Most car insurance in Spain will automatically include accident and breakdown recovery. However, there are differences in the cover provided. Some companies offer a comprehensive package in their cover as standard. Others offer more flexibility but if you don’t make enquiries you could end up with very limited service.
A few companies will only provide breakdown assistance, for example, if you are a minimum distance away from your home. So if you wake up and need to get to work or the airport to pick up relatives and the car won’t start you are on your own. Other companies offer cover from 0 (zero) kilometres. This means in the situation above they will come at get you started or tow you to the garage.
Limited towing distance
Other differences you might come across is the maximum distance that the insurance company will tow you. Alternatively, the distance the tow truck will travel might be calculated by the cost of the tow truck. So the insurance company might provide the service up to a limit of “x” amount of euros.
You can usually ask to be taken to your destination, your home address or your chosen garage within the limits set out in the breakdown recovery service stipulated in your policy. If the distance exceeds what you contracted, then the Spanish car insurance company recovery service will take you to the nearest garage for assistance instead.
Time to reach you
These days the majority of companies will get the recovery vehicle to you within the hour. They seem to have this well organised now. Perhaps why a few now offer compensation if the tow truck (Grua) arrives late. Whilst that might be welcome after the event it is hardly the reason to choose your car insurance in Spain.
Various companies may well try and fix the car where it has broken down. If it is something minor that can be done safely at the side of the road, for example, and within a short period of time. Remember your insurance breakdown recovery will try and help you get back on the road but they are not responsible for the cost of replacement parts.
Again depending on what level of breakdown recovery service you purchase, if it is not possible to repair the vehicle the same day then you the insurer may make a contribution towards hotel expenses. The amount, the length of stay and other conditions are dictated by your policy. This type of cover for breakdown and accident recovery could also include other European countries. If you travel abroad this might be an important consideration.
Hire car or taxi
There may be times when the vehicle remains immobilised for several days as a result of an accident or a major breakdown. Depending on what you have contracted in your policy then you might have the option to obtain a hire car to get you home or to your final destination. Or perhaps the insurance provider will organise a taxi.
Each insurance company is different so it is not possible to give a definitive guide here. The purpose of this article is to get you to think about what you might expect from your accident and breakdown recovery service. Discuss it with your Spanish insurance broker when you are looking for quotations for your car insurance in Spain.
Bear in mind, that the Spanish companies that tend to focus on expatriate clients usually offer a more complete package as part of their standard pricing. Other insurance companies will have maybe three levels of accident and breakdown recovery options you can choose from. Remember to check what is included because if you do not ask then you might find you are given the cheapest to make the insurance premium more attractive to you.
Make sure you know what you are buying
Remember, you only find the true value of your insurance when you need to use it. Skimping on a few euros now may lead to a real headache when the kids don’t get to their holiday destination or you have to dig deep in your pocket to get home.
Remember that if you are legally required to have certain things in your car in the event of a breakdown. See our post about warning triangles and reflective jackets.