Insurance, breakdown cover and other stuff

The official motorhome sosta in Cherasco

On a regular basis we get asked who we use for our various insurances. As we hate shopping around for these with a passion, I listed below who we use (and have used) and why, to hopefully save you some hours of your life!

Motorhome Insurance

When we renewed our motorhome insurance in June 2016 we switched to Safeguard, part of the Swinton Group. They really seem to understand what people doing long term trips need, so our policy has 365 travel outside the UK, unlimited mileage and green cards (third party insurance) for Morocco, Serbia and Turkey (which we’ll need in January). We also have AA breakdown cover across Europe – so when our ADAC membership runs out in September, we won’t need to renew it. We’ve heard really good reports about them from fellow travellers, but fingers crossed we won’t need to use them for anything!

NOTE: When we first set off on a long-term trip in 2011 we rented out our house and didn’t ‘move’ to another address (transfer all our banking, dvla, electoral register etc) therefore we were ‘full timing’ in our motorhome as we had no address back in the UK. This more than doubled our insurance premiums.

Health Insurance

In the past we went with whoever was cheapest on the internet, usually going for a ‘back packer’ policy as that covers long trips – which we tend to do as opposed to multiple trips. We currently have a two year policy with Alpha Insurance. Why two years? When I was researching policies I asked which would be better: two one year policies or a two year one – the reply surprised me. If you are out of the UK for more than 6 months in the previous 12 it makes getting a policy trickier. After some more digging I found this to be the case with a several providers, and as we’ll be away for about 11 months of the previous 12, we’ve insured ourselves until we are back from next year’s trip – don’t know what we’ll do then though. The policy we have allows for two 21 day returns to the UK, one of which we’ll use in later this year to return for our MOT.

We go for the minimum policy offered, simply because we don’t need most of the extras (missed flights, delayed departure etc). Health insurance for us is to simply cover us in the event of a medical emergency (that’s not covered by our EHIC cards) and get us home if needs be.

Breakdown Cover

If you’ve been reading our blog you’ll know we use ADAC (the German version of the AA) for our breakdown cover. For just under €100 they cover both us of driving anything, anywhere in Europe – so when our Smart car wouldn’t start when we got back to England we called Germany and the AA turned up.

They offer loads of other services such as booking ferries, hotels and maps for trips but we haven’t used any of these – when we have used them the person on the end of the phone has spoken perfect English and they have been great. They have also repatriated fellow motorhomers when their van broke down in France and got their van back to the UK too, fingers crossed we’ll never have to use that service though!

UPDATE – We have heard that from 1 October 2017 ADAC no longer accept new members who do not have a German address.

Pet Insurance

Before we set off on our first trip we asked the people who we insured Charlie (our dog) with how much it would cost to cover him while abroad. The response was the maximum he could be out of the UK was 30 days. We searched around and found the longest he could travel and be insured was 90 days, so he is ‘self insured’, ie the money we would have paid to insure him is used to pay for vet visits.

He has visited a few vets while we’ve travelled, mainly for his regular injections or return to UK visit, however one time he did eat rat poison in Sicily which wasn’t fun. Almost every vet or their assistant spoke English, only the Sicilian vet didn’t but we needed a vet fast so went straight to the nearest, and the prices were often slightly cheaper than the UK.

Please note: we’re not affiliated with any of the above providers, and although the services they offer work for us, they might not work for you. Please check the small print, and do your own research.

Cheers, Jay and Ju


  1. Hi Jason
    Our motorhome comes in three weeks and so I have been talking to insurance companies, I am going with Safeguard as you say dearer but comes with 365 days European cover, unlimited mileage and UK, European breakdown cover.
    We are hoping to follow in your footsteps so it sound like the right cover.
    Ian & Gill
    P.S. website in early stages dummy posts at the moment

  2. Also looking at Safeguard. Ian & Gill; we are in the same boat as you in terms of timing – our motorhome (Hilma) is now in the UK awaiting DVLA plates. Insurance seems expensive but then we did have a little ‘bump’ last December!!
    We get our first ‘live’ look at Hilma tomorrow :-)
    Ian & Janette

  3. Hello, we travel with our dog Pepper and her insurance is up for renewal. We have found a couple of sources that will give you 364 day cover, Protect Your Bubble and Debenhams. You have to select the top package and it’s not cheap.

    • Thanks for the info John. We’ll continue to self insure, but it’s handy to know there is an alternative. Happy travels, Jay

  4. We found Safeguard awfully expensive so did not use them. Had trouble this year to find a company that would do Bosnia , Comfort wouldnt do it for us.

    • Hi Jennifer. We’ve found them to be very expensive too, but seemingly are the only ones who’ll do 365 days away with all the green cards we want. I guess we have to pay to get what we need. :(

  5. Hi guys loving reading your blogs, we hoping to do something similar this year , but not done it before, so good to pick up tips from your blogs, really not sure if we should get a motorhome the same size of yours or a van conversion like transit,something with a fixed bed and Easyer to drive , think it’s a little scary thinking about getting a Hymer suck down in a little Italian village 😧 but I guess you need the living space if your living in it for a good while , sure will sort it soon cheers colin

    • We had a smaller van (Talbot Express Autosleeper) but decided that if we were to tour long term we’d need something where we don’t have to make the beds up every day. The Hymer has proved ideal for us as the drop down bed doesn’t take away living space, but it is wider than your standard transit conversion. Only been a bit stuck in a couple of places but would have been the same whatever we were driving (unless it was a Fiat 500), but it’s all part of the fun. We’ve met people doing this sort of trip in a VW, with 2 kids, it’s all about how much space you are happy to live in. Good luck with whatever you decide to go for. Ju

  6. Hi Julie & Jason – hubby and I are embarking on a short tour of only 4 months. It is our first time in Europe and we are in a caravan not motorhome. I have found your essential list invaluable being a novice and a bit scared too. We are starting off in May after my husband retires and will be going to Austria, staying at 2 or 3 sites on the way and then making a slow journey to Kefalonia through Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia and Mainland Greece before catching a ferry to Sami in Kefalonia. We will stay there for a few weeks before making the return journey maybe via Italy due to the migrant situation. Because we are caravanners I am a little concerned about overnight stays on route – do you think we will have to book in advance? Any advice you have will be gratefully received. We will be taking our Norfolk Terrier with us, he has his passport ready!

  7. Thumbs up here for Safeguard. Their policy includes 365 days euro cover – fully comp, not just 3rd party – and full breakdown cover in Europe. Mind, the test of a good insurance provider is not just the premium cost but how they deal with a claim. I had a no fault bump in the uk last summer and whilst the claim was dealt with promptly and efficiently and repairs carried out at my garage of choice, it took six months to recover my excess. But I guess that’s the same with all/most insurance companies.

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