Breakdown recovery Spain / Accident recovery Spain

breakdown recovery spain

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.

Car Insurance Spain additional cover

When shopping for car insurance in Spain also bear in mind other useful protections. Some companies actually now include some or all of these as standard, but not all. Remember to ask.

Accident and breakdown recovery Spain

In Spain it is illegal to tow a vehicle. Most insurances these days automatically include a breakdown and accident recovery service. However, it doesn’t hurt to double check when you are buying a policy. A lot, but not all will include windscreen protection as well. A car is now a very important part of most people’s lives. It may be that you use it to get to work or drop the kids off to school. Perhaps it is just to make our life easier whilst here on a regular visit to a holiday home. If your car is off the road then it might also be worth including a courtesy car in your insurance.

Courtesy Car

If your insurer include a courtesy car then find out in what circumstances it is available. Usually it will be provided in the event of a claim where your vehicle has to be in the repair workshop. There is usually a minimum number of specified days before the car is provided. That will depend on the insurance company. There will also be a maximum number of days a courtesy car will be provided.

If you breakdown some insurance companies will also make a courtesy car available. Again there is usually a minimum number of days that your car must be unavailable before a courtesy car is provided. A maximum number of days will also be detailed in the policy.

Please bear in mind that the insurance companies will not provide a like for like vehicle. If you have got a seven-seater don’t expect the insurer to offer a substitute vehicle of the same size. If you drive a Lexus don’t expect the insurance company to provide you with a temporary one.

You might be able to make an arrangement with the rent-a-car where you pick up the courtesy vehicle. That is if they have something available and you are willing to pay the difference.

A reflective jacket and two warning triangles

If you break down in Spain, you should try to stop the vehicle out of the way of the traffic flow as much as possible. Put on your reflective jacket before stepping out of the car. That means your jacket needs to be reachable from the driver’s seat rather than rolled up into a ball and stuffed underneath the small tool kit and the oil can you have in the boot. The glove box is usually a good place to stow it.

You should organise setting out your red warning triangles. One should be placed fifty metres behind your broken down car. If the road is a two-way road rather than a motorway for example, then the second red warning triangle needs to be placed fifty metres in front of the vehicle.

This will warn vehicles coming from both directions that there is a problem ahead.

Ring your car insurance company in Spain for roadside assistance on your mobile phone. Tell them the road you are on and try and if on a motorway in which direction you are travelling. Most breakdown services offered by car insurance companies in Spain will arrive within the hour.

If you do not have a reflective jacket or warning triangles, then you could be fined by the police. This is more likely to happen on a motorway where the police are normally monitoring the traffic flow and can quickly identify a broken down vehicle. Their main intention will be to get you moved to safety and the traffic flowing freely again. However, failure to have the correct equipment in the car may lead them to add to your mechanical woes with a ticket for non-compliance with the road traffic laws.

Although not a legal requirement you might also want to consider buying a flashing warning light.

Nearly all policies include some form of accident and breakdown recovery as standard.

Reduce the danger to you and others if you breakdown with a help flash warning light

Help Flash

Have you ever thought that if you broke down that putting out your warning triangle 50 metres behind and in front of your car might put you in significant danger?

Well, a Spanish company called Netun Solutions are marketing a product that could take that concern away. Help flash is a safety light that you can store in your glove compartment and bring out when you breakdown or have an accident.

It is magnetic so can be stuck on the top of the car.  Once in contact with the metal it will automatically display an orange flashing light. The light is visible for up to a kilometre away.

Although not specifically designed for disabled or pregnant drivers the benefits are obvious. Placing a warning triangle fifty metres behind and/or in front of your vehicle is all the more difficult for people in these situations.

help flash promotional video

The light is weatherproof and is powered by a 9v battery. It has up to two and a half hours battery life, which is much more than it usually takes for a breakdown truck to rescue you.

help flash complies with the vehicle regulations in Spain and is a recognized danger signaling device.

The law hasn’t done away with the warning triangles yet. However, it is now up to the driver to decide whether it is safe to leave the vehicle and place the warning triangle 50 metres behind the vehicle. If the driver is not convinced it is safe to do so then he can put his Help Flash light on top of the vehicle and stay inside with seatbelts fastened.

Motorbikes don’t have warning triangles but they could use help flash

It is also possible for motorcyclists to use the product. They of course don’t have warning triangles. The light can be attached magnetically to the bike or a crash barrier at the side.

The product is available to by directly from the company and it is also available on amazon.es