Written by Elaine Evans
At our Clubnight earlier this week, a number of members were upset that someone they knew had had an unfortunate experience when their classic car broke down a week or so ago. Apparently they were stranded in the blazing sun for a number of hours, and had great difficulty obtaining assistance from the grua.
In particular, Neil and I were concerned that from some of the things said it appeared that there was a restriction on assistance if you were not in your own province i.e. we are insured in the Valencian region but possibly not if we ventured into the Murcia region.
We decided to check out our own cover as we felt it was important to know before the unthinkable happens! We are insured through Knights Insurance Brokers and our policy is with Liberty Seguros. We insured with Liberty Seguros because they are one of the few Spanish companies who will give comprehensive insurance on classic cars.
We spoke with Carlos who is the General Manager of the Torrevieja branch who, by the way, is extremely knowledgeable and helpful on classic car insurance issues.
He said that the insurance companies do not have their own gruas they use a pool of gruas, depending on where you break down. He said there was not exactly a region restriction if we break down within a 100 kms of home we will be taken by one grua back to our area. He said some insurance companies have less than this i.e. IBEX only have 50 kms. So, it does NOT matter what region you are in we live quite close to the border of Valencia/Murica so it we break down in Murcia region, it makes no difference.
He said that if we break down we should call Liberty Seguros and they will call the grua out. He emphasised the importance of insuring with a company with an English speaking Helpline which is open 24 hours a day we have a special number for this.
The company will then contact the appropriate grua, depending on where we are. What happens next depends on the severity of the breakdown. If it is something small that can be fixed quickly, they would take us to the nearest garage to wait for repairs. If this meant an overnight stay in a hotel, the insurance company will pay for that.
If it was something major, the car would be returned to our area to a designated garage BUT we would not be taken there by the grua. The insurance company then decides how to get us home. For example, if a reasonable distance taxi or train or if say, we were in France or England they would pay for airline tickets to get us home. The car would be transported back separately by the gruas at some point in time! He said that we may have to pay initially, but as long as we had receipts the money would be reimbursed.
He also said that this is where the value of having a broker comes in if the incident happens during office hours Knights would happily liaise with the insurance company and gruas if necessary.
Whilst writing this we had an email in from Mel and Sandra who have 2 classic cars and 1 daily driver. They were concerned that as their buggy and beetle are on UK plates, if they broke down in Spain how would they get any assistance.
They joined RACE in Spain (which is like the RAC in the UK) and they covered ANY car that you are driving anywhere in the EC, so this includes their UK registered vehicles. It cost them 175 (for 2 separate cards) but if only one of them had joined it would have been cheaper. The cover provided is on a par with that provided by Liberty Seguros with regard to transportation to garages, hotels, flights etc. Their cars are also now covered in the UK.
The people at RACE do speak English if you break down – Mel experienced this when his buggy broke down in Elche. They came out and took 30 minutes to arrive – the fact that Mel had fixed it when they arrived is beside the point!?!
Leaflets are available in English complete with terms and conditions about joining and there are lots of additional benefits e.g. locksmiths, plumbers, free legal advice etc. Mel says that the manager of the RACE head office shop in Elche speaks good English if anyone is interested.
We have posted this information on the site because it is important people are aware of this, and we would suggest it might be wise for individual members to check out their own position to save major inconvenience for themselves in the future.
Every insurance company is different and we can only speak about our own cover but, the thought of having an English speaking Helpline and brokers in the background to help and advise us in an emergency situation is invaluable to us, even though I do speak Spanish to a reasonable level. However, being as we have not (thank goodness!) had to try the service out yet we have to wait to see if the proof of the pudding will be in the eating!
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