Breaking down while driving abroad can feel stressful, but don't let it ruin your holiday! Follow these simple steps to get your car back on the road and keep the travels going.


Make sure you have a appropriate cover for driving abroad by checking your breakdown insurance. In most cases, breakdown cover is an add-on.


1. When driving in Europe make sure you do your research first – many countries require you to have certain items in your car in case of a breakdown

2. When calling for breakdown assistance it’s handy to share your exact location, make and model of car and any information about the problem

3. Keep any receipts if you have to take your car to a garage

1. Take a breath and assess the situation

It can be easy to panic when your car breaks down, especially if you’re in a foreign country. That’s why your first step to getting back on the road is to take a few deep breaths.

Once you’re calm, you’ll need to assess the situation:

  • Is there any sign of smoke? If there is, exit your vehicle immediately and find a safe spot well away from the car
  • Are you in a safe location? If you’ve stopped in the middle of a road, it might be best to push the car out of traffic if it’s safe to do so to avoid other drivers crashing into you
  • Can you wait outside your car? It’s usually advised to wait a safe distance from your car while you wait for breakdown services to arrive [1]
  • Have you alerted other road-users? Turn on your hazards and, if it’s safe to do so,put a warning triangle out on the road to tell other motorists you’ve broken down. The guidance around warning triangles varies between countries so it’s worth reading the rules before you travel.

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2. Call for roadside assistance

If you've broken down and you're in a safe space, call your breakdown provider.  Most breakdown cover providers offer international cover, so you should be able to get help even if you’ve broken down abroad.

If the car you’re driving is a hire car, it’s likely the car hire company will have their own breakdown service. Give the hire company a ring and ask for their advice.

When you call for roadside assistance, try to provide the following information:

  • Your exact location
  • The make and model of your car
  • The symptoms of the problem

Ageas offer breakdown cover as an optional add-on to its car insurance policies. Find out more about Ageas car insurance.

3. Follow the instructions of the roadside assistance provider.

The roadside assistance provider will give you instructions on what to do next. They may send a mechanic to your location to fix your car or refer you to a local mechanic.

If your car can’t be fixed on the side of the road, you will need to be taken to a garage close to where you’re staying. If you’re still a long way from your destination, it might be worth finding somewhere to stay overnight if the car can't be fixed on the same day.

Stopping for a night mid-journey might not be ideal but remember, most travel insurance policies will offer some sort of cover for the costs of vehicle breakdown, so you may be able to claim back for missed nights at your destination. 

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4. Keep your receipts

If you end up using a local breakdown service or your car needs to go to a garage, be sure to ask for receipts.

If your car breaks down while driving abroad, your insurance company may be able to compensate for any breakdown service or repairs you have done. You’ll need to provide all the receipts so your insurer can repay you accurately, so keep them safe or take photos so you have a digital record.

5. Contact your insurance company

To make a claim after breaking down abroad, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

You’ll need to provide accurate information about the details of the breakdown and have receipts at hand for any breakdown service or mechanic you used to get back on the road.

If your breakdown has caused you to miss pre-paid nights at a hotel, or other experiences you had booked in advance, it’s possible you might be able to claim for these, if you have travel insurance.

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