Review – ADAC European Breakdown Cover

Description of Item ADAC is Europe’s largest automobile club and they offer pan-European breakdown cover and accident assistance.
How We Use It We’ve bought the ADAC Partner Plus package. It cost us €102.70 for 12 month’s cover starting in Sept 2011. We’ve called ADAC out in northern Spain following a tyre blowout and the service was very good. We’ve also called them about getting spares for our old Hymer to a garage in rural France, and they were ready to help, but we ended up going to a main Fiat dealer.
What Do We Love?
  • The price is fantastic value for money
  • It covers the person, not the vehicle, so we’re covered if we borrow or hire a vehicle. As we have the Partner package, we’re both covered
  • The service we’ve bought includes support for a whole range of scenarios from lost glasses to repatriation of pets
  • Motorhomes are covered up to 7.5 tonnes, 3.2m high, 2.55m wide and 10m long. We’ve found no restrictions on vehicle age and as our van is 19 years old this was important to us
  • The telephone operators all seem to speak very good English
And What’s Not so Great?
  • Although the service is open to non-German residents, pretty much all documentation and written communication is in German. This can lead to come confusion – I couldn’t tell the level of cover in Morocco (there is some, but it doesn’t include breakdown cover) or exactly how long each trip away from home can last (although we were not been asked this on the call out we made)
  • You can’t pay for the service on-line unless you have a German address; you have to complete a paper application form and scan it/email it, or fax it over and call them to give your credit card details
Our Summary The service and value for money are excellent. The service isn’t geared up for non-German sales though; not being able to buy on-line and not having full documentation available in English has to drop a star for us non-German speakers.
Where Can I Get It? The best way to get more information and to arrange for membership is to browse the ADAC Website (http://www.adac.de/) and then call them (00 49 1805 10 11 12 and ask for an English speaking operative). Sending emails can take some time to respond, and may well come back in German and not actually answering your question; the phone really is the best option!


17 Comments

  1. Ah, ADAC. Really the only pan-Euro breakdown company in town for people like you and us.

    We’ve used them – in France, see our “Are we making your forecourt look untidy?” posts for the full story. They were great at picking us up, but lousy at communicating when the VW garage couldn’t be bothered to do any work at all on the van. They were then totally inflexible with the next step – they’d only repatriate us (the van taking 6wks) to the UK, not take us to a friend’s workshop 200km away. We ended up sorting it ourselves.

    They were also very inflexible over the overnight expenses allowance whilst the van was waiting at the garage – but did eventually pay, after a stroppy letter (in English).

    They also need three months advance notice to cancel your sub…

    We’re continuing to use them, but are definitely open to other companies.

    • Just read up, sounds like a right old farce. Our experience of French and Spanish garages has been black and white – some great, some awful. Sometimes luck I guess – our clutch died in Narbonne, and the Fiat garage was booked up for 10 days. Fortunately for us the clutch lasted long enough for us to pootle around a bit. Unfortunately for us, they killed our speedo cable and another Fiat garage refused to fix it. Ho hum! The van’s hanging on so far, and our experience of ADAC’s been good – goes to show that’s not always the case though.

      Left Bosnia yesterday, and Croatia this morning. The ‘inland’ part of those countries is somewhat red neck, we couldn’t find much to recommend anything north of Jajce in Bosnia. In Hungary now, recouperating after a freecamp night listening to the local neds yawping in the forest and revving motorbikes to the limiter at 2am. Saved us €10 though… :)

      Cheers, Jay

  2. I have just arranged breakdown cover for myself and my wife and so far the ADAC guys have been great. Very easy to speak to over the phone but it does help to do some research before you call them. All we needed was the Single Plus Membership which covers both of us all over Europe and we can also drive any car with this too.

    Fingers crossed we don’t need to use them but if it happens I’ll give a review and let you all know how the service was, but so far so good!

  3. If you are unfortunate to have to call ADAC out twice within the 12 months membership and neither of those occasions is when you are in Germany, your membership will not be renewed! End of story!

  4. Hi, tried to get ADAC cover earlier this year, but was told on the phone that they no longer offer cover to anyone without an address in Germany.
    Don’t know if any one else has come across this?

  5. I got a letter in German saying that they will reduce my membership to classic because i have used them twice in a year this means no more European cover only cover in Germany.ihave been a member since 2002 and in some years ive never used them at all and when i use them i only get the fix on site or the tow away to a garage ,and i dont ask for anything else.ive spoken to them about all of this but they are adamant about reducing my cover thats why im taking my bussiness elsewhere

  6. To add insult to injury they don’t tell in the joining process about their rules, and their salesman tells you we will come to your aid anywhere in the world and if needs be we will fly you and family home and bring your car back if cannot be fixed and lots of unreal promisses,ive never known them to say to me i cannot use my membership more than twice in one given year

    • I’d be careful at this point Mohammed. As far as I know ADAC do provide the services you describe as ‘unreal promises’. It’s not great if they’re limiting folks to two call outs a year, but this limitation is sure to be in the Ts and Cs. If you, like me, can’t read German, Google Translate will do a decent job. It sounds like your best bet now is to cancel ADAC and look for a alternative provider (we have cover through our insurer at the moment). Good luck, Jay

  7. Just joined this week in the UK. Pretty easy to do over the phone. Immediate email received with temporary membership card and I am expecting the full info and proper card next week. Nothing mentioned in signing up about limiting the number of call-outs per year though at the prices they offer for European cover, I can see their point.
    €109 for the year for me and my partner whereas NFU wanted £156 for 3 months in France (albeit the same full cover as I have in the UK)
    From what I read/translated from the ADAC site and what I was told when I signed up by phone, the level of ADAC cover is almost as good as NFU and has some other extras such as personal injury/illness recovery.

  8. I’m struggling to find online a clarification of what they do. I am taking my car to the French alps for 6 months so no English company will do more than 90 days at a time so I’d be looking at single trip, been quoted £200-£300 which is more than I want to spend. Will ADAC cover me for the whole 6 months? At just the €100?

    • Hi Jodie – sadly ADAC stopped taking UK customers a few weeks ago. Yes, they would have covered you for that much, but as far as I know you can only use their service now from the UK if you were already a customer. We also have breakdown cover from our motorhome insurer, so you could check if your car insurer will provide this type of cover? Bonne chance, Jay

  9. In December 2015 or January 2016 I signed up for a comprehensive insurance on my car. I was also sold membership for myself and two kids because I was told there was great offers and discounts to be part of the club. One of the benefits was some kind of priority roadside service.

    In 2016 I called because I had left the lights on in my car. This was from Ettlingen on the main street; Ettlingen is not some Hamlet, it is a reasonable sized town with a few reasonable large sized businesses. You may not know where it is, but if you worked for a company that offered roadside assistance, you might have a map or access to Google to find it. For two hours and numerous phone calls, I was unable to get the operator to understand my location. I gave her the street name, the name of three streets that connect directly to that street and the name of two very large national companies that are located on that street and all I got back was her telling me she could not find the street or the address on any map she had. I gave up and started to walk home when a old man who lived nearby offered to jump start my car. This old man was not an employee of ADAC but some random stranger.

    Later that year, I had battery problems again. I called and asked for a jump start – it was below zero and I had not used my car for a few weeks, so clearly the battery was at fault. I was told that roadside assistance would take 3-4 hours. I started to walk to work (20kms, but I do this often and quicker than 4 hours). My neighbour later helped jump start my car. She is not an employee of ADAC, just another random stranger.

    At no time during the year did I receive any special offers – their magazine is the standard syndicated collection of articles and adverts one gets from similar types of organisations the world over, the club website had no offers in my area (the same area I signed up in) and at no point have I ever been asked or offered a discount or any deal based on membership. There are no signs that I have noticed in cinemas or clubs or stores that offer deals for members, so clearly, the ‘plus’ option is a scam. The only store i found that offers some kind of benefit was the ADAC store itself. I cancelled my membership at the end of the year as it was a money pit with no return service or value.

    I continued the insurance. As I was new to Germany, I was charged the rate of an 18 year old driver with no driving experience. I am 44 and have been driving since I was 18. I have my license from that time proving I passed a drivers test and have held a license since then, but this meant nothing to them as my German car driving license was dated with the conversion date of the same year.

    So, a little over 2 years and I paid them over €3000 for vehicle insurance. I thought this was a bit high, but it was comprehensive and I considered that it is new for me to drive in this climate and region, the car is old – 2003, but has low mileage and was in good condition so I took the hit.

    Fast forward to last week, when I was driving and a wild boar ran out into the street and hit my car from the side. This was my first claim from ADAC. On Thursday morning, I called to check what I need to do – there was damage to my car, it was driveable but not pretty, there was no other injuries, the boar ran off into the forest, there were other cars hit and I had a witness who was passing by on a bicycle. As instructed, I logged the accident with the police and sent all paperwork and photos to ADAC for consideration. The policeman told me verbally that I should not be seen driving that car as the bumper was hanging a bit off and the side looked bad (even though it was functional, it was just not pretty).

    I called and was told somebody would call me back.

    On Friday, I called and was told somebody would call me back.

    I had no plans for the weekend, so I did not chase this up.

    On Monday – nothing, no return calls, no communication. I fired off an email from their website explaining my situation, I received a return email stating the complaint had been received and would be answered in good time.

    Tuesday, I had heard nothing, so I called and was told that as I was not a member of the club, I was not entitled to priority service and I had to wait for a call. I explained this was unacceptable and wanted to be transferred to an agent that could help or at the least give me the name and number of this person that was supposed to be returning calls. I was transferred twice before the call was dropped. One of the agents told me flat out she had no idea where I was – I am in a city of 300000 people. She could not find this city on a map, I asked her if she could Google the city name, she told me she could not. I would take time to remind the reader at this point, this company, ADAC, sells roadside assistance.

    I called again. This time I was told that there was nobody available to help, that the car was too old to repair and an agent would be dispatched to see the car damage, but this might take another 48 hours. I was again reminded that since I had not maintained my membership, they would be only applying ‘best efforts’…

    Everybody goes on holiday next week, I have a car that is driveable, but likely to get pulled over as it looks dodgy. I realise I should own two cars or have alternative plans and sometimes this is how the universe works, but I did pay ADAC over €3000 over two years, and here we are.

    If you are considering ADAC for insurance of any kind or any deals or membership program, I would suggest, based on my experience that you place your money in a little pile in the center of your lounge and set fire to it. This way, you will get some heat and light and that would be better value than supporting this organisation that is clearly trying to charge the absolute maximum possible for the least possible return.

    Seriously, there are many, many other insurance organisations to choose from, I don’t know for sure if any of those others are circuses or not, I definitely know what ADAC is.

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