Sales of European breakdown cover spike as brits take the road to summer holidays

New insight from LV= Britannia Rescue today reveals that more holidaymakers are choosing to travel abroad by car this year. LV= Britannia Rescue recorded twice as many sales for European breakdown cover in each of the two weeks following the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK (weeks ending 28th June and 5th July 2020), compared to a normal ‘pre COVID’ week1. That figure rose again earlier this month (week ending 12th July 2020), with three times as many policies sold.

Lockdown restrictions have now eased further and with school officially out for the summer holidays, many Brits have been looking for ways to escape the UK and go abroad. Recent research from LV= Britannia Rescue shows that a quarter (26%) of Brits before lockdown restrictions lifted were planning on going abroad as soon as they could, with almost a fifth (17%) not nervous about going aboard this year.2

Breakdown insurance is a vital part of any road trip – and protects you from being left out of pocket if something does go wrong. If you’re driving abroad and you don’t have breakdown cover it could become very expensive if you need a repair. The most popular country to drive to for LV= Britannia Rescue customers is France, where the average call-out charge is approximately £700. If you have cover, that cost is covered by the insurer – if you don’t then the driver has to pay for it.

The most common places to breakdown and average repair costs are as follows:

Country Average cost of repair at roadside
France (52%) £700
Spain (17%) £600
Germany (7%) £650
Belgium (4%) £700
Italy (4%) £950

The top five most common faults and average costs are as follows:

Fault Average cost of repair at roadside
Engine £1,050
Warning lights amber £800
Car won’t start £500
Wheels / Tyre (no spare) £400
Wheels/ Tyre (spare ok) £300

Sweden, where recovery costs average £1,450, is the most expensive country in Europe to break down. Romania (£1,400) is the second, followed by Turkey (£1,250), Italy (£950) and then Croatia (£900). These figures don’t include all repair costs, which will be over and above the recovery costs, depending on the damage to the car.

Henry Topham, Managing Director, LV= Britannia Rescue says: "The impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having globally has led to the cancellation of multiple holidays and events. As restrictions have eased it is not surprising that many people have decided to look for ways to go abroad by car.

“Whilst driving may be the best option for those concerned about travelling by plane, it’s vital that before you drive abroad you check with your insurance company to ensure you are covered in the country you are driving to.

“With LV= Britannia Rescue you can get comprehensive breakdown cover in Europe, for up to 180 days a year. LV= car insurance also covers you while driving in Europe and you can also add breakdown as an optional extra or buy as a separate policy, meaning you’re covered for accidents or breakdowns in over 40 European countries.”

If you are planning on driving abroad this summer, here’s a few things to bear in mind:

  1. If you break down on the motorway or at a motorway service station in France, you’ll have to call for help from the orange SOS box on the side of the road, or 112 from your mobile.
  2. Recovery agents may not speak English, so customers are advised to call their breakdown assistance service first to prevent any problems arising.
  3. Make sure you travel with your driver's licence and also the V5 of the vehicle, as most garages will ask for both of these.
  4. It is illegal in France and some other European countries (Germany for one) to change just one tyre on an axle of a vehicle; both tyres on one axle need to be changed.
  5. Only very minor repairs will be carried out at the roadside in Europe.
  6. Drivers in some larger cities in France will need to purchase a ‘clean air’ sticker to denote the level of emissions a vehicle produces. Find out more here.
  7. Pets will not be allowed on any ferries to cross the channel unless they are in a cage within a vehicle.
  8. The replacement vehicle entitlement will not be activated if you can’t produce a valid driver's licence and credit card under the same name and agencies in Europe will not accept debit cards. You will also need to have sufficient funds in your account to cover the deposit, as this will not be covered by your insurance.
  9. Before you head off on your road trip to Europe, always check to make sure your car and breakdown insurance gives you the cover you need.

1 As recorded by the LV= Britannia Rescue sales data for the weeks ending 28th June, 5th July and 12th July 2020

2 Research conducted by Opinium between 19th and 22nd June 2020, with 2,001 UK adults

Simon Ansell
Media Relations Manager, General Insurance
07826 953024

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