Car breakdown service in Switzerland: how does it work?


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When you break down on the road, car breakdown assistance allows you to remove the vehicle to a garage, or benefit from on-site repairs. In Switzerland, car insurance may include a breakdown or assistance option. In this article, we take a look at these different options, and what they can do for you in the event of a breakdown. The few lines that follow should help you decide whether you'd like to take out such an option.

Car breakdown cover: useful or not?

It's important to understand what car breakdown cover is, to know whether it can be useful to you when you're driving on Swiss roads or abroad.

What is breakdown car insurance?

Troubleshooting insurance allows you to trigger assistance in the event of vehicle breakdown. The contract may provide for several options, such as towing the vehicle or breakdown assistance on site.
Our advice is to carefully check the scope in which breakdown assistance insurance is likely to operate. For example, your Swiss car insurance contract may not cover you abroad.

What's the difference between assistance and breakdown assistance?

Assistance is a more comprehensive form of cover than breakdown assistance. It enables us to come to the insured's aid in the event of a breakdown, accident or loss of keys. As you can see, assistance can include breakdown assistance.

Why take out breakdown assistance insurance?

First and foremost, breakdown assistance insurance can save you money. It prevents you from having to pay for a tow truck, as well as repairs to your car out of your own pocket. In fact, the insurer takes charge of the breakdown service when you subscribe to this type of option.
What's more, it's up to the insurer to organize the breakdown service. This relieves you of this burden, at an often stressful time, when your vehicle breaks down at the side of the road.

Troubleshooting insurance abroad

Troubleshooting insurance is all the more relevant, if you wish to travel abroad with your vehicle. You'll be able to contact your insurer directly to arrange for your vehicle to be towed to the nearest breakdown service in the country you're in. This means you won't have to deal with the language barrier or any organizational problems.
While the cost may be higher than in Switzerland, it will also be covered by your insurer, if your contract includes car breakdown cover abroad.

How much does breakdown recovery cost without insurance?

Simply towing your broken-down car to a garage may cost 300 francs. In this rate, the repair of the car is not taken into account either. Significant costs can therefore still be added, after simply paying for the transport of your vehicle.

How much does car breakdown cover cost?

In principle, you'll have to pay between 40 and 100 francs extra per year, on your car insurance, to take advantage of breakdown cover. The sum is rather derisory, compared to what a breakdown can cost, when you don't have this type of cover.
The amount can vary greatly from one insurance company to another. Some of them even provide for the inclusion of this cover, from a certain level of insurance.

Is breakdown cover included in my contract?

Here's a breakdown of insurance levels in Switzerland, to enable you to find out simply whether you have breakdown cover for your car in your contract. If you don't have it, you may be able to take it out.

Is breakdown assistance insurance compulsory?

In Switzerland, the only compulsory car insurance is third-party liability. It provides compensation to third parties in the event of an at-fault accident. The insurer will pay for repairs to the vehicle of the third party who has suffered damage, or for bodily injury.
On the other hand, breakdown car insurance is an option that is not compulsory. You can therefore drive on Swiss roads without having subscribed to it. You will, however, have to pay for your breakdown assistance, including vehicle towing, if you break down at the side of the road.

Levels of insurance in Switzerland

To take advantage of additional cover, there are other levels of insurance than simple third-party liability. Partial casco, for example, provides cover against damage caused by external elements. To be covered in the event of an at-fault accident, you'll need to take out collision cover in your policy.
Some insurance companies stipulate that when you take out one of these two levels of insurance, auto breakdown cover is included. It is therefore possible that your contract will protect you, even if you have not subscribed to this option. Don't hesitate to ask your insurer about your coverage in this area.

Assistance and breakdown assistance as an option

If you're not covered, you often have the option of taking out assistance and breakdown assistance as an optional extra. Your insurer can advise you on which option best suits your needs. Whether you're traveling abroad, or only riding in a limited area around your home, coverage can be adapted.
Antoine Léger
Updated on: 30.01.2024Written by Antoine LégerHead of non-life insurance department at Comparea.
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