Press release


Monday 16 July 2012

• Adventurous over 50s breakdown across Europe from Turin to Tallinn
• 1million over 50s may take their car abroad in 2012
• A European breakdown could cost more than £2000
• A fifth of UK motorists driving abroad without breakdown cover

As the UK’s monsoon summer triggers the start of a mass exodus to hotter, drier climes, research by Saga Breakdown Assistance shows that it pays to make sure you have adequate cover for your foreign road trip.   If a motorist were to breakdown while driving abroad they could be faced with a bill of more than £2000 if they need to bring the car home and don’t have adequate breakdown cover. 

According to a Saga survey*, 1million over 50s are likely to take their car abroad this year.  Saga estimates that around 87,700 could suffer a breakdown and some 5,000 vehicles won’t be able to be fixed abroad and may need to be transported back to the UK.

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive, Saga Services comments: “Getting to grips with mechanical jargon is difficult enough in the UK; just imagine what it would be like in Italian, Greek or French.  Breaking down is not only distressing but can be financially crippling. Some face the prospect of paying more than the car is worth just to get it home.  Despite this a fifth of British motorists drive in Europe without breakdown cover.”

The over 50s are bold when planning their road trips abroad.  The most popular destinations they visit and breakdown are France, Spain and Portugal, but some go as far afield as Finland, Malta and Albania.

The table below shows the typical cost of repatriation from some of the countries in which the over 50s have needed breakdown assistance over the last four years:


Countries the over 50s have needed

breakdown assistance 

Example of repatriation costs 


£1763 (Marseille to Manchester) 


 £2082 (Cadiz to Cardiff)


 £1914 (Lisbon to London)


 £2297 (Naples to Newcastle)


 £1418 (Berlin to Birmingham)


£2583 (Gdansk to Glasgow)


£1914 (Tallinn to Tunbridge Wells)


Of the over 50s who required roadside assistance abroad over the last four years, more than half (54%) needed help in France, while nearly a quarter (24%) needed assistance in Spain. 




Notes to Editors:
• Populus interviewed 10,862 Saga customers, all aged 50 and over, online between 20th and 27th February 2012.  Populus is a member of the British Polling Council.
• Our survey indicated that around 1million of Britain’s 21m over 50s plan to take their car overseas.
• Saga Breakdown Assistance claims on European cover shows 8.77% of customers claimed during 2011.
• Claims data shows that 5.77% of all European breakdown claims involve a car being transported back to the UK rather than fixed overseas – this could be 5,000 vehicles.
• Call out charges in Europe often cost around £98 plus an additional charge of £1.88 for every kilometre the vehicle needs to be towed.


Saga Breakdown Assistance
• Saga Premier Breakdown Assistance provides cover in 44 countries across the EU and beyond. For more information please visit
• Saga Breakdown Assistance offers five levels of cover:


 Level of Cover

Saga Motor Insurance Add On Price 

Standalone Price 
 Essential £34.99  £38 
 Home Call  £68.99  £77
 National Recovery  £68.99  £69
 Comprehensive  £96.00  £144
 Premier  £121.00  £245