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What sort of breakdown cover can I get for driving a classic car in Europe?

I plan to take my 1996 Mercedes E220 W124 Estate on a tour of the continent this summer. What form of breakdown/recovery insurance cover should I take out? What should I look out for and what should I avoid? I shall of course have the car checked over thoroughly by my super local independent Merc specialist about three weeks before the trip.

Asked on 8 January 2019 by David Swan

Answered by Keith Moody
The first thing to do is check with your current insurer - some policies already offer European cover. It's also a good idea to check if the countries you are travelling through have any special requirements (France requires drivers to carry a hi-vis vest in the passenger compartment, for example). You'll also need to check for historic vehicle policies in city centres - Paris has banned pre-1997 petrols, for example. It's a good idea to have your essential paperwork with you and emergency contact details. European breakdown cover is a must - you'll need to make sure it offers 24-hour cover and it's also handy if you can be connected to an English-speaking call centre. Other options to consider are whether you want a courtesy car (or other methods of onward travel). Also think about what you want to happen to your vehicle - do you want it taken straight home? Dropped at a specialist? (get an idea of extra costs and the timescale involved). Do you want it to be repaired and then reunited with you later on in your trip? Finally, are you planning to visit any race tracks? If so, you'll need to make sure your cover includes on-track driving.
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