European breakdown cover

Dec 13, 2017
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Hi, Looking to do a month tour of Europe and so looking for some breakdown cover for car and caravan.
We are insured through Frank Pickles who will give us cover for £99 for up to 90 days (we need 27)
Green flag offer fairly comprehensive cover for £112

Several companies will recover car and caravan if the car breaks down but does anyone have any pointers to effective European breakdown cover which will include the caravan breaking and not just the car?

It looks like ADAC who used to be good can now only sell new policies in Germany (Since October 2017) so unfortunately they are not viable.

Any tips?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Mark31415 said:
Hi, Looking to do a month tour of Europe and so looking for some breakdown cover for car and caravan.
We are insured through Frank Pickles who will give us cover for £99 for up to 90 days (we need 27)
Green flag offer fairly comprehensive cover for £112

Several companies will recover car and caravan if the car breaks down but does anyone have any pointers to effective European breakdown cover which will include the caravan breaking and not just the car?

It looks like ADAC who used to be good can now only sell new policies in Germany (Since October 2017) so unfortunately they are not viable.

Any tips?
I use the CMHC for European cover. It is specifically geared to the needs of caravans or motorhomes. Reports of problems that members have had and the assistance rendered by the clubs makes it worth the extra. I also have the personal travel insurance too as the EH1c doesn't give enough cover should you have a bad accident or illness. No repatriation in EH1C which would be costly if you were discharged from hospital and were immobile or unable to drive. Basically I hope to not have to use any of the insurance covers but if I do I don't want to be phoning several different organisations and trying to sort them out.
 
Jul 28, 2008
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Call it belt and braces, but I have just taken out a policy with Red Pennant, the C&MC’s European cover for a trip that we’re starting later this week. I have breakdown cover with the CSMA and the car is still under manufacturer’s warranty for another year (with European breakdown). BUT, in most cases, (and these two are no exception) will only sort out the caravan IF it is attached to the towing vehicle. You might think that’s fine, and until last year so would I. So, why have I bought the extra?

Last year we were going to stay overnight in Luxembourg on our way to the Alsace. We arrived at the site, and as I was driving around to our pitch (window open) I could hear a strange ‘clanking’ sound. Arriving at the pitch, I saw that the caravan’s handbrake was vertical, and then we got a whiff of brakes and saw that the wheels were black with brake dust. I had not felt a thing as we were travelling, but it seems that the breakaway cable had become snagged and had continuously been pulling the brakes on gently, until they’d worn out. Quite frankly, we were very lucky because the brake drums had got so hot that they were breaking up. So, back to the question. We stayed in the caravan that night (given the option by Red Pennant after they’d sent a garage to have a look) which was sensible given the time. A lorry turned up the following morning to take the caravan away and we were given options re alternative accommodation. It took the best part of a week to get the caravan back (it would have been a lot longer had I left it to Al-Ko in Germany, but thanks to Al-Ko UK.......), but we were on a good site and were looked after very well and kept informed by Red Pennant.

Yes, it’s pricey, but in my opinion, you get what you pay for.

The C&CC also do breakdown cover too, so might be worth a look.

It’s all very well having ‘standard’ cover (as we have elsewhere), but things might have been complicated had we not had the extra cover that we did.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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NigelHutson said:
Call it belt and braces, but I have just taken out a policy with Red Pennant, the C&MC’s European cover for a trip that we’re starting later this week. I have breakdown cover with the CSMA and the car is still under manufacturer’s warranty for another year (with European breakdown). BUT, in most cases, (and these two are no exception) will only sort out the caravan IF it is attached to the towing vehicle. You might think that’s fine, and until last year so would I. So, why have I bought the extra?

Last year we were going to stay overnight in Luxembourg on our way to the Alsace. We arrived at the site, and as I was driving around to our pitch (window open) I could hear a strange ‘clanking’ sound. Arriving at the pitch, I saw that the caravan’s handbrake was vertical, and then we got a whiff of brakes and saw that the wheels were black with brake dust. I had not felt a thing as we were travelling, but it seems that the breakaway cable had become snagged and had continuously been pulling the brakes on gently, until they’d worn out. Quite frankly, we were very lucky because the brake drums had got so hot that they were breaking up. So, back to the question. We stayed in the caravan that night (given the option by Red Pennant after they’d sent a garage to have a look) which was sensible given the time. A lorry turned up the following morning to take the caravan away and we were given options re alternative accommodation. It took the best part of a week to get the caravan back (it would have been a lot longer had I left it to Al-Ko in Germany, but thanks to Al-Ko UK.......), but we were on a good site and were looked after very well and kept informed by Red Pennant.

Yes, it’s pricey, but in my opinion, you get what you pay for.

The C&CC also do breakdown cover too, so might be worth a look.

It’s all very well having ‘standard’ cover (as we have elsewhere), but things might have been complicated had we not had the extra cover that we did.

Thank you Nigel and it just goes to show what torque demon the Morris Minor is. :evil:
 
Jul 28, 2008
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It certainly is Clive! You would have expected to feel the Landhaus dragging behind, especially given some of the hills, but alas, no, not a thing!
 
Nov 16, 2015
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For Europe, I would only think about Red pennent, I did have Green Flag European cover, which covered the caravan , at £112 but feel safer with red Pennent.
 
Jul 15, 2008
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NigelHutson said:
I saw that the caravan’s handbrake was vertical, and then we got a whiff of brakes and saw that the wheels were black with brake dust. I had not felt a thing as we were travelling, but it seems that the breakaway cable had become snagged and had continuously been pulling the brakes on gently, until they’d worn out.

Sorry to hear that......but I would find that quite worrying.
What you describe are brake shoes binding on the drums generating excess heat.
I would expect a vertical handbrake to apply the brakes fully and lock the wheels.
This is what happens on my caravan if the handbrake lever is vertical.
 
Jul 28, 2008
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Gafferbill said:
NigelHutson said:
I saw that the caravan’s handbrake was vertical, and then we got a whiff of brakes and saw that the wheels were black with brake dust. I had not felt a thing as we were travelling, but it seems that the breakaway cable had become snagged and had continuously been pulling the brakes on gently, until they’d worn out.

Sorry to hear that......but I would find that quite worrying.
What you describe are brake shoes binding on the drums generating excess heat.
I would expect a vertical handbrake to apply the brakes fully and lock the wheels.
This is what happens on my caravan if the handbrake lever is vertical.

I quite agree Bill, and would have expected to be aware of the constant dragging/binding, but wasn’t at all, or for the brakes to have been fully applied, but there was nothing.

I questioned it with Al-Ko, as there had been no hint of the caravan dragging at all throughout the journey, and the brake was definitely off when we left the ferry, and stopped for lunch. It was their ‘Premium’ brakes which are self-adjusting, and I was told that of course they would keep adjusting up with the wear, but that it is quite probable that the breakaway cable was sufficient to keep pulling the brakes on when it was pulled tight, but then release again afterwards, maybe still binding a little (otherwise I can’t see how the shoes could have worn out completely as they did) and eventually there’s nothing left to adjust. When the brake shoes have been worn down enough, the handle will end up vertical as it’s not actually doing anything.

Of course, when we found the worst, my wife did suggest that she could smell something when we stopped for lunch, but thought that it was a lorry that pulled up about the same time. My sense of smell is decent, but not s good as hers. Hey ho!

Oddly, the breakaway cable wasn’t tight when I connected it, but obviously must have been tight enough to cause the issue.

The bottom line is though that Red Pennant served us well, and it just proves that none of us are exempt from mistakes.
 
Feb 7, 2010
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Keep well away from the RAC I am with them and whilst driving down the A10 just South of Poitiers I had a blow out on the Caravan. I pulled over and called the RAC said I wasn't covered for problems with the Caravan so would have to pay my self. II told them I had specifically asked about the cover for the Caravan when I took it out and was told it was covered. Just behind where I stopped was a security camera and by the time I finished on the phone a security van was with me. He phoned for a breakdown truck and within 10 minutes someone was there changing the wheel. I had to pay just over €124. I will be having a word with the RAC when I get back. I have already got a quote from the CMC but they won't do anything till I get home.

Les
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I think that if you break down on Autoroutes you must call the French autoroute coordinators who then arrange for the situation to be managed. Once they’ve got you off of the autoroute you can then contact your own breakdown support organisation. Perhaps that’s why the RAC declined support. Was your RAC via CCC or just you arranging membership yourself. With the CMHC their membership via Greenflag/Red Pennant covers Car and caravan problems. Whereas many of the others will tow/ load your van if you have a car problem but not cover you if you have a van problem. The policy T&C spell it out.
 
Dec 13, 2017
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Has anyone got any experience of either the Frank Pickles bolt-on service or Euro-rescue? Both report to cover caravan issues and not just manage the caravan if the car has an issue. Caravan Club (is that the red pennant cover?) cover seems to need you to be a member of the caravan club and we are only members of the camping and caravan club. Camping&Caravan Club breakdown is via RAC I think and was double the price of others so will be giving that a miss.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Last year I had green Flag insurance European, and that covered everything I needed as we were not towing the van , although it gave good cover, with the van bring home etc. With Red Pennant we had health cover with very little hassle and as we are of the Arctic blond hair colour now its well worth it. , think about if your 5 year old lad or lass breaks a leg and needs to get home from rural Austria or France. Red Pennant will do it.
Edit. I have just renewed our E 1.11 cards, for another 5 years.
 
May 7, 2012
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My feeling is that with insurance, good cover and a reliable service are far more important than saving the odd penny. I have always used the cover provided by the two big clubs. I have never had to claim but I do know they are both as good as you will get and that suits me.
 
Feb 7, 2010
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otherclive said:
I think that if you break down on Autoroutes you must call the French autoroute coordinators who then arrange for the situation to be managed. Once they’ve got you off of the autoroute you can then contact your own breakdown support organisation. Perhaps that’s why the RAC declined support. Was your RAC via CCC or just you arranging membership yourself. With the CMHC their membership via Greenflag/Red Pennant covers Car and caravan problems. Whereas many of the others will tow/ load your van if you have a car problem but not cover you if you have a van problem. The policy T&C spell it out.

I specifically ask when I took it out that it covered the caravan and was told yes it does. It now turns out, like you say that they will take the Caravan if the car breaks down but only to the near site within 10 miles.

Les
 
Apr 19, 2017
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I have read the detailed wording of both Red Pennant and the also the European section of the similar C&CC offering.
Yes, they both include breakdown of the caravan, even if the car is OK. However, as far as I can see neither state that they will provide recovery for either car or caravan other than to the nearest repair facility (other than repatriation if that proves necessary). There is certainly no mention of transporting car and/or caravan to your chosen destination, and if necessary transporting you home afterwards .....as applies with both Clubs' UK offerings.

I know that many users of Red Pennant (in particular) say they have received service 'beyond the call of duty', but I still struggle to find anything notably better than other (European) breakdown policies in the detailed wording.

(Very happy if anyone can show me otherwise .... and not really interested in the relatively small aspects like overnight accomodation, onward travel, etc).
 
Jun 2, 2017
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We used Red Pennant this year for a 122 day holiday at £295 for both of us including personal cover.
I must say I couldn't fault them on 3 occasions I had to call them-1 for the Caravan & 1 for the car when we got stuck in snow and the brakes froze up and a puncture while we were on site
They recovered Car, Caravan and fixed up overnight accomodation plus extra costs of missing ferry, extra nights campsites, and labour for everything-the only cost to me was for a new set of brake pads as they had shredded with seizure.
Given the cost of all this lot I feel £295 was very well spent and will certainly be renewing for this Winter.
They cover you from leaving home to returning home so if anything happens en rout to ferry etc they cover that cost too. Given that Britanny Ferries charged us an extra £308 as we missed our ferry on top of what we had already paid, this is something I would consider when contemplating Breakdown Insurance.
The service from C&MHC staff was superb and they even got English speaking translators to liase with the repair people for us.
No Excess on policy-you claim when you get back and in our case they paid out every penny.
Also a friend of ours got same cover, ended up in Hospital with Pneumonia and the (private) hospital costs at £1000 per night (!) were covered direct which was a good job as he was in 9 days!
Hope this helps
Mike
 

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