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Interview: Correct behavior for breakdowns on vacation

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What points do I need to consider if my car breaks down abroad? Our expert Guido Binder, Head of 24-hour Customer Service, provides answers to the most important questions.

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    Guido Binder

    Guido Binder is Head of 24-hour Customer Service, and provides information about interesting services on the topic of travel.

What points do I need to consider when driving abroad?

Before your vacation, find out what you need to carry with you in the country you’re going to – and in the countries you’ll pass through on your trip. This will save a lot of hassle with the local police in the event of a breakdown or accident. You can find out what to do in the event of an accident in our blog "Car accident – what now?”. In addition, before you start a long journey, make sure that your car has been serviced and is ready for use, and that all of the key systems have been checked – battery, oil level, tires, lights, brakes, engine, fan belt, etc.

As an AXA customer, how am I insured in the event of a breakdown?

As an AXA customer, even if your car breaks down while you’re on vacation, you don’t need to worry. It won’t ruin the most beautiful time of the year. If you have roadside assistance including onward travel coverage in your AXA car insurance or vehicle assistance as part of your Intertours travel insurance , you won’t just be covered for on-the-spot breakdown assistance. If your vehicle is out of action for a prolonged period of time, you’ll also be covered for your direct journey home or onward journey plus – if necessary – additional accommodation and catering costs.

What should I do if my car breaks down while I’m on vacation?

The first thing to do under all circumstances is to call AXA – whatever the time of day: on 0800 809 809 in Switzerland or on +41 58 218 11 00 if you’re calling from abroad. This is the only way to benefit from all services. We organize the breakdown assistance and a rental car for your onward or home journey. A precondition for this is that you must always have a credit card in the name of the driver. (Please note: Prepaid cards and debit cards don’t work.) This is because you need to present this card at the rental car office. If there are no rental cars available, we turn to other means of transport. Rules may apply in respect of minimum age and rental vehicles depending on the country or rental car office. We’ll inform you quickly and simply of your options for onward or home travel by a rental car. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, we’ll be happy to advise you in an emergency. You would need to pay any costs incurred locally yourself.

Special rules in France: Only certified towing services are permitted on freeways. You can get help in the event of a breakdown on the freeway at any emergency call point or by calling 112. Once you’ve done that, contact us immediately if you can’t continue your journey or if you have any questions.


Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, we can advise you if you break down or have an accident abroad – around the clock: +41 58 218 11 00

Guido Binder, Head of 24-Hour Customer Service

In the event of a breakdown abroad, isn’t the repair carried out locally straight away?

That’s up to you. As it can take a long time to carry out repairs locally, we are also happy to organize the return of your car to a garage in Switzerland for you. With a consolidated transport operation, there’s a 95% chance that your vehicle will be back in Switzerland within two weeks.

How long does it take for help to arrive when a car breaks down?

In Switzerland, breakdown assistance reaches you within 30 minutes, and you’ll be up and running again within one hour in over 90% of cases. When you’re abroad, it can take longer. In particular, this is because a breakdown service often has to travel further to reach you. But there, too, we have selected reliable partners who will do all they can to help you as quickly as possible.

In which countries do you offer breakdown assistance?

Throughout the whole of Europe, we work together with selected assistance partners who have suitable breakdown assistance networks. Our selected partners have a breakdown assistance network throughout the whole of Europe, including neighboring Mediterranean countries.

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