Car clubs offer a comprehensive range of services covering all areas of mobility. Long gone are the days when people think of a car club as a service employee who provides assistance in the event of a breakdown or accident. Car clubs still do that, but they have also built up a dense service network from which members benefit in many ways. The distinguishing feature of today’s car clubs is the bundling of competencies in all aspects of driving. People who travel by car – whether in Germany or abroad – have access to a wide range of services.
The car clubs place great value on advice. legal advice on traffic and insurance issues is part of the standard services. Furthermore, car clubs also offer advice on technical issues related to car repair and maintenance. For these areas, the car clubs employ experts who provide expert advice and tips.
Another area of service offered by the auto clubs is insurance for driving. Members have the option of adding individual insurance coverage to their chosen benefits package if they want even more protection on the road.
In addition, the auto clubs are the most important interest group for motorists, who voice their concerns to politicians and the auto industry. This also includes quality assurance, to which the auto clubs contribute through their own regular tests. Not only cars and accessories, but also campsites and hotels are on the test bench.
The perfect car club ©istockphoto/mustafa arican
Travel service has now emerged as another area of expertise for car clubs. The car clubs help with planning, booking and technical preparation of trips. For example, members can ask their car club to draw up a route for them, including maps, and receive information on the traffic situation.
In addition to the above-mentioned services, the car clubs maintain partnerships with other companies, through which members receive discounts on certain products. The range of these member benefits is already considerable and continues to grow.
The following pages provide an overview of the range of services offered by the auto clubs and highlight the key quality features. At the same time, criteria are given to help you find the right car club for you.
How to find the right car club?
If you decide to become a member of a car club, the question arises as to which car club is the right one for you. There is no shortage of choice, as there is fierce competition among car clubs for the favor of customers. Which features are ultimately decisive for the decision depends on the personal needs of the car driver. Some criteria are presented here in order to facilitate the decision-making process.
One of the most important criteria of a car club is the range of services it offers. All car clubs offer help, safety and advice for drivers, but they do so in different ways. Here you should check which service offers you really need. Two perspectives are always useful: everyday traffic and travel.
In everyday traffic, the most important thing is assistance in the event of a breakdown or accident. In addition, legal advice on traffic law and technical issues should be included. Those who are traveling need additional services, such as the transport of vehicles and people in the event of illness. It is precisely in such emergency situations that the comprehensive expertise of a car club proves its worth, as it can provide fast and expert help on the spot. Here you should find out whether there are any differences in benefits between Germany and other countries.
The car clubs usually offer two different tariffs, a basic package and a premium package. The basic package has a more limited range of services than the premium package, but it is usually possible to switch to the premium package at a later date with immediate effect. Comparing the offers of the car clubs in terms of cost-benefit ratio also helps to find the most suitable offer.
Consulting services of the car clubs
Car clubs not only provide technical assistance in the event of breakdowns and accidents, they have also built up considerable expertise in providing advice on the subject of mobility. This strength is not necessarily obvious at first glance, so it is presented here in detail.
The two most important services offered by car clubs are legal advice and technical advice. Legal advice mainly covers the areas of accident handling and traffic law issues. Technical advice refers to advice in the event of an accident, to vehicle safety, and to car buying and selling.
Other consulting services are available for car repair, car care and car accessories. An important part of this are often own tests, which the car clubs carry out. New cars, car accessories or the quality of tires are tested, as well as safety trainings, breakdown statistics and campsites.
A separate consulting focus at the autoclubs is the travel service. Members receive route planning, information on the passability of passes and the availability of gas stations. If you are traveling abroad, you will receive information on country-specific traffic laws (such as speed limits), ferry connections, and travel laws.
The advice offered by the car clubs is always free of charge for members. The benefits for members are numerous. You receive information on all aspects of driving quickly (many tips are available on the websites of the car clubs), competently and from a single source. This saves tedious searching for scattered sources of information and is a valuable service, especially when things have to be done quickly.
Help in case of illness – what services does a car club provide??
While traveling, an illness or injury can quickly lead to further inconveniences that one would not have suspected beforehand. Personal complaints are compounded by additional difficulties. If, for example, the driver is so seriously ill that the trip has to be ended prematurely, the passengers are forced to return home early or the car has to be transported to the place of residence.
In the event of an illness or injury abroad, the auto clubs support their members in a variety of ways. Generally, the member can take out an additional foreign protection package to receive comprehensive assistance from his or her auto club even when abroad.
services in the event of illness include medical transport to germany and assistance for fellow travelers, whose home travel costs are covered. There is also a pick-up service for children from the place of travel to the place of residence if their care can no longer be guaranteed due to illness.
If the patient is hospitalized abroad for a long period of time, the car clubs will cover the costs of a visit to the hospital by close relatives (travel and accommodation costs). In addition, the car clubs organize the dispatch of medicines abroad and, if necessary, an interpreter on site to communicate with the doctors. These aforementioned assistance measures in the event of illness can be rounded off by the conclusion of an international health insurance policy. Then medical treatment is also covered and you can start your vacation without any worries.
car insurance from the car clubs
Many car clubs offer their members a variety of car insurance policies. This includes accident liability insurance and legal expenses insurance for traffic accidents. While membership in accident insurance is required by law, all other insurance is voluntary.
The accident insurance covers the self-inflicted damage to other people’s vehicles. Traffic legal protection insurance arranges and pays for a lawyer to represent the member’s interests before the courts, private individuals or authorities in the event of traffic offences. These concerns can include claims for damages or pain and suffering in the event of an accident, as well as car purchase contracts, repair claims or insurance disputes. traffic legal protection insurance can also help in proceedings to have your driving license reinstated and in disputes with the tax authorities about the calculation of vehicle tax. These insurances can of course not only be taken out for cars, but also for motorhomes or motorcycles.
If you own a classic car, be it a car or a motorcycle, you can take out a special classic car insurance policy. This usually includes the usual services for normal vehicles such as roadside assistance and accident assistance and other special offers for classic cars. This includes liability insurance and comprehensive insurance as well as discounted tickets for classic car events and advice on all classic car topics.
Car insurance is usually a classic product offered by insurance companies. The special thing about car insurance offered by car clubs, however, are the favorable terms and conditions. This means that autoclub members often receive a discount when taking out an insurance policy, when driving without a claim, or when taking part in a safety training course.
Additional member benefits of car clubs
Most car clubs offer their members a variety of benefits in different areas in addition to the agreed services. This gives members the opportunity to purchase selected products, such as car care or tourism products, at a preferential price. These benefits are made possible through cooperation between the car clubs and partner companies that offer discounts to members. Discounts for members can average up to 5 percent.
One of the most interesting additional member benefits is the possibility to buy discounted fuel. With fuel prices on the rise, the prospect of saving money on gasoline is a very attractive one.
Further member benefits are available in the area of tourism. Many car clubs cooperate with tour operators or run their own travel agency. Members can book package holidays, hotels and vacation homes cheaper through their car club. In addition, car clubs offer comprehensive travel information for motorists (country-specific traffic rules, entry regulations, travel weather, route planning, etc.).).
In addition to the discounted booking opportunities, autoclub members also have numerous opportunities to save on the road. not only in germany, but also abroad, members can receive discounts on visits to certain attractions.
Many car clubs offer their own credit cards, which are used to manage the discounts granted in a manageable way. In addition, the credit cards serve as a normal means of cashless payment in germany and abroad and are in turn linked to certain additional services. As a member of a car club, you can also book rental cars at a lower price, as there are europe-wide or worldwide cooperations in this area as well.
Breakdown service of the car clubs
One of the most important services provided by car clubs is roadside assistance. For many motorists, help in the event of a breakdown is one of the main reasons for joining a car club in the first place. In fact, it can be very nerve-racking and inconvenient to organize roadside assistance on your own in an emergency – for example, if the car breaks down on the highway at night. As a member of a car club, all you need to do is call the hotline and a service representative will be on his way.
Fast and competent roadside assistance around the clock is a quality feature of the autoclubs. All car clubs offer this service, but each car club has its own offer. The main differences are in the scope of services and in the cost sharing for the individual services.
In most cases, the roadside assistance technician is able to repair the vehicle on the spot and the journey can be continued. Repair costs are covered by the car club up to a certain amount.
If the service technician is unable to get the car running again, it will either be towed to the nearest authorized repair shop where it will be repaired or transported to the customer’s home. The most important thing for the driver in this case is to continue the journey. The car club then organizes a rental car and, if necessary, an overnight stay and subsidizes both.
Roadside assistance ©istockphoto/anton gvozdikov
Prices and costs of car clubs
The cost of membership in a car club depends on several factors. On the one hand, there is the individual range of services offered by the car club, and on the other hand, there are a variety of additional offers that members can decide on themselves.
Each car club has a special range of services and its own tariff system. The common feature of the tariffs is the choice between a basic membership and a premium membership. A basic package includes protection and advice in the most important areas. This usually includes breakdown and accident assistance, legal advice and travel service. A premium package includes the basic package and offers additional benefits. These are mainly the area of validity (domestic and foreign) and a comprehensive service in all areas. A basic package or a premium package can be supplemented by additional services. A member can take out legal protection insurance for motorists or health insurance for foreigners.
In addition to the membership fee – whether a basic package or a premium package – there may be further costs if services are used. In concrete terms, this means that if the car club helps in the event of an accident, additional costs may be incurred. In some cases, the services provided by the car clubs are subject to a certain maximum limit. For example, in the event of a breakdown, a car club will cover the cost of repairs up to €150, with the member having to pay the rest. This also applies in other areas, such as overnight accommodation costs, legal fees and interpreter costs.
The price range for the annual car club membership fee for one person varies between €45 and €65 for the basic package and between €70 and €100 for the premium package. Individual and discounted rates are available for family and partner memberships. In the tariff system, the car clubs also distinguish between membership for one person and membership for a family. In addition, there are special rates for trainees, people doing military or civilian service, and severely disabled persons.
Legal advice from the car clubs
A number of auto clubs offer a wide range of consulting services. Members can receive advice on topics such as traffic law or car purchase contracts. Contact persons can be reached quickly by phone and provide expert advice – in emergency situations even 24 hours a day.
With this offer, the clubs have closed a longstanding service gap. Previously, there were many products in the insurance sector, but there was no bundling of the advisory expertise that only a car club could provide. Of course, the members benefit from this.
The legal advice provided by the car clubs covers a variety of areas. The most important areas of advice are traffic law, insurance issues, car buying and travel. Advice is provided in two ways, either by telephone or by a lawyer. In addition, the car clubs maintain detailed guides on their websites to provide initial information.
Entitlement to legal advice is usually covered by the membership fee for certain flat-rate services. In most cases, the car clubs cover the cost of advice. If a lawyer is called in, the car clubs bear the costs, at least for the initial consultation.
However, the legal advice does not cover the scope of benefits of a traffic legal protection insurance, which includes all areas of advice plus insurance coverage. If flat-rate legal advice is not enough for you, you can take out legal protection insurance for motorists with your auto club at any time. Different regulations sometimes apply abroad than in Germany. Some car clubs offer their members abroad the possibility of consulting German-speaking lawyers, for example.
Travel services abroad – what car clubs offer
If you are traveling abroad by car, the car clubs provide you with a wide range of support services. Travel service is now one of the core competencies of many auto clubs. Members are given advice and assistance when traveling. This begins with preparation and extends to insurance coverage and assistance in emergency situations
The most important services abroad include assistance in the event of breakdowns and accidents, as well as in the event of illness or trip interruption. In addition, the car clubs employ travel specialists who can be reached by telephone in emergencies abroad or who can give advice by telephone from Germany. All car clubs provide their members with a package of measures, which can usually be booked separately.
In addition, the car clubs collect information about many travel countries. Country-specific traffic regulations, travel weather, tolls, ferry connections and the current traffic situation (traffic jams, tunnels and passes) are usually available immediately on the car clubs’ websites. Some car clubs also publish their own travel and camping guides.
The autoclubs can also take care of route planning on request. They give recommendations on the route, gas station availability, entry regulations, sightseeing and vaccinations. This makes it possible to plan a trip with up-to-date information.
Some car clubs also operate as tour operators and offer package programs (package tours, club trips) for members. They also offer insurance for travel abroad, such as legal protection for travelers abroad or health insurance for travelers abroad.
Travel insurance provided by the car clubs
Anyone taking a trip is insured in certain areas through membership in a car club. This includes not only roadside assistance and accident assistance, but also other additional offers or services that are already included in the membership fee. These travel insurances provide valuable protection when traveling within the country or abroad.
The travel insurance offered by the auto clubs covers a wide range of different areas. This can be, for example, a travel cancellation insurance, which is recommended for trips booked long in advance or long-distance trips. Travel insurance is also useful in the event of disputes with tour operators. If, at the destination, you find that the hotel you have booked does not provide the services promised, you can seek legal advice or a lawyer to enforce your claims.
It is particularly important for travel insurance to find out in advance about the area of application abroad. Within the european union, each car club generally provides a certain level of travel protection. However, as soon as you set your sights on more distant destinations, you should make more detailed enquiries about the scope of cover and the services provided. In these cases, it may make sense to take out additional travel insurance or to change the car club’s tariff from the basic package to the premium package.
A special form of travel insurance is offered by the car clubs in the event of illness. Members are entitled to medical transport (from a minimum distance) and medical shipping. In the event of the return of children in the event of illness or emergency, the car clubs contribute to the costs (travel and accommodation costs), as they do in the event of a visit by a close relative to a sick person. These services are valuable measures in the event of illness, which flank an international health insurance policy. With many car clubs, members can also take out international health insurance to provide full cover in the event of illness abroad, which is not included in the normal health insurance tariff.
Technical advice for car club members
Many auto clubs have made technical advice a priority. Members can obtain information on all important aspects of driving. The range of technical advice is wide. It ranges from help in emergency situations to saving fuel.
One of the essential areas is the advice in case of an accident. Not only are the local service staff the first point of contact, but also the staff in the call centers of the car clubs, who can usually be reached 24 hours a day in emergencies. They give advice on how to deal with the accident and, if necessary, organize the onward journey by rental car or overnight stay.
The car clubs also offer their members comprehensive vehicle inspections. The car is subjected to an intensive technical check for possible defects and its general roadworthiness is checked at a selected automotive workshop.
Another focus of advice is the purchase of a car. Members receive expert advice on the wording and interpretation of sales contracts and can find out about the special features of buying and selling new and used cars and have the sales value of a used car appraised.
Travel service is also one of the core competencies of the auto clubs. Technical advice includes route planning (often via the car clubs’ websites) with recommendations, up-to-date traffic information on traffic jams and passes, and information on special traffic regulations in foreign countries. There are also special advisory services for campers, motor home drivers and classic car owners.
Accident assistance from the car clubs
Help in the event of an accident is one of the central tasks of car clubs. As a motorist, you must always be prepared for the possibility of an accident. Bad weather conditions such as fog, black ice or the onset of winter can cause accident situations. Even if you drive carefully, no road user is immune to accidents. Even through no fault of your own, an accident can happen at any time – for example, if a rear-end collision occurs or a deer unexpectedly crosses the road.
all car clubs offer accident assistance as a central competence. The offers differ in terms of the range of services they provide. In the event of an accident, a service technician arrives at the scene of the accident and tries to make the vehicle roadworthy again. If this is no longer possible, it will be towed, either to an authorized workshop or to the place of residence. In the event of a total loss, car clubs arrange for the vehicle to be scrapped. The car clubs contribute to the costs of repair, transport and scrapping to varying degrees.
The provision of a loaner car in the event that your own car no longer runs is also part of the standard service provided by the car clubs. Furthermore, the car clubs also contribute to the costs of overnight stays or travel home. Another extremely important point is the transport of people in the event of an accident. If the driver is unable to drive due to serious injury or prolonged illness, car clubs organize the transport and return home of the accompanying persons, generally not only in the country, but also abroad. The car clubs also offer legal advice on accident matters. In a similar way, the car clubs help if the car is stolen: a loaner car is organized and the journey home is paid for, as is any overnight accommodation that may be necessary.
Car clubs: help in case of breakdowns and accidents
When traveling abroad, special protection is required. Anyone who has a breakdown or even an accident abroad needs competent help on the spot. The car clubs have developed their own measures to provide help in emergencies.
If you have a breakdown thousands of kilometers from home, you can count on on-site repair by a service technician. If the local mechanic is unable to get the car back on the road, it will be towed to a garage and repaired. The car clubs organize the provision of a rental car so that the journey can be continued. There is also a contribution to the costs of the journey home by car, train or plane. The car clubs also cover the shipping costs for spare parts and the costs for any additional overnight stays of all travelers.
If the car is stolen, the car clubs will also help. They pay the travel costs and – if the car is recovered – the transport costs and any overnight accommodation costs. In addition, they provide a rental car for the onward journey or pay for the journey home. If the trip has to be interrupted due to a breakdown or accident because the car is no longer roadworthy, the car clubs will organize transport back to the place of residence.
In the event of an accident, the same services apply as in the event of a breakdown. In addition, there are other measures, such as the scrapping and customs clearance of the car in the event of a total loss. one of the main difficulties in case of an accident abroad is the language problem. the traveler is helpless in communicating with motor vehicle companies, police and authorities if he or she does not speak the local language. In emergency situations, the car clubs provide interpreters, lawyers and experts, or organize contact with German-speaking lawyers or doctors.
Another service offered is financial assistance for emergency situations abroad. If a member finds himself in an emergency situation, he can take out a loan from the car club to pay for car repairs, rental cars, travel expenses or overnight accommodation – if they are not covered by the car club.
Each car club has its own foreign protection package. As a rule, it is possible to tailor the international protection package to personal needs. This is done on the one hand via the membership fee and on the other hand via special foreign protection letters and insurances such as foreign health insurance.
insurance coverage around driving – important service of autoclubs
An important service offered by car clubs, apart from the classic assistance in case of breakdowns and accidents, is the insurance cover. Members have the option of taking out additional insurance in various areas. These insurances effectively supplement the basic protection that already exists through membership in the car club in certain legal matters.
For example, members of a car club are usually entitled to legal advice and to have the costs of a lawyer’s initial consultation covered. Additional legal protection insurance for motorists also offers comprehensive support and representation by a lawyer during legal proceedings or disputes. This often also applies to foreign countries, which means that a member receives cross-border protection.
The range of insurances for driving is enormous. The car clubs offer, among other things, comprehensive insurance, accident liability insurance (for property damage), accident protection insurance (for personal injury), camping insurance, as well as insurance for motorcycles, vintage cars and motor homes. Other supplementary insurances offered by car clubs include travel cancellation insurance, international health insurance, and water sports insurance.
car clubs often offer these insurances to their members at preferential rates, either with a discount system or special services. each member can decide for himself which insurances he needs at the moment. This makes sense, as the need for insurance can change depending on the current personal situation, for example due to a long-distance trip or the purchase of a motor home. Another advantage is that all the insurances in the area of driving are grouped together in a manageable way.