverage costs €89.50 for the first driver and then €67 for a spouse or partner. A cheaper Luxembourg-only policy is also available. Membership runs the calendar year to 31 December.

The ACL also offers travel, safety and other services that you would expect an automobile association to provide.

A rival outfit, Europ Assistance, provides breakdown insurance in 45 European countries as part of its personal travel insurance packages. Annual rates run from €198 to €300, depending on the number of drivers and vehicles. Europ Assistance also offers short-term policies from 1 to 45 days that start at €20 a day.

Check with your insurer

Breakdown service is part of three Lalux formulae.

Several insurers offer breakdown assistance as a top-up feature. An Axa rep told Delano: “The price of this option is €65” a year. A Bâloise rep told Delano: “The typical additional cost for our ‘Option Panne’ is €35 per year.”

A Foyer rep said: “we are able to refer our clients to an external company able to organise such assistance.” The request can be made and tracked through its customer app. Important caveat: “costs in case of breakdown can nevertheless not be paid by Foyer.”

Check your lease

If you lease a car, breakdown insurance may already be part of your plan. For example, a Leaseplan spokeswoman told Delano it was automatically included in their standard contracts. She wrote in an email last week that Leaseplan offered Luxembourg customers:

“24/7 roadside assistance throughout Europe with a courtesy car provided for five days if your own car cannot be used (due to a breakdown or accident). Beyond that time, Leaseplan will contact you and take over to provide you with another vehicle at no extra charge until repairs are complete.”

ALD Automotive said on its website that “24/7 roadside assistance [is] included in your contract”.

Check your credit card

Both ING and Post Visa cards come with breakdown insurance via Europ Assistance.

Caught without coverage?

If you experience a breakdown in Luxembourg without insurance, try Charlie24 or SOS Dépannage.