European Breakdown Advice

What to do if you break down

Breaking down in Europe

Breaking down in Europe

The following information is in your European breakdown policy pack, so be sure to take it with you so you have all the relevant information in the event of a breakdown.


From breaking down by the roadside to items you're strongly advised to carry, here are some essential tips if you break down in Europe.

Before you call anyone

  1. If possible try and stop in a safe place out of the way of traffic
  2. Switch on hazard warning lights and sidelights
  3. Put on your high-visibility jacket where legally required
  4. Place a warning triangle behind your vehicle in a clearly visible position

    1. Roads: approximately 30 metres behind
    2. European Motorways: approximately 100 metres behind
    3. UK Motorways: do not use a warning triangle as this is illegal for safety reasons
  5. Get all occupants to a place of safety away from moving traffic.

If you have broken down on a French road or motorway, read our breakdown advice for France.

Roadside assistance

Call the AA's 24-hour helpline. It is important that you contact the AA helpline if you require assistance.

If you contact a garage direct, you'll have to settle their bill and the AA won't be obliged to reimburse you.

If you've had an accident

If you have a road traffic accident, you must supply your motor vehicle insurance details to us when we ask for this information.

You must report the accident to your insurer as instructions for the repair or recovery of the vehicle can only be taken from them.

If you do not supply us with the details of valid motor vehicle insurance when we ask you for this information, we reserve the right not to provide you with assistance.

Please be ready to tell us

  1. your AA European Breakdown Policy number
    It appears on your Statement of Insurance, or your booking reference
  2. your exact location
  3. a contact telephone number
  4. your vehicle's make, model and registration number
  5. your credit card details

    These are only required for emergency vehicle hire or if you request the AA to make arrangements on your behalf which are not covered by the policy or if arrangements exceed policy limits

Driving licence

Your driving licence must also be available if the emergency vehicle hire benefit is available and is to be used; the vehicle hire company will expect to see the original driving licence, together with paper counterpart, if you hold a photocard licence.

Always carry your European breakdown policy documents or booking reference.

You will need to quote a valid policy number or booking reference when you contact us for assistance, and we reserve the right to refuse to arrange assistance if you are unable to do so.

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European breakdown contact numbers

24-hour helpline calling from the UK, UK mobiles and abroad – 00 800 88 77 66 55
When dialling from within UK always dial 00 800 and not 0800.

When calling don't forget that dialling and ringing tones differ from country to country and that the 00 800 88 77 66 55 number may not work from some telephone networks. If you experience difficulties, please use the following numbers:

  • If in France calling on a French landline, call 08 25 09 88 76 or 04 72 17 12 00
  • From any other country/UK mobile phones call 00 33 825 09 88 76 or 00 33 472 17 12 00

Call charges and public telephones

Some call service providers may charge for calls to free phone numbers. It may be possible for the AA European Operations Centre to return a call to a mobile or a car phone, but your call service provider may charge you for this call.

You are therefore recommended to use a public telephone if possible. In France, only those phone boxes displaying the blue bell sign can receive incoming calls.*

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Driving in Europe – a checklist

Be prepared for eventualities. If you're travelling to Europe in your car, we advise you to take the following items with you:

  • credit card
    (you'll need it to take advantage of the vehicle-hire benefit)
  • motor insurance certificate/Green Card
    (contact your motor insurer before taking a vehicle out of the UK to find out if you need a Green Card or if you wish to upgrade to fully comprehensive insurance)
  • driving licence
    (including paper counterpart if photocard licence)
  • international driving permit
    (where necessary)
  • your European breakdown cover documents or booking reference
  • vehicle registration document or hired/leased certificate
    (if applicable), plus letter of authority if vehicle is hired or borrowed.
  • passport

A spare set of car keys may also be useful, and of course AA European Breakdown Cover.


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