Long-term European Insurance and Breakdown Cover
Insurance isn’t a particularly sexy topic, but it is an important one for the long-term traveller. One accident, one breakdown, or one illness will make the initial insurance premiums suddenly worthwhile.
But I found it surprisingly difficult to find affordable campervan insurance and breakdown cover that would extend to six months in Europe. I didn’t want to risk not having suitable cover, and in particular breakdown assistance, so I spent over a month finding the right policy.
I hassled people on Instagram to see what they had done, I begged with currently insurers to extend policies and lost my temper multiple times trying to navigate all the red tape. At the time I wished there was a guide all in one place of what another person did, so I hope you find this helpful!
I am insured with Adrian Flux which is a specialist classic car insurer. Peggy is a 1990 VW T25 - 29 years young - but is considered high risk to the standard, high-street insurance company who tend not to insure vehicles older than 15 years.
It also didn’t help that my no claims bonus had been decimated the summer before by an uninsured driver who collided with my parked car, so I had little choice but to settle for Flux’s high premiums.
On the plus side, their insurance covers 365 days in Europe.
Downside, the ‘Flux Rescue’ in Europe is a maximum of 60 days and they flatly refused to extend the cover.
Long-term European Breakdown Cover
I made the mistake of taking the policy with Adrian Flux without triple checking the small print for their European breakdown cover, which is only for a measly 60 days. I have since found other companies such as, Stuart Collins, who provide 365 days European insurance and breakdown cover as a package, so once my policy ends I’m likely to change providers.
In the meantime, it put me between a rock and a hard place. I couldn’t afford to take out another insurance policy, which included long-term European break down cover, and typical roadside assistance such as, the AA, only have policies for a maximum of 90 days or don’t even consider older vehicles. The RAC would cover me for six months but quoted £495, which is mad!
When I spoke to other travellers they either didn’t have breakdown cover or were European themselves so were able to easily take cover out within the EU. For example, the German company ADAC offer breakdown cover for just €80 but this is only available for German residents, (I tried). Quite a lot of advice I received to my dilemma was to just “risk it.”
I did seriously consider risking it, but while the van is in good condition, she is 29 years old with over 165,000 miles on the clock, and I’m planning on doing a lot of miles across Europe. A breakdown is highly likely. As a solo female traveller I will be at my most vulnerable broken down at the side of the road. I just didn’t feel comfortable not having assistance that would only be a phone call away.
Enter the absolutely legends Liverpool Victoria whose European Breakdown Cover extends to 180 days or six months which is perfect for me. They are also happy to include camper vans older than 15 years. Compared to RAC’s quote it is affordable at £134.
As we head towards Brexit I didn’t want to rely solely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical care so I also took out travel insurance with LV. I opted for the ‘adventurous’ package as I wanted to make sure any hiking accidents were covered. I may bungee jump as well, you never know! (I will never bungee jump)
My ever faithful companion, Dougie, is coming with me. Since a puppy I have insured him with Tesco Pet Insurance. Short European trips are included as standard in the policy, but again, I just didn’t want to risk not getting Dougie properly covered. I want to be able to provide Dougie with the right care, without the worry of money, should anything go wrong.
I rang Tesco, spoke to the nicest guy, who put in application with the underwriters to extend Dougie’s cover for sixth months in Europe. It was approved less than a week later. Dougie is now covered for the major EU countries! We can’t go to Monaco though. Shame Dougie wanted to place a few bets…
How was your experience of getting insurance for long-term travel? Pop any advice in the comments below!